Effective networking means making contacts with entrepreneurs and other interesting contacts, making it clear who you are and what you are looking for. Or rather: the products or services that you can offer. Networking is therefore one of the most important tasks of a starting entrepreneur.
- Build an active network
Active networking is characterized by making contact, for example by visiting network meetings, business clubs, congresses and seminars. This is also known as ‘face to face’ networks. You can also expand and maintain your existing network in your private life, for example on a birthday. Characteristic for this is that you introduce yourself and let us know what you can do and then exchange data with your conversation partner.
- Don’t forget your passive network
Passive group networking is the counterpart of active networking. People often already know each other, but there is no interaction anymore at that time. People follow and link each other on social media and keep the contact details. As an entrepreneur it is smart to make efficient use of both ways of networking. So network both actively and passively.
- Prepare an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a conversation of a maximum of one minute, in which you tell what you have to offer from a business perspective. The purpose of this is to see if you and your conversation partner can mean something for each other. So see it as a kind of advertising talk. Feeding an elevator pitch can be quite difficult, because what do you tell and what not? After all, a minute is over faster than you think.
To become skilled in this and make a good first impression, it is wise to practice the presentation a few times in front of the mirror. After all, practice makes perfect! That way the pitch will be better in your head and you can tell the story at any time.
In any case, make sure that the pitch contains a clear message. It is preferable not to start the talk with: “I am a”, but with: “I do or help to reach”. This means that you are not immediately placed in a box, but you have an open conversation more quickly.
- Invest time in networking
To get more benefit from your network, you first have to ask yourself whether you can do something for the other entrepreneur. Only then can you start looking at what you could use his or her products or services for. Networking is in a way a matter of give and take.