When you work for yourself, you don’t have much if you don’t have connections! You need a sounding board for ideas, the ability to collaborate, and a wider support circle only connections can bring. One fast and easy way to meet people is at entrepreneur networking events.
This direct exposure to people you can build and develop relationships with, in a specific business environment, is one of the greatest tools you have. Just talking face-to-face gives you the chance to hear new ideas, find new services and be inspired by other’s stories. You need all that to succeed, right?
Consider entrepreneur networking events as a key part of your marketing strategy. They’re a great way to create awareness around your brand and tell people personally what you do, exposing you to people who may have some interest in your business.
Some events are even specifically structured to facilitate conversations and allow you to interact with as many people as possible. These events are perfect if you are shy about starting up conversations in a crowd you don’t know.
Entrepreneur networking events can seem daunting if you are new to them. But if you are well prepared you can open doors to some amazing business opportunities, or just make new friends for life.
Here are some simple tips on how to find and make the most of entrepreneur networking events:
How to Find Entrepreneur Networking Events
The easiest way to find business networking events is to sign up with websites and groups online, such as Meetup, Dispace and Eventbrite. These are all geared to promoting networking events. Sign up to their mailing lists and follow relevant groups on Linkedin. Other social media networks are worth a look too – Facebook has some great groups for freelancers.
You will be able to set preferences for the type of event you are looking for and in which areas. When you attend a specific event, get on their mailing list for updates on new events. At betternotstop we host many different events aimed at connecting like-minded businesses.
Some networking events will have an accessible list of who will be there. If the event you’re going to does, take some time to look at who is going and who will be most useful to you. Look at their business so you have some knowledge of what they do before you enter into a conversation. This can make you look like a real expert!
Have Business Cards – Lots of Business Cards!
Little bits of card might seem an old fashioned way to connect – but they work! It’s the simple way to make sure people have your details and you have there’s. Make sure you have enough cards for all the awesome people you’ll be chatting to.
Make Notes on Business Cards – So you don’t Drown in Contacts
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to forget or mix up business cards. Writing a note on someone’s business card will help you remember not only what they do, but also your last conversation with them. So, when you contact them – it will be easier to pick the discussion up from where you left off. People will appreciate that you remember them and your discussion.
Be First to Break the Ice
Trust me, everyone feels a little nervous about meeting new people. Be the first to introduce yourself. A simple “hello” or “are you enjoying tonight?” goes a long way.
Volunteer to Pitch
Some events offer a platform for a short business pitch. Jump on this opportunity. Pitching can often prove your ability and expertise in a field. Use the opportunity to present in front of a group of people. They will be able to provide some great and useful feedback. Any feedback is good feedback!
Constant Learning – be Ahead of the Game
Attending an entrepreneur networking event gives you an opportunity to learn new things. Since you will be meeting people from different backgrounds, you will get a chance to get an update on current trends. Listen carefully, as this information may be useful in the future for your business. It may even give you opportunities you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise. Remember that being up to date will give you an advantage over your competitors.
The most important step you can do to turn any networking event into opportunities is to follow up. Make sure you reach out to people in a timely manner – in a couple of days ideally. While you are fresh in people’s minds ,confirm who you are, what you do and how you could work together.
Don’t wait for people to contact you first – make the first move!
More Reading for you:
- This article has much more on freelance networking.
- If you need more clients, this epic article lists lots of places to find them.
- For more freelance tips, check this out.