Over the past few weeks, the universe has placed certain people in my path and it has led to dreamlike opportunities. The serendipity of it all is astounding. When one starts a business, it is necessary to expand your network. To be successful in business, you must build, maintain, and capitalize on connections with all types of people, from all different fields and backgrounds. Luckily, relationship building is one of my strengths as a professional. Any success I’ve ever had has been based on my ability to collaborate with anyone and everyone. I’m not afraid to make that call, send that email, or walk up to someone I find interesting. This can be a daunting task for most. Some individuals are innately extroverted and some are not. I want to share some things I’ve learned in my first six months of being an entrepreneur to give you a “leg up” on the networking grind.
First tip, you shouldn’t be intimidated when reaching out to people you perceive to be super successful (or super busy). In my experience, many people who are well respected, knowledgeable, and experienced in their field are looking to share their stories and expertise in a mentor-like relationship. I’ve been able to connect with some of the most successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders across the Capital Region because I’m not afraid to take the leap and reach out. Something valuable comes out of every single meeting.
Second tip, talk about your business openly and often, even with people you have just met. You never know who may be listening and you never know the type of connections your new friend may have. One day, I was at a coffee shop talking to a friend about co-mads. The guy at the table next to us was listening in on our conversation and afterwards, proceeded to express a ton of interest in the mission of co-mads. We exchanged info and he was super energized at the prospect of us connecting sometime soon. I thought it was cool that a stranger took such a liking to co-mads, despite only hearing a few minutes of the conversation. Later that day, I found out that he owns one of the most lucrative businesses in the Capital Region. This connection has offered many opportunities for co-mads and it was all because this man could hear my passion for my business while listening in on my conversation.
Develop a unique business card. When I gave him my business card, he loved it. He commented on the shape, design and logo immediately. Use your business card as another way to stand out from the crowd. It can be especially helpful when you’re meeting someone who is likely to get 100 business cards a week.
If you’re reaching out to someone via email, create a captivating email subject and keep the email short. When I learned more about the man I met in the coffee shop, I figured he must get 10,000 emails a day, doesn’t sleep because he is so busy, and that everybody and their mother is trying to get a meeting on the calendar with him. I had to stand out from the crowd. So, I sent him an email with the subject “I met you in a coffee shop…” I got an email backless than 24 hours later and we scheduled an in-person meeting.
Send a handwritten note. Rarely do people send or receive handwritten notes anymore. I make it a point to mail a personal thank you note to each individual immediately after our first meeting. Again, it’s all about standing out from the crowd. This will help you build and maintain a relationship with important people. I’ve received a lot of great feedback from this strategy.
Be passionate, be approachable…positive vibes are real. I have been told by some that the reason they were interested in connecting with me was because I send out positive, friendly energy and they can feel the passion I have for co-mads through my voice and animation. Successful people are attracted to the powerful energy that is released when you are talking about something you love. Wherever and whenever you are talking about your business in public, do it with pride, optimism, and BIG energy. You may be surprised who ends up crossing your path.