Don’t Waste Your Time on Networking Events

A networking event is not the opportunity for you to carry a sales pitch.

As much as we’re all in-touch digitally through the power of social media channels when Friendster and MySpace introduced a networking concept to us back in the early 90’s  to early 2000’s, we still can’t discount the fact that offline events are still a staple in connecting aspiring and successful professionals to grow your business.

There may be few who no longer see the use of attending such gathering or have already transcended from believing on networking events. Deliberating whether you should attend or not; my take will always be, GO.

 

Going to offline events and organizing a self-hosted networking event will give you the opportunity to connect with colleagues, like-minded individuals and potential clients. You might have fun too. Alongside to the fun, It gives you the privilege to step out of the four corners of your office. It’ll always be aa purposeful engagement.

As the saying goes: “fish where the fish are” and you’ll be able to pull in a help line on certain business proposals or collaborations when needed.

How would you make a networking event even more fruitful? Here are few strategies you might want to arrange:

Be the Host

Preparing your own event gives you the control over the attendees, the setting and how you’d like the engagement to turn out. You would want to contribute value and set objectives when you pull in people together.  Always put in consideration the fact that these engagement aims to develop relationships not just with prospective clients but also with those whom you’ve been or is working with.

With the objective in mind, choose an activity your existing clients will enjoy. It should be up to date and good reason for them to interact to one another regardless if they’re introvert or extrovert. Sharing the same passion will ignite the connection.

 

Indicate the program in the invitation, would there be any games? Something that would entice them to tag their friends along. Most professionals enjoys it when there are wine tastings and raffles to be given away.

 

Reunions

If it hasn’t occurred to your senses yet, the world revolves around the same circles. Eventually, one way or another, everyone are connected and can help on each other’s needs.  Organizing reunions allows you to reconnect with dormant ties – which are even more highly valuable than your current relationships. These people are the kind who loves success stories and would want to know how you’ve been since you bumped into each other. Alumni reunions are actually the best way to get-together, reconnect and inform them of what you’re now doing. Less awkward, more catching up.

 

The difference between hosting a professional event and reunions lies on the tactics on how you invite. Each professional event is more connecting to get to know people, deepen relationship with acquaintances and to purposeful business ties. However, with reunions, as you organize the engagement, you get to have quick calls to catch up and talk more on memorable past than sole professional interests.

Both strategies will allow you to deepen both existing and future relationships as you build new connections and broadening your reach. Always make these engagements fun and comfortable, this way, you’ll leave a lasting impression to be remembered by.

 

What urges you to attend networking events? Share your thoughts! 

 

 

Start your business with a plan

By Entrepreneur Staff

 

Before undertaking your dream business, closely examine if you are up it. Here’s a guide to help you to do just that.

A would-be entrepreneur often starts with a great idea popping in his brain. He sees the idea very clearly in his mind and feels the urgency of translating the idea into reality. Depending on his passion for the concept, he could even taste the sweet success that his idea would bring.

Then it becomes apparent that he would have to put into motion a series of actions and events that would lead to this success. He could react to this realization in two ways: amuse himself thinking that all he has are mere ideas, or make a decision to act and see his idea not just in his mind, but also in reality. The former is simply a dreamer, and the latter, an entrepreneur.

“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit,” says Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain. There’s the rub: It’s not how big or small you think your idea is but what you do with it, and how you deal with yourself as you go about turning your idea into your reality.

How do you go about turning your ideas into gold? Do you go out and tell the next person you meet on the street? Do you call your best bud over the phone? Or do you take out a pen and a piece of paper and start writing the heck out of your mind about that grand design in your head? Time’s up!

First things first: Keep in mind that your ideas will turn into dust if you don’t put them into writing.  How come? For the simple reason that writing about it gives it a physical presence—letters in ink on paper. Your idea is now real because it is already taking up space.

Psychologically, this also gives you perspective. But that’s enough space we are going to give to time-space mumbo-jumbo. It’s time to tell you how to put this business idea into writing.

This exercise will give you the opportunity to focus and plan what you need to do to turn these ideas into your dream business. Having a well-written business plan will also allow you to seek and engage investors who could give you that much needed funding to jumpstart you business.

A typical business plan consists of three parts:

1. The Business—Include in this section the following information:
a. Description of the business
b. Market
c. Competition
d. Location of business
e. Management
f. Personnel

2. Financial Data—Among others, this is what you should include in this section:
a. Sources and applications of funding
b. Capital equipment list
c. Breakeven analysis
d. Income projections

3. Supporting Documents:
a. Personal résumés
b. Personal financial requirements and statements
c. Credit reports
d. Letters of reference
e. Job descriptions
f. Letters of intent
g. Copies of leases
h. Contracts
i. Legal documents
j. Other relevant documents

Hopefully, after going through this exercise and organized your thoughts, you would have enough knowledge and information about yourself and the business environment, which you can later use to come up with a complete business plan ready for scrutiny by investors, lenders and venture capitalists.

This article was originally published in the May 2010 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.