The Tribe Guide: Networking

Starting your own business can be daunting. Believe us when we say no entrepreneur has all the knowledge from the get-go, if ever! That’s where our new blog series, The Tribe Guide, comes to the rescue. It aims to offer confidence-boosting advice and guidance on the areas key to making your business thrive. 

First on the agenda, the notoriously awkward world of networking.

As uncomfortable as the prospect of pitching your start-up to total strangers may be, especially those of you with no commercial experience, networking is an invaluable tool. First of all, it’s a free and engaging form of promotion- something no newly formed business can turn its nose up at. As well as helping to increase potential customers, networking also acts as a great way to forge beneficial partnerships with other enterprises. In order for you to better take advantage of these types of opportunities, we have devised a list of simple tips:

  1. Practice your pitch. Consider the key messages you want to communicate when the time finally comes for you to talk about your start-up. Preparation will help to keep it concise, cohesive and most importantly, interesting. Carefully select your wording so that it conveys how you want people to perceive and remember your business- first impressions count.      

  2. Have a conversation. Talking about your business is inevitable and the main reason for networking, however, don’t let it be the only topic of discussion. A key part of this process is building relationships, so let the conversation flow naturally. The stronger the relationship is, the more memorable you make yourself and your business.

  3. Make notes. Whilst meeting a plethora of new people it is important to note down details. It is unlikely you’ll be able to retain all the information thrown at you in a short time period. You should document their contacts, where/ how you met and how they could help you (and vice versa). Remember to hand out business cards.

  4. Follow up. It’s not enough just to plant the seed, you have to keep it watered to reap the rewards. Shortly after meeting them, get in contact again with the people who could be useful to you and your business. It means you’ll be fresh in each other’s memory, providing a better platform for you to build a meaningful relationship from.     

  5. Give value. Remember though, this is a two-way affair. Just like you, others are using this as a business opportunity. The relationship needs to be mutually beneficial so you must be able to offer people something they can gain value from. This is why it’s important to identify their potential needs when you first meet.

Want to learn from our business experts face to face and flex those new networking skills? Take a look at our Tribe Talks.

Tribe York also offers a relaxed co-working space full of other like-minded individuals and takes the awkwardness out of networking. Want to see for yourself? Book a tour.