Connect with the best so you can learn
Smart startups know that the ideal way to learn what they need to know about their industry and the marketplace is to connect with the best. And they know that the industry stalwarts, trendsetters, disrupters and thought leaders can often be found at networking events. Because they too know the value of networking with their counterparts.
Opportunities abound at networking events
It’s at networking events and business conferences that startups can find themselves face-to-face with opportunities. It might be the opportunity to meet a freelancer with a skillset that’ll assist with your value proposition or it might be the opportunity to find a mentor. Regardless of what the take out is, when attending a conference or the like, it always turns out to be beneficial.
The broader your horizons, the more opportunity for growth
Events or conferences, at their very core, are the perfect opportunity to expand your network. And it’s fundamental that startup founders broaden their business horizons by taking part in such opportunities. Sometimes an event will be the jumpstart needed to take the next step in business or a talk at a conference might be the turning point for your startup. After all, what you know has got you this far, but sometimes there’s an element of 'who you know' that’s needed to really get things moving towards positive growth.
Engage with the enemy to understand the market
If you’re the founder of a startup, you’re possibly quite aware of who your competitors are. You also probably have a 'hero' in the field who you admire and whose success you aspire to emulate. By attending events you might find yourself face-to-face with these very people and you don’t want to be dumbstruck. So you must prepare for these meetings.
Have an idea of what you’re going to say and how. You want to know these people no matter if you feel intimidated or not. Knowing your competitor and forming some business relationship with them could help you in your future dealings. And meeting those who’ve paved the way with their success might result in you finding your mentor. The possible outcomes of meeting these key characters in your business journey are many, but they’re always beneficial.
Practice makes perfect
The more networking and conferencing events you attend, the better. Your communication, personal brand and elevator pitch will improve each time you interact at these meetings. You’ll become more secure and confident as you go and eventually people will recognise you. They’ll want to know what you’ve been up to since they’ve seen you last and you can test out your new pitches and products with them. And, they’re the perfect audience. You’ll receive crucial feedback that can be used to refine your offering. Some will wish you well, but others will challenge you and you should listen carefully to that feedback. The criticism will be food for thought and also potentially a game changer in how you proceed.
There are always events happening in South Africa that will be the perfect classroom for startup founders and entrepreneurs. A quick search online for networking events in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban will deliver event and conference results for the rest of the year. Sign up for those that suit your business needs and that offer an excellent speaker list.