No matter how good your business idea is, you cannot succeed alone. You need people all along the way to help you with various aspects of running a business and this is exactly why networking is important. Networking can help you meet valuable advisors, mentors and can also provide solutions to many of your problems. While networking comes naturally to some people, others find it terrifying. So, if you are looking to expand your professional network, here are a few tips.
7 essential networking tips for entrepreneurs:
1) Join suitable networking groups
Now, the best thing to do if you want to expand your professional network is to join suitable networking groups. By doing this, you will get access to all the internal events conducted by that group and this will open doors to meeting a lot of new people.
2) Prepare beforehand
Once you join a networking group, you will be invited to a lot of networking events. These events are where you can make valuable connections.
Before attending a networking event, it is always good to prepare in advance, especially if you are a newbie. Try and understand the purpose of the event and its nature. Networking events can be both formal and informal, so get an idea about its nature and dress accordingly. Also, try and prepare for what you are going to speak at the event.
3) Take it slow
When you first start meeting people for networking, do not start off by talking about yourself and your business. Remember you are there to make valuable human connections and not just sell your products. Therefore, take it slow, introduce yourself and try to get to know people. Keenly listen to what they have to say and then slowly talk about your business. Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself, it is not always necessary to be entirely formal at such events. Let yourself a little loose if needed.
4) Help others if the need arises
When you go to a networking event to meet new people, ask them questions and see how you can be of value to them, instead of the other way round. Offer to share some tips, solutions to their problems and give some advice to them to be helpful. When you offer to help, people will most likely reciprocate. This way you can build strong professional connections.
5) Use social media
Social media plays an important part in networking. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with relevant industry experts and entrepreneurs. This creates inbound networking and it is also easier for people to contact you when needed.
6) Take notes
There are chances you may forget the names of people, their stories and some important facts when you are networking with a lot of people. Therefore, it is important to take notes. By taking notes, you can ensure you are courteous to people. It will also help you remember everything you learnt from your meetings with people.
7) Stay in touch
If it all goes well, then you may find yourself an important connection to keep. Always remember to follow up with people you meet at networking events. Send them emails regularly, checking how they are and how their work is going and if you have something useful to offer, communicate it to them. That being said, do not over do it. Make sure you have a balanced approach.
Whether you are handing out your business card or reaching out via social media, networking can only be effective if you are smart about it.
Comment below and let us know which of these tips you found useful.
Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Shark Tank
Shark Tank is an American reality show where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors. It is a great show from which entrepreneurs can learn a great deal about how to secure investments for their venture. Here are lessons every entrepreneur can learn from the show.
Lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Shark Tank
1) Math is important
When an entrepreneur enters the show, the first thing the person asks is a certain amount from investors in exchange for a certain percentage of stake in their company. In the beginning it may look like a simple number. However, many of these entrepreneurs coming on the show do not carry a clear idea about the numbers regarding their business. For example, a contestant on the show failed to answer quickly when asked to give the valuation for his Company after offering 15 % stake in exchange for $ 85,000. When the investors start talking about actual business numbers like gross margin and relevant costs of the startup, the contestants get confused and lose their opportunity. It is quite important to get your numbers straight and be prepared to answer any questions regarding the numbers of your business.
2) Know your investors
This is important in any kind of situation where you have to meet an investor. Having a clear idea about the investor’s background will give you a hint about what kind of questions the investors may ask. It will also help you prepare your pitch in a way which will be appealing to investors. An added advantage of doing research about your investors is you will have a clear idea about which investor will be the best for your business. For example, well known Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban is known to cancel a deal if the contestant tries to negotiate too much.
3) Presentation is the most important thing
Another great lesson Shark Tank taught us is, the way you present your product will determine your success. The show has seen many such examples where even though the product was average, the presentation of the product convinced the investors to put their money on it. However, great products presented without any proper presentation failed to catch the investors’ attention. During an episode of Shark Tank, a website which drew cats on demand got successful investment simply because of a memorable presentation given by its creator. Hence, it is always important to seriously work on your presentation in order to get a successful investment.
4) Clarity about your product
Lastly, having a clear idea about your product is the most important of all. You should have a clear idea about how their products work and which problems they solve. Knowing your products inside out will help you answer any burning questions from investors. It will also help convince the investors as to why your product is worth their money.
If we missed mentioning any other important lessons one can learn from Shark Tank, comment below and let us know.
Traits of Mentally Strong People
Entrepreneurship is a kind of job which takes a toll on your mind. Hence, only people who are mentally strong survive the crazy business world. Here are some traits which mentally strong people showcase, which anyone dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur should inculcate.
Traits of mentally strong people
1) Avoid feeling sorry for themselves
Whenever you try something new, there is always a risk of failing. In such cases, many people tend to feel bad about themselves and start comparing their lives to others’ lives. However, a person who is mentally strong, instead of feeling sorry, tries to learn something from the circumstances in which they are. Instead of dwelling on their mistakes and failures, they take the lessons learned from them and try to better their future endeavors. Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, had her books rejected 36 times before getting it published. Even with the continuous failures, Huffington did not give up on her dreams and now is considered one of the most influential women in the world.
2) Have the ability to say no
According to a research study, people who lack the ability to say no to others are likely to suffer from anxiety, stress and depression. Mentally strong people know the importance of saying no when the situation calls for it. They are equipped with confidence and foresights to distinguish which task it is to which they should say no. They give priority to their previous commitments by saying no to any new ones. Such determination helps them become successful. The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, always stresses on how saying no creates successful people. He himself follows the rule by saying no to most social gatherings and uses the time to do activities which he believes are productive and contribute to his life.
3) Embracing change
Mentally strong people have the ability to embrace change. They are flexible and are able to adapt to any kind of change which comes their way. They always have a plan of action for cases where any kind of change occurs. They recognize the opportunities created by such changes and try to capitalize on them, in turn making them more successful. When famous inventor Thomas Edison’s factory burned down in a fire in 1914, it destroyed some unique prototypes. However, instead of stressing about the damage, Edison, who was 67 at the time, embraced the change by saying all his failures and mistakes burned down but he would start over again the next day, which he did. He quickly started working on reconstruction plans with his employees the next day and did not back down. Six months later, he gave a demonstration of a new invention, a battery driven light source. Edison had come up with the idea of this invention and design while watching the firefighters douse the fire at his laboratory with difficulty due to lack of power and light.
4) They have a positive attitude
The most important trait of mentally strong people is they have a positive attitude. Whether it is a successful pitch to investors, failing economics or a failed business, people with strong mentality don’t lose their optimism when faced with such difficulties. Instead of feeling like a failure, they try to find alternative methods to forward their careers. Kathryn Minshew, the co founder of The Muse, even after losing access to her website PYP Media and the savings she invested in it, did not lose her positive attitude. She took the failure as a lesson and went on to create the website The Muse by working alongside team members of her previous company.
5) Practice delayed gratification
Resisting any kind of temptation requires a strong determination. Mentally strong people understand great things happen to those who wait. Many people hope to achieve more faster and without any effort. However, mentally strong people know the results of your efforts come with time and hard work. LinkedIn co founder Reid Hoffman founded a social networking site which ultimately failed. Even after facing such failure, Hoffman didn’t stop and eventually built one of the most famous and successful websites in the world, LinkedIn.
Did we miss any other traits of mentally strong people? Comment below and let us know.
Traits To Look For In A Mentor
When you are a newbie starting your entrepreneurial journey, it is important to have someone who can guide you through the various phases of the industry. A mentor is a person who provides you guidance, support and feedback, which can help you further grow your career. A mentor can be anyone, a friend, a family member or a professor. So what makes a person a great mentor? Let’s look at five traits which make a person a great mentor.
Traits to look for in a mentor
1) Relevant knowledge
First and foremost, you should find a mentor who has knowledge and experience in the field in which you are interested. With his/her experience in the field, your mentor will be able to help you make the right decisions regarding your business and will guide you in your entrepreneurial journey.
Another key trait one should look for in a mentor is honesty. Your mentor should be completely honest while giving you feedback on your work and point out your mistakes, without sugarcoating their words. A good mentor should be able to have an open dialogue with you and be able to help you realise your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Willingness to share knowledge
You can find a mentor who is honest and have knowledge about the industry in which you are interested, but your mentor should also be able to teach the importance of such experiences and knowledge to you. He should also be willing to take the time to do it, as mentoring someone takes a lot of time and effort.
4) Positive attitude
A good mentor should always be filled with positive attitude and enthusiasm about the work they are doing and the field in which they are. Without a positive attitude, your mentor can not guide you properly or encourage you to continue your entrepreneurial journey. An enthusiastic mentor will benefit you in many ways. As enthusiasm is contagious, it will motivate you to work towards your goal.
5) Sets a good example
A person always wants to have a mentor who continues to set good examples in their chosen industry. A good mentor repeatedly sets example by achieving personal and professional goals and by being respected by everyone in the industry. A good mentor, through his personal and professional success, motivates others to do the same.
A mentor is an important figure in anyone’s life. Through their personal experiences and insights, a mentor can help a person achieve the level of success they never thought they could achieve on their own.
If we missed any other important traits of a good mentor, comment below and let us know.
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