Want to start a new business or spinoff of your existing business but you’re thinking, “A new business is too hard and will take too long!” How does starting a business in a weekend sound (and maybe finding a partner to boot)? StartUp Weekend events are held around the world and are 54-hour weekends filled with hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas are viable. Typically, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, and the other half have business backgrounds, which leads to some very fruitful teams. How’s this for a success rate? Eighty percent of past attendees say they plan on working with the team they met during their StartUp Weekend.Google+
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Posts Tagged ‘networking’
Participating in a B2B marketplace can help your business grow and thrive by enabling you to make crucial connections. WebPort Global was conceived and built as a customizable platform to help form trusted relationships and collaboration for small and midsized businesses. Use WebPort Global to improve marketing strategies, work together on projects, share documents and more. You can also connect with others to share expertise, advice and information. Try it for 30 days free; after that, membership is $29 per month. The WebPort Global blog community features experts who share their perspectives on business, global trade and marketing news.Google+
By Rieva Lesonsky
For small business owners looking to grow their business, it’s easy to get so caught up in the world of social networking that you forget to get out in the real world and make connections. But networking the “old-fashioned way” is still one of the best strategies for business growth, especially for small businesses that rely on a local market or that sell business-to-business.
If you’re looking to revitalize your networking skills, my friend JJ Ramberg has a new book out that will get you off to a great start. Ramberg, host of the popular MSNBC show “Your Business,” gathered real-life advice from the thousands of entrepreneurs she’s interviewed to write It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips That Will Transform Your Small Business. While the book focuses on much more than networking, here are some of JJ’s suggestions for building business relationships.
- Be the first person at networking events. If you’re shy (like me), you probably think getting to events late is the way to go. In reality, by getting there right when the event starts, you’ll be forced to talk to others and help welcome new arrivals. Soon you can’t help but feel more confident. By contrast, if you get there late, you’ll be stuck trying to work your way into groups who are already having energetic conversations. Ugh!
- Meet face to face. How many times have you had a lengthy email back-and-forth with someone that could have been handled in 30 seconds of speaking in person? Instead of emailing or voice-mailing about major issues, Ramberg highly recommends meeting in person. Even phone calls aren’t the best way to resolve sensitive issues with a customer or vendor, but spending some time together over lunch or coffee enables you to tune into each other’s facial expressions and body language without distraction, helping resolve conflicts and cut through confusion.
- Meet someone new every week. If you never leave your business, nothing new will even happen to you, writes Ramberg. She suggests tapping your networks (both online and offline) to get connected with new people, then suggest meeting in person for coffee to get to know each other and learn how you can do business.
- The one-hour/two contacts rule. Spend one hour a day developing your contacts and network. If you make two new contacts or develop two new leads in the first 10 minutes of that hour, quit for the day. By devoting time to growing your network daily, you’ll keep your business moving forward.
- Just keep showing up. Was it Woody Allen who once said that “99 percent of success is showing up”? The same applies to networking events or business organizations. Keep going to your association or industry events, Ramberg writes. “Once you’ve attended a few times, you’ll suddenly be seen as an insider” and more people will want to meet you and work with you.
Image by Flickr user Shashi Bellamkonda (Creative Commons)Google+
If you’re not familiar with the Thomas Industrial Network, which connects manufacturers and buyers, or even if you are, you’ll want to check out the new and improved ThomasNet.com. With over 610,000 suppliers represented, the website has relaunched with better search capabilities, more models and drawings, and a new Deal of the Day feature. If you’re a buyer looking for a detailed product resource, Thomas’ team of content engineers has aggregated detailed information and line item detail for over 100 million parts from over 30,000 suppliers. The new site also makes it easier for buyers to find local suppliers, quality-certified suppliers and companies that meet their supplier diversity requirements.
ZebraCard.me is an easy way to track your business card usage and the results of your networking efforts. The innovative business card tracking solution allows users to gather data in real time and monitor the path of their business cards in circulation. Each ZebraCard contains a QR code or barcode for business card information, which points to a URL where each user’s interaction with your business card data is tracked. This allows users to know what personal networks and touchpoints recipients access after receiving and scanning the card. You’ll know right away if the person you gave your card to checked your website later, and you can follow up with the appropriate type of contact.Google+
Web.com Review: Small Business Resource: Create. Work. Inspire Business Edition Workshops: Interactive Business WorkshopsAugust 30th, 2012 :: Maria Valdez Haubrich
Create. Work. Inspire: Business Edition Workshops are a new collaboration between computer giant Dell and Manta, an online community of small business owners. The first workshop is set for September 14 in Miami, then the series heads to Los Angeles in November. The interactive sessions will feature expert speakers on business innovation and other challenges in business growth. You’ll also have opportunities to network with other small business owners, including a cocktail hour networking session featuring treats from local businesses.
Another highlight of this Dell/Manta collaboration is the selection of the “Small Business of the Week.” One lucky entrepreneur will win a Manta premium business listing for one year and be featured on the Manta.com website, giving them exposure to millions of other small businesses in the Manta community. Registration information will be announced here.Google+
By Rieva Lesonsky
I love email, social media and all things online. But I also spend a lot of time on the road meeting with clients and prospects. Why? Because when it comes to building your small business, I’m still a huge believer in the power of face-to-face communication. A new study from Cisco proves that plenty of business leaders agree with me.
Cisco’s Business Intelligence Unit surveyed business leaders globally and found that 89 percent say face-to-face communications are useful both in internal business functions, such as employee coaching and training, and in communications with partners and customers.
Some of the common situations when companies prefer face-to-face communications are:
- To discuss/resolve major issues with customers such as a service or product failure or dissatisfaction with the partnership
- To renew contracts
- To brainstorm
- To introduce clients or customers to people in your company
Executives pinpointed six key factors that matter to effective communications and noted that four of them could only be achieved in person:
- Engagement and focus on shared content (92 percent)
- Tone of voice (81 percent)
- Facial expressions (81 percent)
- Words someone is using (72 percent)
- Subconscious body language (72 percent)
- Conscious movements or gestures (67 percent)
The most important use of “face time” was in meeting with customers. Interacting face to face with customers was cited as more important than doing so with partners, suppliers or co-workers.
When it comes to sharing critical information, email is the most commonly used tool for business leaders (cited by 66 percent) but is widely seen as inferior to meeting in person. The telephone was the next most common tool (25 percent), but it, too, falls short of face-to-face meetings for most execs.
What’s the takeaway for your business? You may be trying to save money by doing everything online, by conference call or videoconference, but it’s important to know when you’re selling your business short. If you’re trying to build relationships, gain trust or hammer out an agreement with a client or customer, realize that sometimes, you’ll need to meet in person. Otherwise, you could be saving on travel costs, but costing yourself a customer.
Image by Flickr user Victor 1558 (Creative Commons)