New connections and networks help entrepreneurs have new business perspectives, get new investors, gain mentorship that bounce ideas off and at the end of the day sparking business growth.
Here are five ways to connect and network with fellow entrepreneurs.
When people want to work away from the office, many entrepreneurs immediately think of Java or even a home office but how much networking really goes on there? Sure, there can be some friendly conversation found there but if you really want to network and make connections, with the right people join a local co-working space.
There are so many affordable options in coworking spaces. For example at Nairobi Garage, we offer affordable packages for different business in different business levels. Here are the rates of the different packages that we offer. So the next time you are moving into a coffee house just keep in mind that the cost could actually cover up for monthly cost at a coworking space.
The other advantage that comes with joining a coworking space is the fact that everyone in the space is also there to work but there are plenty of opportunities to make small talk and introduce yourself, as well as learn about the other members there.
The entrepreneurial population will always be much larger at a co-working space than at a local Java and most spaces provide free coffee, so don’t worry, you can still get your caffeine fix.
Another great way of networking is through attending business-oriented events. Networking at business events can help you grow your business and allow you to do hands-on marketing research. Learning to mingle and to follow-up with business networking contacts is crucial to your self-employment success.
For example at Nairobi Garage events are an integral part of the Garage culture. We strongly believe that connecting, networking and engaging through events can strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
We regularly host thought-provoking and inspiring talks, skill-focused seminars and unique networking evenings designed to provide opportunities for professional development and creative growth. Get more details about our events here and sign up to attend.
Also during the event, once you have someone’s business card, make sure you follow up with them within 24 hours of the event. If there’s an obvious win-win connection with someone you’ve met at an event, call them up and invite them to lunch to explore the connection further. When you write the networking event into your calendar, also add one or two hours the following day into your calendar for follow-up so that you know you have time to complete the task.
When you look upon networking events and business functions as an opportunity to meet new people, do some market research, and find potential clients, it can become a joy instead of a chore. Going in with a game plan makes you feel like you can really make the most of the event.
Joining a business club is a great way to meet and network with other like-minded individuals. There are several organizations that accommodate those just starting out more established entrepreneurs all the way to the most elite entrepreneurs in the world.
You can also look for a virtual drop-in space where you can get work done and also network. For example at Nairobi Garage, we have Club Space. The Club Space is perfect for the professionals and business owners who would love to be connected to the Nairobi Garage community but really don’t have the need for a full-time desk or office within the space.
These organizations provide several benefits aside from just the networking and connections — the exposure, advice and mentoring that can originate from these types of entrepreneurial organizations are priceless.
There are several social networks that can be used to successfully network and connect with entrepreneurs — but Twitter is full of real-time action. Twitter feeds constantly pump out breaking news and information across every industry.
Even the busiest entrepreneurs are active on Twitter daily, making it possible for you to grab the attention of the most out-of-reach individual you can imagine. If you identify someone you would like to connect with, take a quick glance at their replies and if they reply to tweets directed at them, then reach out.
Linkedin, on the other hand, is viewed to be quite professional and therefore quite an interesting platform to connect with other professionals and like-minded entrepreneurs. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for individuals and companies looking to make new connections, generate leads, and build their brand. While it’s an important platform for all businesses, LinkedIn can be a true game-changer for B2B (business to business) companies.
Whether you freelance or run a small business, you likely have a niche. And one way to connect with influencers in your chosen industry is through trade shows.
You can go to a trade show either as a vendor or as a regular attendee. And while prepping for a trade show can be a lot of work (designing and setting up a branded booth or display is no joke), these industry events offer a unique opportunity to boost brand awareness, network with movers and shakers in your niche, and nab some customer leads.