All Articles Tagged "networking"
Most people say that networking across your industry is the way to go to promote your small business. But according to an article in Inc.com, you should actually be spending more time with your friends.
“As the company grows to 20, 30, or even hundreds of people, the CEO must become more discerning about which lunches to set up, which phone calls to take, and which emails to return. It’s no longer possible to talk to everyone, so the CEO must prioritize the best opportunities — the biggest customers, the most important partners, and others with the most potential to have an impact on business growth,” says the article.
CEOs should spend time with trusted advisors, a.k.a. their friends. If a friend refers someone to meet with you about your business, take this meeting, advises the article, before meeting with total strangers. Also, take time to meet with your friends about your business. “Educate them on the things you need to grow your business–customers, partners, quality recruits, etc. Then ask them to suggest meetings for you,” says Inc.com.
Besides making introductions, a friend can also be a wellspring of useful information in other areas. In addition to venting about workplace problems, bounce new ideas off of your savvier friends. They have a better insight to how you handle new situations and stress and can help you come up with solutions that best fit your style. You can even go so far as to set up brainstorming sessions with a group of friends. If you buy the drinks and nachos, you can probably get a good group to show up.
Friends can also be your best promotion via word of mouth. They can wear and use your products, and utilize their own social media networks to tell others about your goods and services.
But remember to reciprocate the favor. Pass on work and recommendations to your friends as well. You want to make sure you’re part of their trusted network of friends as well.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has teamed up with the U.S. Black Chamber to help minority-owned small businesses gain access to opportunities that will lead to federal contracts. That includes networking with larger businesses and in-person meetings.
“During several scheduled forums, small businesses will learn how to market themselves to the federal government and go after federal contracting opportunities,” reports Black Enterprise. “The forum also will offer help with strategic alliances, joint venture opportunities, and mentor-protege arrangements within the [SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program].”
The two organizations kicked off their partnership with an event on October 10 at the Carnegie Library in Washington DC, the National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking and Awards Ceremony.
Hmm… A writer at USA Today (via the Detroit Free Press) is offering up some very suspect advice.
“Sound Cutting Edge With These Business Buzzwords,” blares the headline. “You’ll have an edge if you can sprinkle in buzzwords liberally that make you sound cutting edge and cool, especially if you’re pitching your company to an investor or talking to your know-it-all brother-in-law,” the article continues. We really hope that sentence is kind of a joke, but we don’t think it is.
On the list of terms is “crowdfunding,” which has been a focus of our own editorial coverage and the “cloud,” important when you’re talking about digital technologies. But the list also has “social and mobile” and mobile on it, words you should’ve known years ago and are kind of unavoidable at this point. Among the most egregious are “freemium;” and “BYOD, ie bring your own device.” You will sound really stupid using these words in a conversation. Seriously.
More than that, you’ll sound like you’re trying very hard to let the listener know that you’re in the know. Jargon really doesn’t get you very far when you’re meeting someone over cocktails or at a networking event. And at business conventions, a person’s brain is so filled with everything that’s happening around them that you’ll just sound like every other brochure that’s being handed out.
Knowing the latest terms and phrases is definitely a must. But using them sparingly and in the most exquisite context is more important. If your business proposition has to do with collecting or analyzing data, for example, first describe what it is your company does exactly and then, once the conversation has moved along, shorthand your description by calling it “data mining” (one of the other “buzzwords”). In that case, using the catchphrase actually makes your sentences more concise, which is key to a pitch. And, within the previous sentences, you’ve thoroughly explained what you’re talking about, so you don’t risk losing your audience.
Words are for communicating. If you express yourself clearly, you automatically “sound cutting edge and cool.” You don’t have to try so hard.
If you want to get ahead in business, networking is a must. But if you are like many people, you either just don’t like to network or your networking skills are lacking.
“Of all the areas where networking can help you, the most important are getting new business, finding a job and having relationships with key people who can help you out in ways you can’t predict yet,” writes Business Insider. “Networking opens up new opportunities for you.”
Here are a few tips on how to network effectively:
1) Play it natural. “Stumped for something to say? You’re likely not the only one. Walk up and introduce yourself, and then tell people it’s your first time there and you don’t know anyone. People connect with authenticity,” writes Inc.com.
2) Have a networking piggy bank: “Funnel a certain percentage of your paycheck into a bucket that pays for coffees, lunches and the occasional plane ticket to meet new people and shore up existing relationships,” Inc.com adds.
3) It’s not the number of people you network with, but how you network. “Focus on quality, not quantity,” said Henry Nelson, vice president and co-founder of New York-based networking organization, 1209 enterprise, LLC.
4) Do the soft sell. “Be confident but not in an arrogant way,” Nelson told us via email. “If you’re not excited about your product our services, why should they be?”
5) Stop and listen. “Be a good listener, that way you can exactly know what it is that they do and want,” advises Nelson.
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I’m the epitome of it: Writing Coordinator for a program with over 1,500 students, freelance blogger/journalist, spoken-word artist, graphic designer and non-profit extraordinaire. I am paid for everything I put my mind to and I am sure to give each one my undivided attention.
I break dawn, under an editor’s pressure, typing away at my keyboard and downing homemade coffee. I transfer my meticulousness to the precision of sidebars and links when crafting a website. You can find me divvying my thoughts and ideas into separate journals—each serving a purpose—fearful I might lose them or their momentum. I don’t believe in Jill-of-all-trades, master of none. It’s possible to master one trade and delve into several others quite decently.
Your potency is what makes you profitable.
Your will is what drives the inquiry.
They will ask to put you on display.
They will smile at your triumphs.
But first you must be amazing at what you do.
Here are a few tips on the mastering of the side hustle:
1) Every trade doesn’t start off profitable. A lot of folks jump into a craft and are too quickly frustrated about not making enough money from their pursuit. I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as overnight success, I just beckon you to realize that it’s a rarity. Writers, write for online/print publications that don’t necessarily pay, but offer great exposure. Artists take your paintings to the local coffee shop or library and offer to display them for free. Some caffeine-obsessed savant will surely question whose masterpieces adorn the wall. Just like the hounds at the perfume counters or the new restaurant across the street, your passersby might need a slight sample before committing to a sale.
2) Be prepared. This might be the cliché rule, but I can’t say this enough. Too often I’m confronted by women who claim to be a freelance something-or-another with nothing to show for it.
“Oh you’re an event planner? I’ve got this really great idea for my upcoming wedding and I’d love to bounce it off of someone, do you have a card? No?”
After this, she’ll scramble to pull a piece of paper from some forlorn notebook and scribble her number unto it. Sigh. Preparation is key when you’re looking to solidify your hustle. The give-me-your-hand, with the Hot stare, and the let-me-write-this-on-your-hand might work with the fellas, but it won’t work in most cases. Cop business cards and take them wherever you go, stick a few of those postcards emblazoned with some of your work into your purse, and be prepared to perform when asked.
As a spoken word artist I frequently run into other poets who need my help joining a showcase, but aren’t prepared to spit a few stanzas. How can I vouch for something I haven’t heard or seen?
3) Being half-assed will get you nowhere. If you’re truly invested in something, you won’t mind putting effort and aesthetic into it. Too often I come across half done websites or webs/BlogSpot dot coms, bathroom shoots for bios, & banter with typos.
Buy your own dot com, have a professional shoot (support other side hustles—photographers), create an about, have someone who’s a great scribe write your bio, and call on a graphic designer to give you a tailored and proficient look. The scariest thing is going to the home website of a “graphic designer” that is all out of whack. In what world?
4) Learn all of the facets. You don’t want to be that girl. THAT GIRL. The one surrounded by a bunch of photographers who are trading notes on different equipment and the joshing is halted when the conversation turns to you. Don’t be the my-daddy-bought-me-this-Nikon-so-I-take-pictures girl. Know the lenses, the optics, which brand is better and all the scenarios each could handle. I’m not saying you have to know every knob and handle, but be able to contribute to conversation of YOUR craft.
5) Empower your brand. Just because your craft may be a SIDE hustle doesn’t mean that its pride is a lessened one. Place yourself everywhere: Stickers, logos, t-shirts etc. Give your entrepreneurship a persona of its own; allow it to create an Instagram, a FB page, and more. I follow a chef on Instagram who posts pictures of her food and receives personal catering requests via DM and her inbox everyday. There are several part-time musicians that sport logos that embody their persona and craft.
Read any and everything on your expertise.
Tell everyone—no one is too small. Tell the world.
Sacrifice sleep, priority, and procrastination.
Answer all questions.
Remember, the customer is always right.
Paypal is your friend, they have debit cards now.
To all the side hustlers: Jewelry makers, event planners, photographers, writers, bloggers, producers, femcees, singers, interns, interior decorators, dancers, artists, poets, designers, etc…
Whether your career is the clothes on your back and your side livelihood is your dream or it’s the reverse; take dignity in it.
Today’s 5-9 could be tomorrow’s white house and picket fence.
Tomorrow’s after work hour could be the next stepping-stone to yesterday’s career.
For the accountants turned femcees.
For the freelance writers turned editors.
For the dreams that bloom, defer, and deflower everyday.
Any tips for fellow side hustlers? What’s your motivation?
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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Used correctly, Linkedin can serve as the catalyst that initiates the transition to the next phase of your career. The free members-only service (there is a premium version too) can eliminate the barriers that stand between you, prospective employers, colleagues, clients and mentors. But a good Linkedin connection begins with the invitation.
After you’ve identified someone that you’d like to connect with, avoid the impulse to use the default invitation language and tailor your note to the type of connection that you seek.
On the next few pages, you will find customized examples of Linkedin invites for six different scenarios. Feel free to add additional suggestions or best practices in the comment section.
What to write when…
…you want to connect with a former boss or colleague
We worked together at [COMPANY NAME] in [DATE/YEAR] and I would like to reconnect with you. I currently work at [COMPANY NAME] and think there may be an opportunity to collaborate at some point in the future. I’d love to catch up with you sometime. Please let me know when your schedule permits.
If you use the Internet as much as any millennial does, you are probably connected to family and peers using a variety of different social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. You might not miss anything when it comes to your social network, but if you are not utilizing your social media sites to maximize your job search, you might as well go back to MySpace.
The Internet is a great tool for virtually everything (no pun intended!), from answering a question to finding a recipe, and using it to find your next job is no exception. With popular professional search sites like Career Builder, Monster and Indeed, there is no excuse for not making better use of what the Web has to offer.
If you have an account with at least one of the most popular social networking sites, you’ve made your job search that much better already. These tips will help you use your social networks to your advantage personally and professionally, maximizing your chances of landing your dream job.
Sick and Tired of Being Tired? Five Steps to Taking a Leap Into a New Career and Fulfilling Your Dreams
By Mame Kwayie
I was the kind of tired that coffee couldn’t cure. I’d browned my teeth trying. I was past the point of a vacation and past a feigned sick day to recover from burnout. I’d changed my hair too many times to make a difference, rearranged my home furniture and hung too many new pictures in my office for it to count. And taking a new route to work every day doesn’t do much to enliven your outlook. Forget what ya heard.
I knew a change would do me good. A big one, at that. I was two and a half years past my college graduation and that many years into a career. Somehow, I’d gone from intern to senior manager, complete with an assistant, an office, and an expense account. I’d made it, right?
The problem? I’d known for a while that I’d outgrown this ostensibly golden professional life. While I’d fulfilled my teenage dream of being some kind of corporate wunderkind, I finally understood what people meant when they used that oft-recited and very apt phrase of “I needed a change.” Over a year later, I’m tapping into my younger self, the self so fearless, faithful, and full of so many dreams that even all my grown-woman practicality couldn’t knock sense into her. I moved to a new city, entered a graduate school program, and made a shift in my career.
Is your golden dream hanging above your head? Know what you need to do, just not sure how? Whether you’re looking to move to a new city, start a new business, or go back to school, understand that it’s possible. As with nearly everything nowadays, there’s an adage for this, too: Leap and the net will appear. Here are a few things I’ve learned during my leap.
Welcome to the beginning of the peak intern season, where hopeful college students and graduates suck up their pride and take on for-credit, paid and sometimes unpaid internships to get a foot in the door of their desired industry. Don’t be fooled by how easy an internship might look or sound. Taking on an internship is like running a marathon; there are no shortcuts, it should not be taken lightly and it will not last forever.
There’s really no way to prep for an internship except to be open-minded and ready for any type of task that might come your way. Interns are not just coffee pushers or copy makers, but they help fill a temporary void in the office that might eventually make way for a permanent position. So, don’t take your internship lightly; this might very well be your next job!
While you have that significant time as an intern with a company, make the best of it and turn it into a career by keeping these simple steps in mind:
If you are out on the job market trying to get employed, or even trying to begin your own business, you’re fighting an uphill battle if you are not networking. You could send countless “cold call” emails so that maybe a handful are read, or you could send just a handful you know will be read. Networking makes business easy. It’s the networking itself that requires real work.