Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

I attended my first networking event when I was 18 (I’m now 27) and I still cringe at the thought of having to talk to strangers. Most people think of networking as a scary/awkward experience, and it’s true that it can be. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel prepared, and make real connections.

Prep your elevator speech

“So, what do you do?” This is a common question I’ve encountered at networking events. What’s more important than answering this question, is your confidence in the answer. Before your next event, practice your elevator speech until you say it with confidence. Your speech should be short, sweet, and authentic.

Dig deeper

Networking can get old real fast when you’re constantly talking about work. Try to dig deeper and ask questions that will spark real conversation. Learn about their family life, their hobbies, and even the “why” behind their business. This information could help you win this person over as a client or customer.

Collect cards with a purpose

There is no prize for collecting the most business cards. The purpose of attending a networking event is to make real connections. If someone offers you their business card, take it. But before you ask for it, think about if connecting with this person outside of this event is truly beneficial for your business.

Don’t forget your cards

Speaking of cards, don’t forget to take your business cards with you! Your business card at minimum should include your company logo, contact information, your name, and title.

Bring a friend

If you’re more of an introvert, have one of your extroverted business friends join you at the event. I personally find it helpful to attend events with friends, even though I’m more of an extrovert in networking environments. Just having a persona to chat with that you already know can help give you some peace of mind. However, it is important not to use this person as a crutch and only talk to them.

Find the wall flower

I always make it a point to go talk to the person who is not talking to anyone. I do this because most likely, they’re more nervous than me and I’m able to help them open up a little bit, too. If you’re unable to bring a friend, you and this person could tag team the event together and provide one another with support.

Check out the guest list

Take a look at the list of attendees and speakers and decide who you want to meet beforehand. Do your research and come to the event with a game plan to connect with them!

Be your own hype man

EVERYONE is nervous! Listen to your favorite hype song in the car, grab a drink from the bar when you get there, and just be yourself.

Are you ready to use these networking tips at #RTHCon19 on September 20 and 21, 2019? Grab your tickets and join us today – click here.

 

Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience

Can we agree that wasting money is not fun? If you don’t know who your target audience is, that is exactly what you’re doing; wasting money.

There are so many reasons why having a clear understanding of your ideal customer is important. Here are my top 3 reasons that have personally impacted my business.

  1. Attract the right clients – I started by business in 2014 without a clear vision into the services I would offer or who I would offer them to. Once I was able to nail down my offerings, I was able to create a strategy to bring in the right clientele.
  2. Offer the right products and services – When you know who your audience is, you understand what your customer needs. Which is amazing because you’ll know exactly what to offer them! In the beginning I had WAY too many offerings which can be confusing for a customer. Sliming down my offerings and creating sub-categories on an as needed basis has been extremely beneficial for my business.
  3. Intentional marketing – Once you know the customer, you probably know where to find them! This has helped me to be intentional in all of my marketing efforts online and offline. Which has allowed me to make a profit and go into my business full time.

I’m currently in the process of identifying new potential clients and I’m excited to hit my next ‘aha’ moment. If you feel like you’re hitting a brick-wall in your business, it may be time to re-identify your target audience.

Join me for an interactive webinar to learn how to truly understand your customer. Take advantage of the webinar + consult ticket to get the webinar for FREE and a 30-minute business consultation where we can talk more in depth about your business goals.

Shoot Your Shot

So much has changed in my life over the last month. One big win I’ve had is securing my conference keynote speaker, Dawn W. Dickson!

Dawn is a trailblazer in the tech community and has been featured in many publications including Black EnterpriseForbes, and most recently, The Breakfast Club.

When I first had the idea for a conference my mindset was “go big or just forget about it.” I’m a risk taker and I knew if I wanted this to work, I had to solidify a big speaker.

This brings to my tip this month: shoot your shot.

If you really want to reach your greatest potential, you have to fearlessly chase your goals. You cannot be scared to go after that big speaker or big sponsor.

With that being said, it’s also important that you have your sh*t together, too.

Before you go sliding in the DM’s of every business owner you know, make sure to ask yourself these few questions:

1. Is my branding on point?
If a big sponsor/speaker saw your website and social media, would they feel comfortable letting you use their likeness to promote an event?

2. Do I have the budget?
We all want to secure that big speaker or that dream venue. But be honest with yourself about your budget and how much your return on investment will be.

3. Do I have any typos in my proposal?
Believe it or not, having a type in your proposal can cause someone to not want to work with you.

4. Is my elevator speech prepared?
Get to the point. Avoid sending a lengthy email or message. Simply give your pitch in a few sentences and request a meeting/conversation that will allow you to go into more details.

Have you ever shot your shot at a potential sponsor or speaker for an event? What did you learn from the experience? Send an email to info@tjecommunications.com to share your story!

XOXO

What Is the Right Thing to Say?

First things first. I must start this blog by saying that I am very thankful and pleased with the opportunity Tonnisha has provided me with! This is my first internship and I actually feel of importance to the company. In fact the only thing I knew about interns before this is the phrase, ‘in turn’…OK that was a corny joke. But seriously, I’m a rookie at this, and I appreciate her taking a chance with me.

I spent some time thinking about what my first blog post would entail. As I was brainstorming ideas, it just hit me! Instead of thinking about what I should say, I should think about what I shouldn’t say.

Many of you reading this might have just read that last sentence and said to yourself, ”Wait, what?”

Hear me out..

When it comes to verbal or written communication, the whole point is to have an impact on the audience. Whether you are a public speaker or a kid trying to convince his mom to let him have a cookie before dinner, your argument must be very convincing and memorable. To do this effectively, avoid focusing on saying the right thing, and shift focus on not saying the wrong thing.

See where I’m going with this?

Think about parallel parking. When parallel parking, you don’t focus on where the other cars are, you look at where they are not. This allows you to pinpoint just the exact angle to turn the wheel to safely park your car.

Still don’t get it?

It is impossible to focus on the car in front of you and behind you at the same time. If you tried, you would probably crash into one of them. By focusing on where the cars are not, you are giving yourself a better chance of parking successfully. Why? Because you are focusing on the opportunity of the open parking space more than the full spaces.

Every action on behalf of a company will have a positive or negative reaction. Often times we focus more on what everyone else is doing or saying and miss out on open opportunities to be innovative.

What is the right thing to say? Who knows! But what not to say is what everyone else is saying. Take advantage of open parking spots to fill. Here is where you will have the opportunity to create the new standard.

Hopefully, this post will be just as entertaining and intriguing to read, as it was to write! And of course – informative.

Until next time,

Dez, Media & Communications Intern