9 Ways You Can Scale Your Startup by Creating the Right Connections
I have never been a fan of networking, coming from a background in financial services, I have attended many different events over the years, and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy any! And now I run a networking business! Bonkers hey!
In all honesty, I always used to have a block surrounding the word 'networking'. (I probably still do, to be honest!) It made me feel extremely uncomfortable - to the point that I had to call my monthly sessions within Peakes Private Members Club (that are essentially networking sessions) 'Connection Sessions'.
It was because of the experience I had up to that point of these stifling events, suited and booted, and dreading your 5 minutes of shame pitch. It was just awful, and I know that there are so many of you that have felt similarly to me.
But the reality is, business can be lonely, especially as a startup founder or solopreneur, and networking can help you feel more connected, energised and accountable. Not only that, it can also help us scale up our startups, but it’s all about finding your space and making the right connections in a simpler, more natural way that leads to real and genuine connections being made. Not because your feel a though you have to, but because you want to!
Here are 9 Ways You Can Scale Your Startups By Creating the Right Connections
Who do you want to connect with?
First of all write down the type of event you would like to attend, who will be there, what is your objective? For example, do you want to meet other mums, are you looking for a really inclusive and diverse group of people, do you want it to be male or female only, over 40s, or under 25s? By doing this, you will have a really clear idea of what you are looking for, and you will know what type of events to avoid. There is no point spending your valuable time attending an event, where you won’t meet like-minded people who share the same values as you.
Know your intentions
It’s important that you are connected to your why – why do you want to connect with others? I think the most powerful connections come when we seek genuine connections and profound relationships. When the people you're connecting with are 'your people', and they have the same intentions as you – you build friendships as well as business relationships.
Network in the right spaces and places
What do you enjoy doing? There are more and more people now running unique and different types of events, you don’t have to succumb to the mundane boring hotel rooms with crap coffee and bacon rolls. Last year I hosted Spa Days, Afternoon Teas, fabulous lunches at dishoom and Fortnum & Mason, as well as comedy clubs and a trek up to the three shires waterfalls for a cold-water swim with a Wim Hof coach! The new relationships which were formed at these events are going strong, new collaborations have formed and more sales have been made, and guess what – not one pitch or business card was swapped!
Be YOU – Relax
I believe that the most enduring business relationships are only built when people can relax and be themselves.
This could be within Social Media Platforms such as Facebook or Linkedin, or other online networking groups who have external communities. The important thing is that the community is full of the right people for you. By joining an online community, you will start to make new connections straight away, you don’t have to wait to meet face-face. You do need to make the effort to engage with other members, you can’t join and expect people to seek you out. You have to put in the work. If there is online networking, make sure you show up and show your face, you can’t make real connections with your camera off, this isn’t blind date! The added advantage of joining a community, is when you do meet face to face, you will feel far more at ease, as you will already know people and the ice has already been broken.
Attend a retreat
This is becoming more and more popular, and whether you are looking for a business retreat, a wellness retreat, or an adventurous mountain climbing retreat, trust me you can find it! It may feel daunting booking to spend a few days with total strangers, but honestly you will leave feeling driven, inspired and motivated, with new amazing relationships.
Host your own event or retreat
This is a great way to bring people into your world. Maybe there is something you would really love to do, and you can’t find it, so what a great opportunity to create it yourself! You won’t be the only person out there who wants the same experiences as you, and this is a great way for people to learn more about you and your business.
Grab every opportunity
There are so many people out there who will provide you with opportunities. Make sure that you grab anything, which comes your way with both hands. The online world is full of courses, memberships, events, retreats, communities, speaking gigs, masterminds, I am sure you have been in, or at, many yourself. Are you actively seeking opportunities within these or just seeking sales?? Offer your support to your fellow business owners, could you speak at a retreat, could you hold training in their community? Yes, you will be providing value, however you are taking the opportunity to offer support and to be in front of their clients. I see many people who will only do this work for a fee, and I think it’s a little counter-productive. I agree your time is valuable, but so is the opportunity of building your profile and your audience.
What can you give?
Yes, let’s be honest, we all want to make more money, increase sales, build our profile and become successful, but the worst thing you can do is only care about YOU. If you don’t listen to others, don’t pay them any interest, you don’t ask anyone else questions, but, you talk non-stop about yourself, pitching and selling, people will run a mile, and you will struggle to build any real relationships. If you are always asking for people to share your sales, offers, you ask to promote yourself to their audiences, ask yourself, what are you doing to give back? Be that person, who like in point 6, offers others opportunities, be the person who is a supporter of others in business, look for ways you can help other people. This is going to be far more powerful, you will be respected and valued a lot more and you will build genuine relationships in this way. I can guarantee that you will see the favours being paid back. (Disclaimer – there will be people who will take advantage of your good nature and never repay the favour) you have done your bit – move on, hold your head up high. The relationship won’t work if your values are not aligned!
Now that you have these tips in your bag, implement them! You can read all the advice, hints and tips online, but only you can get out there, meet new people and create connections for yourself. I know it’s not always easy, but trust me, by finding the right people and the right places, it will feel nothing like a chore and everything like fun.