As part of #BDSpotlight On start-Ups we asked writing and editing company Concision CEO Daniel Roe to give us his thoughts on the importance of networking for Start-Ups.
Here’s a confession: in the first six months of starting our company, Concision, I didn’t go to a single networking event. I was busy. We were working on a number of important projects, with more on the horizon, and networking takes time. I thought it made sense to focus on our work. That was a mistake; I should have been networking from the beginning.
1. Feedback that counts. Networking can be an opportunity to find out what other people think of your value proposition. Are they impressed? What questions do they ask? Use each networking event as a chance to test and refine your product message – and don’t be afraid to try a new approach.
2. Pivot, pivot, pivot. Startups should be innovating continually. The most valuable asset you can have is growing knowledge about your target market. So treat networking as a research project. What are your market’s needs – and how can you improve your product? We’ve pivoted twice as a company, without losing our central focus. That’s due in no small part to the constant feedback we received from peers at networking events. There is considerable talent and experience in the local business community, and the insights you gain can point you in the right direction.
3. Partners open doors. Networking also opens the door to finding like-minded suppliers and partners. If you’re like me, you choose to work with people that you know and like. But it’s difficult to get real sense of someone on the phone or over the internet. Can you trust them? Do they believe in the value of what they do? In person you can see what someone’s really like. Networking lets you build relationships with suppliers and potential customers that go beyond transactions.
4. People matter. Networking is a chance for you to make a difference in your local business community. This is my philosophy for networking: seek the good of each person you meet. Don’t be salesy. Be interested in them for their own sake. No pitches or scripts! Rather, do your best to serve them. Can you connect them with potential clients? Introduce them to suppliers? Don’t worry about missing out; people will see your value.
It’s two years on for me, and networking has seen Concision increasingly rooted in the local business community. We’ve formed business relationships, gained knowledge, refined our service offering and – I hope – benefited others in the process.
See you at the next Durham 2sday!