Networking and Marketing Basics for New Entrepreneurs
As a young entrepreneur looking to make it big and get your name spread about as widely as possible, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Not only will you need to attend to the not-inconsiderable matters of getting your business off the ground, keeping your finger on the pulse of the market, plying your skills as reliably as possible, and seeking legal consultation whenever it may be required, but you’ll also need to network and market effectively.
But while property solicitors can help you find your legal footing, knowing the best marketing and networking strategies for you, personally, may be a bit more tricky.
Here are some basics for networking and marketing as a new entrepreneur, so that you don’t go off the rails, or sacrifice your precious time and energy on unfruitful strategies and approaches.
Get on LinkedIn
It’s a simple truth that we live in the internet age, and in a time where every element of business is reflected by a particular online culture, or series of websites and tools.
LinkedIn is, for all intents and purposes, the archetype of networking made digital. It’s here that you’ll find a huge proportion of the world’s business people and entrepreneurs already established and networking with one another, and it’s here that you have to present yourself in the best and most professional light possible.
Whenever you do business with someone, even in passing, or communicate with a prospective client who you feel it would be beneficial to stay in contact with, search them on LinkedIn and send them an invitation.
There are many professional benefits to using LinkedIn. For one thing, it allows you to keep in contact with professionals even once they move on from their current role (and change their email addresses). For another, it streamlines much of the process of following up with contacts on a regular basis.
Play to your strengths
Marketing isn’t just one thing, and nor, for that matter, is networking.
On some level, many people are uncomfortable with marketing and may view it in a dim light. Images of door-to-door and used car salesmen spring to mind — often intrusive, often unethical.
In reality, however, marketing is simply the act of offering your good and services to the prospective client, in the most effective way. It can be done unethically, but doesn’t have to be.
Likewise, networking can be an uncomfortable process, but doesn’t have to be.
Play to your strengths. If you connect best with people face-to-face, attend trade fairs. If you have great phone manner, try cold-calling businesses and clients alike, as needs be.
Do things to stand out (in a good way)
Making a lasting impression on the professional people you encounter is vitally important. It’s also vitally important that it’s a good impression you make. (There is, absolutely, such a thing as bad publicity in business).
There are various ways of standing out in your marketing and networking efforts, but make them unique and relevant to you.
If you’re a graphic designer, for example, there’s no excuse for having a run-of-the-mill business card.