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Networking 101 ? Building Relationships for Growth

Posted on October 28 2011 | Author: Victoria Lennox

Networking is the key to success in business according to Keith Ferrazzi, business coach and author of Never Eat Alone, a book about the power of relationship building and networking. Networking helps you find jobs, recruit talent, win new customers and discover investors who will support your ideas. With the right approach, you can build lasting relationships. Here are some tips to become a master networker:

  1. Do your homework – If possible, get your hands on the attendee list before the event and identify a handful of people you want to meet. Look up their profiles on Google and LinkedIn and learn about their background to determine the best way to approach them.
  2. Prepare your pitch – Create a 15-second verbal business card that you can use when you are introducing yourself to people. It should be clear and concise. Who are you? What is your company? What are your goals? What is it that you want from these new relationships that you are developing?
  3. Set goals – How many people do you want to talk to and who in particular?
  4. Be yourself – Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
  5. Use body language – A firm handshake with eye contact is crucial because people intuit a great deal from that first brief exchange. Maintaining open body language by never crossing your arms is important.
  6. Be an ambassador – Act as a host, not a guest. Introduce yourself to those standing alone and ask if they would like to meet others.
  7. Listen and ask questions – We have two ears and one mouth, so use them proportionally. When you listen, really listen. Have meaningful conversations with the people that you meet and ask open-ended questions.
  8. Be generous – Networkers believe in “givers’ gain” — that by helping someone, you both benefit. Your approach to networking should be completely selfless. Give referrals wherever possible. In doing so, you will become a helpful resource for others and people will remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas and information. This keeps you visible to them. Always be thinking how you can help the person you are talking to. Your network isn’t about what you can gain from it, but what you have to offer it. So make yourself available, approachable and knowledgeable.
  9. Trade business cards – Be sure to exchange business cards and write notes on the backs of cards you collect to remind yourself of what you discussed and any commitments that you made that you will need to follow up on.
  10. Manage your time effectively – Spend no more than 10 minutes with each person, and don’t linger with friends and associates.
  11. Follow up, quickly! – You will have wasted your time if you do not follow up right away. Follow up by email and refer to something of significance from your conversation. Be sure to also deliver on any referrals or connections that you have committed to. 
  12. Connect via social media – After meeting, also add your new contacts to your LinkedIn community and follow them on Twitter.
  13. Meet one-on-one – To further build the relationship, you may ask to arrange a call or to meet in person one-on-one.
  14. Keep in touch – Once you have a new relationship, you have to nurture and cultivate it. Keep in touch so that it can grow.

What not to do

  1. No selling! Networking events are not meant to be a vehicle to get people to buy your products or services; they are about connecting and building relationships – a beginning, not an end. You are looking to develop a long-term relationship, not a short-term sale.
  2. No spamming

Every person you meet has the potential to drastically change your life, so when networking, lay it all out and see what comes of it. Networking is not about exchanging business cards; it is about building relationships. As a network builder, network building is to me like developing new friendships. I listen, offer help, care about their goals and enjoy their company, and everything else falls into place.

The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre receives funding under the Growing Forward suite of programming, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.
 






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10 Reasons to Start Up in Canada, eh?

Posted on October 12 2011 | Author: Victoria Lennox

Here are some reasons to Start Up in Canada:

Whether you are looking to start a business or have already turned a profit, as entrepreneurs, you are always looking for new opportunities. Sometimes the grass may seem greener on the other side. But why venture south when Canada is the place to be?

  1. We Are Home to the World. Not only are Canadians diverse global citizens that come from all parts of the world, but we also attract the brightest newcomers. In a world where connectivity is king, Canada’s diversity lends itself to global business opportunities of all sorts – from importing, exporting and leveraging global business models to discovering new innovations and working with others from different cultures to give life to new ideas – our diversity is our strength.
     
  2. We’re Connected. Nearly 27 million Canadians are connected to the Internet. Of those, nearly 60% are actively using social networks. This means that we work with global teams and run global businesses at our fingertips. You don’t need to be based in Silicon Valley to be a successful entrepreneur. Success is not a place, and it is a small world.
     
  3. We’ve Got Smarts. Canada is one of the world’s best-educated nations in the world with exceptional talent ready for you to hire. New programs pop up all the time to encourage academic-industry relations, which can give your company a competitive edge by working with the best and brightest.
     
  4. Canada Loves Its Entrepreneurs. Canadian entrepreneurs are well respected for the impact that they make in creating jobs, strengthening communities and fuelling the economy. Increasingly, they are being celebrated and recognized for their contribution.
     
  5. Lots of Support! There are thousands of small business associations, networks and organizations that provide networking, learning and support across the country that are just itching to help you start and grow your business – so you need not be alone.
     
  6. Government Gets It. All levels of government in Canada understand that small businesses are the engines of Canada’s economy, so they provide programs, services and tax incentives to ensure that Canada’s entrepreneurs have a running start. While there will forever be new ways to improve government support for entrepreneurs, Canada remains one of the easiest countries in the world in which to start up and do business.
     
  7. Talent and Innovators Galore. Great Canadian entrepreneurs give life to remarkable companies – e.g. RIM, Bombardier, LuluLemon, Holt Renfrew, Chapters, McCain Foods and Tim Horton’s. We develop world-class technologies, produce inspiring creative works, and create scientific solutions to global problems – and that’s just with 34 million of us floating around.
     
  8. The Beautiful Land. From Niagara Falls, Banff and the Prairies to the Atlantic Coast and the Territories, we’ve got natural beauty and space to spread out. You need only drive out of the city to see untouched sites and do the unwinding that all entrepreneurs need.
     
  9. Standard of Living. For eight years in a row, the United Nations has ranked Canada as one of the best places to live in the world. Canada enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world, a safe environment and a modern health care system.
     
  10. And of course, our sense of humour, our beer and our bacon – to get us through the rollercoaster we go through as entrepreneurs. 

The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre receives funding under the Growing Forward suite of programming, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.






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Posted on 2011.10.19 | Author: Finch

That's not just logic. That's really sensible.


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