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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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Posted on October 17 2011 | Author: Admin

Lowering your impact is no sweat.

Nothing kills that post-workout buzz like contemplating the environmental impact of traditional gyms—the air conditioning, the cardio machines, the thousands of tiny towels that are washed daily. But Manuel de Arriba Ares, a retired Spanish gym teacher, has come up with an alternative: all the exercise equipment in his gimnasio ecológico requires no electricity and is made entirely of recycled materials. 

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

Source: GOOD Magazine

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Posted on 2011.11.25 | Author: Jeanette

Ah, i see. Well that's not too tricky at all!"

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.

ONE Network

Posted on October 03 2011 | Author: John Pickard

Ok….so one of my previous blogs was on the theme of “One”….the One Man Band in the business world. This post is also on the theme of “ONE”. A bit different though.

Bioenterprise is a newly minted member of ONE (The Ontario Network of Excellence). This is the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s effort to bring new technologies to the forefront faster, and with better success rates than in the past.

So what is ONE? Essentially it is a number of agencies (about 25) scattered across the province that are set up specifically to assist entrepreneurs in getting their businesses up and running. Staffed by those who have “been there, done that”, the member agencies in ONE assist entrepreneurs as they pull the pieces of the business together and get their product or service into the marketplace.

You might assume our offices are populated with knowledgeable, government employees; the employees who work here (while knowledgeable) are in fact commercialization experts. These are real, live, business people who have the battle scars to prove it. Many have been wildly successful and some have crashed and burned. All bring valuable experience to your business.

The member agencies of ONE are fairly diverse, not just geographically (from Windsor to Thunder Bay and many stops in between) but rather, in terms of their expertise. First, there are the RICs (I wouldn’t be a new program without an easy to remember acronym) otherwise known as Regional Innovation Centres. These are one-stop locations for entrepreneurs of all stripes: Hi-tech, Pharma, Medical Devices, Cleantech, Bioeconomy, Food, Social Enterprise, Media, and so on. Whatever your business passion, the RICs can assist. Most are staffed with experienced entrepreneurs and bolstered by tech nerds, researchers, academics, and business mentors from all over. They combine to help build business strategies, business plans, financial models, IP, legal, marketing, HR, operations ….all the parts of a functioning business. The entrepreneur does most of the heavy lifting, but the advisors and mentors are there to steer the project and to help the entrepreneur avoid the pitfalls of starting and ramping up a new business.

And then of course there are the SIC’s. Sector Innovation Centres. Bioenterprise is a SIC covering the Agriculture and Ag-Bio space. Others include: Ontario BioAuto Council (Bio based Materials and Manufacturing), Bloom (formerly OCETA/ a.k.a. the cleantech gurus), Green Centre Canada (Green Chemistry), Coral-CEA (Software Technology), HTX (Health Tech Exchange) and a few others that concentrate on sector specific issues.

For the most part, there is no charge to access these resources. If there are costs, they are modest - affordable for a business in start-up mode. I suggest that if you are thinking about starting a business or are already underway in an early stage venture that you look up ONE and engage. The network can speed up your progress, help you avoid mistakes, and bring a powerful bunch of resources and expertise to your endeavour. Check ONE out.

If you have any experience with ONE, let me know how it’s going. 


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Posted on 2011.10.19 | Author: Jalia

Stellar work there everyone. I'll keep on reading.




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