If you’re a Sugar Land, TX business owner who is relatively new to the world of entrepreneurship, networking and other business events in your local area can help you in a variety of ways. You might be skeptical about the value of attending networking events, and if they charge admission fees you might understandably feel hesitant.
However, you can gain so much value from regularly attending networking events that they are often well worth the price of admission:
You should be aware, though, that successful networking takes more than just showing up to business events. There are several things that you may want to prepare for or learn better before you attend such an event, and sometimes there are even workshops for learning these skills that don’t come naturally for everyone, but are a must in networking:
Elevator pitches have often been associated with meeting venture capital or angel investors when trying to get their attention for potential investment funding. However, they’re also a great way for striking up any conversation about your business.
The idea behind an elevator speech or pitch is for you to be able to summarize in basically under a minute what your company does and who your main customers and clients are. Networking events are a great time to throw it out there and test the water to see if your business is catching on. You never want your elevator pitch to be too salesy or robotic sounding, but if you can communicate how your business fills certain industry demands and can be profitable at what it does, you never know who you might attract.
Even in the days of Facebook and LinkedIn, you still should have actual business cards to hand out. That’s because people do remember them, and many people come to conferences and networking events prepared to receive them.
Like your elevator pitch, your business cards need to be able to summarize your business up using limited space and words, so it’s helpful to research how to design an effective business card that’s the right size and gives the right details. It should be as professional looking as possible and at a minimum should probably include your website, email address and phone number. You should also know when the right time is to exchange cards with a person you converse with.
Some conferences may have more than one session going on at the same time, so you may need to do a little more research on the speakers who are going to be there so you can maximize your time.
You don’t always have to choose a session based on which industry the speaker represents, but you should make sure the topic they’re speaking on will benefit you. You also may have time later to approach them with different questions and advice for your business goals.
Sometimes your business can benefit more by actually having live product demonstrations and showing potential clients how unique they are. Keep in mind that trade shows can be a little more expensive to enter than regular networking events, and if it’s your first time setting up an exhibit for one, you may want to seek advice from another business owner on how to do it. (This is another area where your networking contacts can come in handy!)
It also helps to get out the word via social media or your other marketing channels that you are going to be there so that your customers can catch up with you there and perhaps bring their friends there. You do need to be careful about which companies are hyping which events at these shows, and you don’t want to end up wasting time because you didn’t prepare your business presentation effectively enough, or because the show isn’t relevant enough to your business. But if you’re prepared to do the groundwork and believe you have the resources to participate in a trade show, it’s certainly worth looking into.
Once you get started attending local business networking events, trade shows and other such events, you’ll probably hear about them through word of mouth. Other good places to check include the Sugar Land networking listings on EventBrite as well as the News & Events page on the Fort Bend County Chamber of Commerce website.
Along with learning about the business events Sugar Land entrepreneurs should know about and attend, it’s also a good idea to keep growth in mind. ACS can advise you on the various financing options that are available for growing your business.
Even if you’re running a startup, or haven’t had great personal credit in the past, there are small business loans and alternative options you can look into. Contact us today to find out how our financing solutions can help you.