We have all heard of it, or have we, no that was speed dating, a concept for the time poor professional to meet similar people with the short term view of a date and just maybe in the long term a relationship. Well lets take a step back and look at Speed Networking for Small Business. The concept is not that much different then speed dating. The Small Business owner, operator, manager or staff member can be classed as time poor, looking for short term meeting opportunities and long term business relationships. Sound familiar.
How Does Speed Networking Work
To understand just how Small Business can benefit from Speed Networking lets take a look at the end result. What is it that we all aim for in Small Business? Profit. And to obtain profit we need customers. And to grow our customer base we need to forge relationships and broaden our connections by increasing the exposure of our business.
Starting a Speed Networking Group
There would be many different ways you could start your Speed Networking for Small Business group. We suggest the following;
- Meeting random attendees in a designated area. (One on one).
- Meeting specific representatives of Small Businesses based on preassigned matching.
- Address a preselected group where individuals address all participants.
The secret to a successful Speed Networking meeting is time (speed). Place a time limit on the networking presentations, six minutes is a good starting point. This is broken down to two minutes for each presentation and one minute each for questions and the swapping of information (contact details). The speed of the networking meeting is monitored by a facilitator usually with the ringing of a bell. Time to move on to your next prospective customer.
Speed Networking for Small Business takes Time
You are right, nothing is easy in Small Business, but there are ways to make things just a little easier. Outsource. Outsource everything as you have enough to do in the running of your small business. Contact your local government small business department. Every country, every state, every city has one. (use Google). They will let you know of groups already running in your part of the world and place you in contact with the facilitators. Associations and clubs are another source of Speed Networking events.
Being the host gives you the expert status of Communication Leader. You will find the position will add value to your Small Business and stand you as a person to trust. It will be your job to keep the conversations interesting and varied. Try suggestions prior to the start of the speed networking session, place a seed in the minds of the participants by relating topics to your own experiences. Remember you are the one with the expert status.
The After Party
Well not quite a party as we are here for the purpose of forging new small business relationships. But this part will be loud, fun and more relaxed. The time period scheduled for this part of the event should be no longer then one hour. This allows all delegates the opportunity to fine tune and add value to the new found relationships.
Five Small Business Treasures
- Your business card is the gold in your treasure chest, only give them out to delegates you want to work with.
- You have planned to be at this event so plan your message. Rehearse it, record it, listen to it, refine it.
- Show an interest in your Speed Networking partner, ask questions.
- Stand out with a story of success, you need to be remembered in a positive way.
- The largest piece of gold in the treasure chest is communicate. research their business and follow up with some free, yes free advise.
Let us know at Small Business Treasures about your upcoming Speed Networking for Small Business events. The successes you have had and the suggestions for improving the events you have attended. Go ahead, comment below.