How to network your idea into a business

Written on 23 July, 2015 by Emily Rice
Categories EventsSmall BusinessTags eventsmall business

Got an idea, but not sure what to do next?

Networking events are great for building connections, but they’re also a rich testing ground for shopping your idea around in the competitive marketplace.

To help you share your business story with others, Small Business Festival Victoria is hosting a world-class marketing showcase, “Small Business BIG Marketing.” More than 800 small business owners are lining up to attend. Read on for our five top tips on how to make the most of this essential networking and upskilling opportunity.

1. Be prepared

Networking is about finding people with common or complementary interests.

Finding these people is easy: you just need a sharp pitch.

Before you attend, think about what you makes you different. Think about what you can offer and what areas you want to learn more about or work with others on.

Use these insights as your conversation kindling. 

2.     Introduce yourself

The first step to any fruitful relationship is starting a conversation.

Make a point of walking up to people and introducing yourself. Not only will this help others feel comfortable, but you’ll engage with people most relevant to you.

Try to distil your business story into a few sentences. Keeping it brief at first will help all parties work out what they have to offer and where they fit into your story.

3.     Ask questions

If you have a burning question, ask it.

Questions are a great way to tailor your experience and glean advice from leaders in your field.

Chances are that someone else will be wondering something similar, and your question might encourage them to introduce themselves.  

4.     Follow up

If you put in the effort to show up, put in the effort to follow-up.

A quick message to a handful of your new contacts can build on the conversations you started and develop future opportunities.

Following up will also help cement the things you learnt from the Festival, as you can put all the great advice into practice to improve your business.

5.     Attend a networking event at the Festival

Refining your networking skills is all about practice, and the Festival has tons of practise opportunities, including:

  • Speed networking crash courses at the Festival Hub located in Federation Square
  • Chatting with the diverse collection of exhibitors on the exhibition floor at BIG
  • Use #smallbizfestvic in the lead-up and during Small Business Festival Victoria’s events to connect with other attendees and world-class speakers 

Small Business Festival Victoria is a Victorian Government initiative, taking place from 1 – 31 August throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.

For more information, visit the website: http://www.business.vic.gov.au/festival