The five takeaways are part two of this two part series.
Editor's note: This is part two of a two part article covering the benefits, importance and technique of networking for small business owners. Please read Part 1 entitled: Small Business Owners- Make the Most of Networking Opportunities
In part two we'll cover the elevator pitch, creative business cards, listening and learning and a next steps takeaway.
Here are the five networking best practices:
1. Perfect An Elevator Pitch
Prepare an elevator pitch, a ten second version and a thirty second version to be used when attending a meeting with new contact opportunities. (You can also prepare an extended 5 minute elevator pitch for use at a sales meeting.)
You do not have to be a stand-up comedian or a rap singer, but you must be able to communicate with assurance and passion. A consistent message will become your branding image.
Always include your name and position and try to find a “hook” for the audience. What distinguishes your company from its competition -longevity - pricing – services – products?
You should customize the pitch for each audiences depending on the age of the group and their familiarity with the market and the product. And, it is always helpful if you can find some humorous comment in your pitch.
You may need to write it out and practice it, but the presentation should sound spontaneous and sincere.
2. Create a Distinctive Business Card
Always carry a business card with your contact information for follow up.
You should respectfully ask for a business card from your audience and file it in your customer relations management file. There are ways you can customize your business card to make it distinctive.
Keep in mind that the print should be legible and readily copied by a telephone camera. You may decide to have a two sided card.
You website should be on your business card. All businesses need to have a website presence.
You may need time and funds to prepare a website with a meaningful message, but you can with little expense have a website that provides the basics about your business.
Next- Small Business Neworking Best Practices #3 through #5
About the author
Marjorie Weber has been educating entrepreneurs and guiding them in their search for capital for the past 16 years: combining business training programs with one-on-one mentoring. Marj is currently a financial advisor for Florida SBDC at FIU. She was Chair of SCORE Miami Dade from 2010 to 2014. She also serves as an advisor to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program and provides training for Veterans seeking an entrepreneurial path upon retirement from the service. She has facilitated workshops under the auspices of Miami Bayside Foundation, Little Haiti Cultural Center and .local banks. She commenced her career as a real estate investment banker in New York and Miami..She uses these long term relationships to assist her clients in accessing capital. She knows both the process and the people and has assisted in providing financing for hundreds of businesses in Miami Dade.