First time startup? Get the most of any social event with these six networking tips.
In business lingo we are considered a bootstrap startup agency – which means we are new, young and eager to work hard. It also means we need to build our network. That said, in mid-June we had the opportunity to attend San Diego Startup Week, a week-long event inviting over 3,000+ entrepreneurs, 150 events & organizers. What’s the most important thing we learned about attending a networking event? First off, getting out of our digital comfort zones & getting there! We reviewed the event list of key speakers, coordinated our team schedules, selected our tracks that included everything from seed funding to social media, then went forth to conquer our game plan.
Our journey was fantastic! You’ll see below, but we utilized our time effectively & met some truly wonderful people along the way. Now, we live to write about.
Six Networking Tips From A Real-Life Startup
From top leaders to community influencers, we were served our fair share of awesome individuals and businesses. So we took our experience & compiled a first-hand list of recommendations to acing your social networking – in person!
Impress, Yourself. Before walking out the door each day, embark with confidence. Know your business – better than you know #PokemonGo. After all, no one knows what you do. In fact, we recommend coming up with easy introduction of who you are and why.
Get Social. Although you might be a first-time attendee, utilize the benefits of your social channels to get (and stay) connected. The week before the event, we headed to the SDSW site, browsed influencers and made our own Twitter list on social of attendees we virtually or physically would like to meet. Daily, before each event – we did our social due-diligence which included: sharing our experiences in real-time on all fronts, like Snapchat, Facebook Live & Instagram. Each morning & afternoon we focused on creating fun, timely visual content for the next day – allowing us to make ourselves present at all times.
Take notes. Sure, you aren’t in school but when attending an event, why not take the responsible path? Jot down your favorite quotes, nods of advice and pointers. Trust us – you won’t remember it later. At one of our favorite events, “The Top Things That Happen to Companies In The Growth Stage”, where the CEO’s of Bizness Apps, Veyo & CloudBeds shared a wealth of information, advice & their favorite reading material. (Check it out via this pin board) If it works for them it will work for us, right?
Speak & Be Seen. Each event we attended gave us the opportunity to communicate with the guest speakers. During “Pitch the Journalist” we were able to live pitch & chat with Jennifer Van Grove, the technology journalist at the San Diego Union Tribune. Did we participate? You betcha. If don’t ask, you’ll never know. Plus, guest speakers like Jennifer, dedicate their day to sharing their knowledge with us.
“Mixer” It Up. Most events are like this: learn all day, mingle all night. Our tip? Show up to the events that you feel are a great fit & come prepared. Know the theme of each mixer, ask questions, bring business cards & do what you came to do – meet others.
Leave a lasting impression. After the event is all said & done, follow-up. Everyone you met, mingled and tweeted with is a potential opportunity for increasing your connections & building new relationships. The key – look into your new connections, outreach for the stars & see if you can help them or add value. But if you do leave a lasting impression – you’ll know it. Like this tweet we received, from the @homingin – winner of the SDSW pitch contest:
Networking is such an important part of expanding and sharing who you are with others. Take advantage of each event you attend & remember to always be your self(ie).
Ready to network with us? Contact our visual storytellers for more information, here.
Here’s how to successfully prepare your brand for a digital launch before even getting started.
“San Diego is an incredible place to live, and an even cooler place to launch.” That’s the mindset at San Diego Startup Week, the weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship we attended in June. Our purpose for attending: see what businesses in their startup phase are doing & how things are going. We had a blast, learned some valuable networking tactics & also got a feel for how businesses are going about handling their content & social media online.
One important thing we noticed is that many companies were struggling with their pre-launch startup phase. Many have solid, amazing ideas – from apps to services – they just need a process in place before launching. So we pieced together our notes, your pain-points & wins into a list of seven pre-launch strategies. Browse below before presenting your great idea to the digital world.
The Pre-Launch Checklist For Startups
Before we work together to create an out-of-this-world launch campaign, give these tips a shot – espresso not included.
- Do your research. Is now the right time for your business to be in the market? Is now the right time for you to launch your business? Factor these important questions into your initial research & analysis, before deciding to move forth with your big launch.
- Know Your Vision. “Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.” (source) From the tone, audience, pricing to credibility – it’s important to know the message you want to send to your online audience. Have your team (or if solo, yourself & close network) review your brand goals, packaging, product, catalog, etc – if you know & love it, others will do the same.
- Brainstorm Your Higher-Level Goals. A one-day, meeting of the minds to organize your launch vision. Before even contacting an agency, before looking for new employees or placing Craigslist ads out of frustration – talk it out, think it out and write out. Ask yourself & others: What is my digital vision? Who is my target audience? What can my company do to make an impact? Record your meeting so you can make sloppy, ugly, all-over-the-place notes & doodles that help your mind relax. Then, listen to it all over again (and again).
- Develop a Business Plan. Assign one person on your team to take all the mumble-jumble from your brainstorm, organize the key takeaways and write one-page, high-level action plan for your business. (If you are rolling solo, well then look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back). Make a simple-one sheet to start, like this.
- Focus on 3 T’s – Time, Team & Trust. Every moment counts – set tasks and goals to make sure your team is on track to prepare for your brand launch. Investing in measuring your time, creating a solid internal team built on trust and dedication, will prepare your company for larger goals beyond your push – like culture and consistency.
- Develop a Digital Content Strategy. Here’s where you might need an extra hand. First off, a content strategy is the “process of planning, creating and sending the right content to the right audience in the appropriate timeframe through a repeatable editorial framework.” Did we mention – this process is vital to a successful outcome? Organize or recruit a team of experts – like our visual storytellers – to create content magic for your brand.
- Set Your First Campaign Milestone. When will your big launch, be? You know your brand, you have a solid action plan, a great team, a strong content strategy & a promising idea- heck it’s time to piece it all together. Here, you will align your brand vision with your digital strategy to creatively share your brand online. – think visual content, video, social media content & more. Additionally, it is vital to distribute & track your content to assure you are seeing the KPI’s (key point indicators), like sales, that you want to see! Make sure your efforts are showing results to assure your first campaign is a success on all fronts. Need a little help? Learn the details of our visual launch campaign service, here.
- Prepare for Takeoff. Don’t miss your milestone – keep with your launch date. Why? “Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you from even attempting to start your small business. If you keep waiting around for that “perfect” moment, it will never come, and the opportunity for success will have passed you by.” (source) Here’s an extra tip: A/B test your content before its public. Soft-launch with your family & friends, share it with old coworkers or personal Twitter followers. Get feedback before your launch milestone for fine-tuning.
Need an extra hand (or paw)? Learn about our Launch Campaign Service & don’t forget to share your tips & strategies for getting your digital ducks in a row on social, using the hashtag #LifeIsReel.