One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur is the importance of networking.
It cannot be emphasized enough. Even though I have spent money on PR, advertising, hiring telemarketers, flyers, and craigslist, you name it, nothing has yielded more clients for my company than just plain networking.
I think networking is highly important especially if your business provides a service...if your business produces something then networking isn't as important as the quality of your product.*
At any rate, I never purposefully schmooze, except at events where it’s expected, there are certain things that I have definitely learned:
- Tell everyone what you do! Don’t be shy. This is your company. Be proud because you are doing great things! You never know who knows who.
- Hand your cards out! Why not? While a lot of people say that business cards are dead, I have gotten several phone calls from cards I’ve passed out. And even if they aren’t the best way to get word out there about what you do, nothing says that you are serious about your business when first meeting someone than handing them a well crafted and high quality card.
- Ask questions! If there is someone who seems interesting to you, ask questions. Don’t be prying or overly zealous, but if there is a healthcare provider or someone related to your particular field, ask them about how their experience has been. I am a believer that there is never a wasted conversation and there is always something to learn, especially when you least expect it. See what they need, and if you can help.
- Bring a friend! It’s the most difficult thing to drum up your courage at a cocktail mixer or speaking event, to walk up to someone, and start talking with people whom you have never met before. But, nothing gives you more confidence than when you have a wingman ready to riff off of you to break the ice with someone new.
- Join a club! Join a tennis club! Join a book club! Whatever! Go to lectures or presentations that you may not normally go to! Not only is it fun to learn new things, but it is another place to meet new and friendly people.
- Join the bar, medical or your trade association. They have speaking and mixer events, usually for free or a small fee. These associations also have a lot of resources available, take advantage of them. I personally have liked the LA County Bar Association resource and events page.
- Follow up! Do the people you talk to have a LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google Plus page? Follow them, so you can stay near their radar. Get their email address and send them a nice email a day later. If they don’t respond right away, it’s ok. If you ever meet them again, you will have already made a good impression on them. You are building good will.
- Have fun! I wanted to make a point of this one. It’s sometimes difficult to get out there and be confident to meet new people, so just think of it as having fun and just talking to folks. When you relax, the conversation gets easier and yes, may be even fun.
These are lessons that aren’t really taught in any law school or medical school. They are taught in the school of Life. While it might seem basic, bottom line, just get out there!
If you need extra resources to get out there check out the following resources and see if they work for you. And if you have any thing to add or say, please don’t hesitate and make a comment or contact me at Info@KhatriMedLaw.com:
www.GoodReads.com (for a local book club)
*Shout out to Sim Batth!