No one likes the word “networking”; it’s pretty scary, and just invites images of sweaty-palmed small talk over weird canapes at a stuffy business event. But we can’t deny the importance of creating relationships and meeting new people.
It’s important to keep an open mind about who might be able to help you and your business grow to new heights. If not now, then maybe later in your start-up journey.
At Dream & Do, we like to call ourselves the ultimate hustlers. We’ve been known to give out business cards to the Uber driver talking about his idea for an app, the guy selling coffee out of a cart down the street, and Tara even slipped a card into a bag of returned clothes at Myer. The salesgirl actually ended up emailing her saying she’d looked at the website and love what we do, and that she might need our branding services at some point for her personal styling business.
If you admire someone, or see them as a ‘virtual mentor’, why not suggest shouting them a coffee or a wine? You never know where the relationship might lead. Make sure the email is personal, brief, and not asking too much. Business is a two-way street after all.
Instagram is our favourite tool for getting our hustle on. Make sure to stalk people who follow you, see where their business could fit into yours and complement each other, and maybe start tuning them by commenting and liking photos. Once you’ve got an online social media relationship growing, the next step is to email and suggest starting small, perhaps a contra blog swap, or you could pitch some content ideas that have a benefit for promoting both your businesses? The world is your oyster.
Dream & Do co-hosts an event called Cereal Entrepreneurs - a fun, non-intimidating breakfast meet-up event where we interview a couple of entrepreneurs and then do a live creative workshop of audience members’ business issues. Breakfast and goodie bag is included, and we believe that there’s no such thing as too much crazy. Bring your personality, meet like-minded people, and have some fun. You never know who’s life will cross paths with yours.