This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
By Tara Palacios
The summer of 2019 is here!
People are leaving for the beach and heading out of town on vacation. Good for them. The reality is as an entrepreneur the work never ends. There is literally no rest for the weary; however, summer is the opportune time to re-evaluate your business strategy. Carpe Diem.
Need more business? Jumpstart the summer by auditing and redesigning your networking strategy. Do you find you are meeting the same people at events and not attracting new business? Are your opportunities growing or getting sparser? Summer is the perfect time to review the types of events you attend as well as identify new business opportunities as we enter the second half of the year.
Business is built on relationships, and you need to dust off your networking plan from time-to-time. The following tips are 7 simple ways you can network like a pro for the remainder of the year:
Tip 1 — Be Strategic
Don’t attend every event. You are one person. Carefully plan the number of events you’d like to attend on a regular basis. Seek referrals for upcoming events your network found rewarding. Attend only the events where you know you can make solid connections.
Know the audience and ask for a list of participants ahead of time (some groups provide the list as part of the networking experience), also research the host organization. If you can attend an early morning networking event you can plan to work for the rest of the day. Set up a return on investment (ROI) process whereby you can evaluate if the event was meaningful. Set a budget and stick to it.
Tip 2 — Be Yourself
Be your authentic self. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not (people can read when you are not your true self). Develop your pitch into an interesting format that you feel comfortable conveying. It doesn’t have to be forced or contrived but tells the story of how you got into business and how your product/service will help your clients.
Tip 3 — Make A Lasting Impression
Something that will set you apart is to “listen” to the people you are networking with. Yes, listen. Don’t feel like you must fill the space with words. When you actively listen people take notice and feel a deep appreciation that you understand and respect them. In this fast-pace world of social media and things going viral — to make a lasting impression by being yourself and listening to others will set you apart from the rest.
Tip 4 — No Need To Close A Deal
Don’t put too much pressure on the situation. Don’t feel you must close a sale at the event. In fact, you may decide to take a softer, indirect approach where you are planning to really get to know a person before you strike up a pitch. See what you have in common with others and set a conversational tone. We do business with those we trust. Trust and credibility take time and need to be cultivated.
Tip 5 — Dress To Impress
Know your audience, know the situation and dress accordingly. I once heard a Venture Capitalist say they knew within 36 seconds whether they’d provide funding for a startup venture based on the person’s appearance as well as understanding of the opportunity. You want to make sure to have them at hello.
Tip 6 — To Card Or Not To Card
Card. Definitely card. Whether it is a business card, QR Code or pamphlet — have a way for people to remember you by or to get in touch. If you’ve made an impression with a potential client, you need to be able to get back in touch. Keep your communication tools in briefcases, pockets or bags and always have plenty on you.
Tip 7 — Follow Up
This is a critical tip. Please follow up with people you meet while networking. Take notes on the back of the business cards you collected with any action items or follow up requests for potential clients. If it is a simple note to say it was a pleasure to meet or to stay in touch — now is the opportunity. Don’t let too much time get away. Send out notes no later than 48 hours after meeting.
Networking like a pro is to make sure you have a plan and stick to it. Don’t let time get away from you strategically meeting with clients or influencers in your field. Seize the summer, and dust off your plans for the fall. It will be September before you know it.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village