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What Is An Entrepreneur?

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (10)Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, colors and genders, and they run small businesses to huge businesses. Some have been in business for decades, and others may have just started. You might be able to look at someone and know that they label themselves as an entrepreneur, but what really makes someone an entrepreneur? 

Someone who takes risks

You may have started your own business to sell pancakes in your local area. You are not employed by anyone and you are doing things yourself to earn profit. You have the option to sell these pancakes to other stores to sell, out of a food truck, or maybe in your own restaurant. So, are you an entrepreneur?

The answer is: yes. When you decide to take the risk of putting your time, money, and energy into making an endeavor work, you are adopting the entrepreneur mindset. It’s all about going out of your comfort zone to make things possible. You might figure that it doesn’t seem that risky because you live around people who know you and love your pancakes and have been asking you to sell them for a long time. Just because you are starting out at low-risk doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to expand and take on more risk, and it doesn’t mean you are immune to market trends and changes (such as a new breakfast restaurant opening on your corner).

Someone with innovative ideas

In the grand scheme of things, it can be relatively simple to create a business plan, gain some startup cash, hire a few folks, and have a business up and running. However, the one thing that sets a good business (and a great entrepreneur) apart from the rest is how innovative their ideas are. In the pancake example above, the business will only succeed if you are doing something that no one else has thought of, or if your pancakes are somehow special. An entrepreneur’s business won’t survive if they are just a carbon copy of something else, or if they are unable to adapt when competition comes around.

 

Entrepreneurship is all about dreaming up something new and converting those dreams to reality. When you attend Ottawa Entrepreneur Networking Events you will meet many people who have such dreams, and you can speak to them about how they are fighting to make those dreams true.

Someone who sees opportunity and harnesses it

An entrepreneur is one who can see what others overlook. They will find out what can be profitable, work to make it successful and make profit out of it. They may start a totally new venture or change an unsuccessful business with their vision to a successful one. They have faith in themselves and their hard work and can chase anything to realize what they think to be profitable. They know the importance of manpower and utilize it for reaping profits.

If you are an entrepreneur, or thinking about becoming one, don’t forget to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event! You’ll meet many other entrepreneurs, and get on your way to developing a quality business network.

Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

This week on Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

Transcript:

As a new entrepreneur everyone says you have to do networking. But you may be saying to yourself “I hate networking and I don’t like talking to people because everything they say is a sales pitch and I’m going to be sold sold sold”. Well, if you don’t network, you’re not going to have any work. It’s something to learn. They call it a networking skill; The more you go the better you get. A few years ago when I was just starting-out, I would tell everybody my ‘elevator pitch’….”oh you need me, I’m so great blah blah blah”. I soon realized that maybe this wasn’t the best way to approach things. As a new entrepreneur you have to go through this process and see what works best for you and your company. There are always going to be people who look at you funny, but there are others who will buy-into what you’re doing. Whatever happens, keep going to the events as it’s something you need to do in order to be in business in five years from now. Keep the networking up, and if it doesn’t come naturally, it will. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath.

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

If You Hate Networking Watch This

Don’t write off networking if you want to do what is best to help your business succeed. If you are one of the networking “haters”, watch what Jarrod has to say to you!

Transcript:

You hate networking. It’s like pulling teeth trying to go to an event in order to sell your business. After many years of seeing literally thousands of people with all kinds of personality types go to networking events, I’d say you just have to go out there and connect with people in the community. If people don’t see your business, than where are they going to find you? It’s one thing to have the connections on social media (as it’s a very important part of marketing to have a great website, Facebook & Twitter accounts, YouTube videos etc), but nothing will ever beat the face to face part of networking. This is where people can get to see your personality and get to know more about YOU. If you don’t like networking, suck-it-up and start going to out some of the events to start practicing the networking because it will get easier the more people you introduce yourself to and you connect with. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Why Enthusiasm Matters At Networking Events

Today our #AskTheFedora looks at “Why Enthusiasm Matters At Networking Events”.

Transcript:

You go to so many networking events, so how do you avoid burnout? Every opportunity at a networking event is a way to continue the conversations that you’ve had from previous events. Plus, you’re meeting new people for the first time so it’s a never-ending opportunity to make new connections. When you go out and try to connect with people, you should always be excited and enthusiastic! Sure, some people might have an extra coffee or two (I for one drink a lot in the morning), but it’s so important to always have enthusiasm. So you go to a networking event and a person’s talking to you about their business: “I do this, I’m kind of into that, I’m not sure about this, I don’t like doing that”. They are not leaving a very good impression on the other person because they don’t seem to have the enthusiasm. If you’re an introvert, it might be very difficult to talk about what you do, but you’re business is your passion. You need to express your passion to other people so that they’ll buy into it because people buy into you. As a small business owner you are the business. Whatever networking event you’re going to and you’re meeting somebody for the first time or hundredth time, you need to get that passion out because it’s something that people will remember. Never forget your enthusiasm at networking events because eSAX makes networking work!

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Interpreting Body Language at Networking Events

This week our #AskTheFedora video looks at How To Interpret Body Language at Entrepreneur Networking Events!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Transcript:

Of all the networking events I’ve been to, the one thing I’ve really come across is that picking up on body language is so important as a networking skill. Next time you’re at an event, look at the person, look at the way their standing, their tone of voice, if they are looking over your shoulder to see if there is anyone else in the room to connect to. What I’m paying attention to at a networking event is the non-verbal body language. Then you can adjust the way you talk to that person. If they are very shy, you don’t want to be in their face, you want to stand off to the side a little bit. Because eSAX Makes Networking Work!

Don’t forget to register for the next eSAX Ottawa Networking event!

How Do I Talk About My Budding Business at Networking Events?

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The beginning of a new business is an exciting time. There are so many new ideas and endless possibilities, but how do you start to talk about a budding business when it’s not quite off the ground yet?

One thing I’ve noticed is that people are reluctant to talk about their business ideas for a variety of reasons. Some people are protective of their new baby, knowing it is not yet ready to be scrutinized by the world. Some people are afraid others will steal their ideas. Others just don’t know where to start. The good news is, you CAN network no matter what stage your business is in, because networking is about creating relationships and not about making sales. Odds are that you will find a great deal of supportive business people ready to give you a hand if you need it.

Still not convinced? Read on for tips:

  • Be Ready for Advice and Suggestions – When you come into a networking event without an established business, you may find people are eager to help you. This can be beneficial, but it can also be overwhelming when you haven’t even started yet. If someone says something that piques your interest, you may want to take a note and tell them you’d like to follow-up with them on that advice once you get going. Just beware that this can be a situation that makes your head swim, and be prepared to “smile and nod” and not change all of your ideas because people seemingly more experienced have told you to. If people bring negativity to the conversation and make you feel bad about your idea, move on from talking to them. This is where a business coach or mentor can come in handy, because they help you build confidence about your own ideas and ensure stick to them despite outside influence.
  • Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas – Could it happen? Maybe, but probably not. I hear many people are hesitant to discuss their idea because they think it is a goldmine and if they don’t get people to sign an NDA they won’t discuss it. For the most part, people at networking events are too busy with their own business to steal someone else’s. The people out there who are looking to steal business ideas have aren’t likely to have the same level of expertise and passion to pull it off the same way you would, so don’t worry about it! Besides, you don’t have to reveal every aspect of business at a networking event.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch – Even if your spiel is just an explainer of the fact that you are new to the entrepreneurship world and just starting to put together your business, it is still worth preparing and practicing so you have more confidence to talk to people. Include the industry you are interested in, and what you are trying to learn more about, and see what they have to offer to the conversation.

Talking about your business at networking events is great for gaining potential clients, establishing people who can give you referrals down the line, and for bouncing ideas off of people while gaining insight into the industry. Hearing the reactions of experienced entrepreneurs as well as new ones is invaluable to a small business owner, because you get an idea of how the market reacts to your pitches, products, and services. Don’t hold back from attending networking events just because you don’t have your business plan or branding done. Jump in right away. In fact, you may find it’s even more low-pressure this way!

Some Tips To Remember Names At Networking Events

Today our #AskTheFedora offers some tips for remembering names at networking events!

Transcript:

You go to a networking and someone tells you their name and all of a sudden it goes right out your other ear. I’m really bad at learning someone’s name. What I try to do, (if they are wearing a name tag), I’d suggest you do not just stare down at their chest (that doesn’t look very good from either party). If you’re talking to someone and the person looks away for a second then I think it’s ok to quickly look down to see if you can catch their name. I always try to look for something a little bit different about the person. Maybe they have a really cool pair of glasses, or they are wearing a really neat belt, and I’ll try to equate what they’re wearing to their name. Yes, it might be a little tough next time you meet them because they might not be wearing the same thing, but the more you see someone, the more likely it will be that you can connect their name to them.

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Networking and Eye Contact

eSAX-Networking-Ottawa-Eye-ContactFor some, eye contact can be a strange thing. It can be intimidating, or it can feel very intimate, considering the general wisdom that eyes are a “window to the soul”. Eye contact is an important type of nonverbal communication which many believe can show mood and intention, and it is an important aspect of conversation and gauging the responses of those you are conversing with.

Considering your eye contact technique before a networking event can be a great way to help yourself have one less thing to worry about when you arrive. Understanding eye contact can not only help you to better interact with people, but it can also help you to read other people’s reactions to you and those around you.

The “Right Way” to Engage in Eye Contact

If you have ever wondered “what am I supposed to do with my eyes when I’m talking to someone?” then this is the section for you!

First off, relax! If you come at someone with an intense stare or darting and nervous eyes then you will only distract and unnerve them while harming your chances of a great networking connection. Many people may read your nerves as a sign that you are untrustworthy, so do your best to feel confident and self-assured.

When you are engaged in a discussion with someone it is important to maintain eye contact both when you are listening and talking. Keep your gaze non-threatening and non-aggressive by focusing on the middle area of the person’s face. You can focus on just one eye, as it is actually physically difficult to keep both of your eyes on another person’s two eyes. Try focusing on one eye, or on a spot on the face, or calmly move back and forth between the two eyes. Keeping your focus on the bridge of the nose or on an eyebrow can also give the illusion of eye contact without your conversation partner never knowing the difference.

When you do break your gaze, make sure to show a smile, nod or other gesture to indicate that you are still interested in the conversation and not breaking off because you are looking to get out. It’s great to take a moment at networking events to scan the area and see if there is anyone waiting to talk to you, but be sure you don’t spend your whole conversation looking away.

Whatever you do, don’t overthink it and forget to actually be present in your conversation. Practice eye contact so it comes naturally and so you can be a focused listener and good communicator.

Beware Nonverbal Eye (and Eyebrow) Cues

Some nonverbal cues to be aware of include:

  • People who maintain longer direct eye contact are generally more comfortable with you, and this often indicates that they like you
  • But too much eye contact can indicate annoyance, anger, and discomfort
  • A flash of the eyebrows (a quick up-and-down gesture) indicates recognition and some degree of fondness for someone else (think of when people say “oh, hey!”)
  • Lowering of eyebrows shows dominance and aggression, while raising them signals submission
  • Head down, eyes diverted shows ultimate submission
  • “Side Eye” is the sideways glance with lowered eyebrows and a turned down mouth, which shows suspiciousness and hostility
  • Rapid blinking shows nervousness, slow and lazy blinking shows a feeling of superiority or disinterest
  • Darting eyes indicate the person is looking for a distraction or escape route and is a sign of insecurity
  • Staring at the “third eye” area of the forehead indicates an attempt to gain control, keep people on their toes and inferior

It is important to always look straight ahead and maintain eye contact as there are some misconceptions about eye contact that people commonly believe and judge others based on. These include:

  • Looking up while talking indicates lying
  • Looking down while talking or listening indicates confusion
  • Shifting eye contact shows hiding something

Don’t forget to adjust your mood!

You may be great at eye contact, but did you know that your pupils can give you away? Research shows that not only do wide pupils indicate excitement and narrow ones indicate negative feelings, but people also prefer other people with wide pupils to those with narrow ones.

This means it is ever so important to make sure you talk yourself into a good mood and excitement before you go to Ottawa networking events. eSAX is such a good one to start with because the casual atmosphere and presence of many other new entrepreneurs creates a low-pressure place to get out and practice.

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Network with a Brand, Name, and Logo You Love

eSAX-networking-ottawa-business-brandingLast week we talked about your business cards, but let’s take a step back and talk this week about branding, naming, and your logo.

Strong Branding Creates Strong Connections

When most people hear the word branding, they think colors and graphics, but branding actually goes deeper than that. It includes logos, naming, taglines, and even your elevator pitch along with the other graphics, and it is about what your company stands for, in an all-encompassing way. It starts when you sit down to write your business plan, and it grows out of your mission and vision. You also have to take into consideration your products or services, as well as your target market. You have to feel confident that your feel your branding represents your business, and you also need to be sure that your audience is interpreting your message the way you intend it. Once you’ve worked this out, you can then work on the visuals that you will use consistently in your traditional and digital marketing.

A Memorable Business Name is Important

There is a lot to consider when you are naming your company. Aside from the obvious, that you want something that matches what you do and is easy on the ears, you also have to research if the name is already used anywhere, if the domain (and social media IDs) are available, and also if the shortened version or acronym are used (you don’t want anyone to confuse you with anyone else). It is best to bounce names off of people, because what makes sense to you may not have the same effect in the marketplace.

Stunning Logos Make You Noteworthy

You are the face of your business, but your logo is the graphic representation of what your business stands for. You may choose something that is easy for people to instantly understand, or you may choose something abstract that has a story behind it (make sure to share that story in the About section on your website). If you aren’t a visual person you can turn to a professional who has tons of experience in creating impactful logos. Remember that you (and your customers) are going to have to look at this image a LOT over the years, so you better like it! You should also feel convinced that it is the perfect embodiment of your business. Everything from the bold or elegant design, to the choice of color and typography should be well thought-out and considered before you make a permanent decision.

It is entirely possible to attend networking events without having set your branding, naming, and logo, and in fact, it is encouraged to attend events like eSAX: The Entrepreneurial Advantage Experience because this is exactly the type of low-pressure atmosphere that will let you have conversations about how they settled on their branding, or what they think of a few naming ideas you are considering. It is also a great place to find marketing experts who are more than willing to give you advice that will help you move forward with your branding, naming, and logo process.

How To Follow-Up With People After A Networking Event

Today our #AskTheFedora explains how to follow-up with people after a networking event!

Transcript:

After a networking event you walk out with 30 business cards…what do you do with them? I realized three or four years ago when I was starting out that it was starting to become a really big pile. I kept going through my rolodex or plastic pages and quickly realized this wasn’t sustainable so I decided to put everyone I met on a database. What I do with a business is to see if I’ve me them before. If yes I update their record, if not, I create a new entry. What I do is send them a customized e-mail. “It was really nice to meet you at (insert name of event)” and then anything particular about that person…if they play music, or if they have a hat or something so that I can relate to them to develop that relationship with them. Then, I invite them to connect on LinkedIn. “Dear so-and-so, it was nice meeting you at the event would you like to connect on LinkedIn”? It’s important to keep in touch with them and continue developing these relationship so that next time you see them at a networking event it’s easier for them to make a better connection with you.

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!