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Think Of Networking As A Long-Term Goal

Today our #AskTheFedora video encourages you to look at networking as a long-term goal.

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

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

Transcript:

How do I find the time to balance all the networking events and follow-ups that are required? This is what I treat as a full-time business. It’s people. Because people buy into people. Take the time to respond to every single e-mail that comes your way since the other person took time to write you, it just seems like a courteous thing to do to reply. I spend a lot of my time replying to people, following-up with people, connecting on LinkedIn and entering everyone’s information in my database. I don’t know if it’s going to get me a gig this week, but it may in 6 months or a year from now, especially if you see them at regular events you’re going to continue to build this relationship with people.

Storify Recap: eSAX April 2015

Jarrod and his team of #eSAX sponsors have pulled off the latest and greatest Ottawa eSAX Networking event yet! With 230 people in attendance there was definitely a crowd, and most were enthusiastic entrepreneurs ready to mix and mingle and get their business network started! To capture the real essence and excitement of the event, we’re presenting the Storify Twitter feed of the night as a recap of the event!

eSAX-April-2015

The event featured: Master of Ceremonies Dylan Black (of Boom 99.7 FM) (@dylanblackradio of @BoomOttawa), Orleans Chamber of Commerce (@orleanschamber), Nancy Morris of Business Psychologist Specialist (@NancyMorris), and Dr. Wendy Knight Agard of Leadership Mentor (@WKnightAgard).

The event was sponsored by: Sax Appeal (@SaxAppealOttawa), Funhaven (@FunhavenOttawa), Gold Sponsor Dynamix Productions (@dynamixpro), Drink Sponsor Elite Accounting (@El1teAccounting), Photobooth Sponsor Investors Group Financial Services (@bmoquin), Silver Sponsors Sure Print (@sureorleans), Creative eQuilibria (@ceQuilibria), Seoplus+ (@seopluscanada), Hewett Ripley Communications (@hewettripley), Bronze Sponsors Accountapotamus (@Accountapotamus), Storyline Productions (@storylineottawa), Flashpoint Photobooth (@OttawaFPBooth). Thanks for making eSAX happen!

Read the Storify recap below:

Network with Great Business Cards

eSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-marcheSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-march-jpgWhen you prepare for a networking event there is one essential that you can’t overlook: your business cards!

Your business card is as important as any other first impression at a networking event in Ottawa. Your card should represent your company in both design and copy. It is highly recommended to use a professional graphic designer to help you, as they have the skills and expertise to make something truly great. However, there are many templates available on sites such as Vistaprint, Moo, and even Staples, if you decide to go it alone.

Consider the following elements of a business card to help you work with your designer or templates to make something great!

  1. Decide on what information you will include. Remember that this is a contact card, not a brochure. At a minimum you should include your name and your business name, your email address and website, and a phone number if you have one. Also include your, address (if you have one for your business), title, and tagline.
  2. Consider whitespace. This is the “empty space” on your business card. Cards with ample whitespace are often seen as more professional, as they are more visually balanced and less cluttered.
  3. Typeface: There are certain fonts that go well together, and a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t use more than two together in any collateral. Remember this rule if you have a logo with typeface in it, because that means you’re already starting with one font! Talk with your designer about the mood or feel you are going for in your business, and decide on fonts that best represent you.
  4. Paper stock: Do you choose Matte or glossy? I personally prefer glossy business cards, because they don’t stick together when you are trying to pull out one to hand to someone! Glossy is thought to look professional and to stand out, but they are hard to write on so you may consider a plain back so your contacts can take notes of your meeting. A popular trend now is spot gloss, as it is beginning to be more widely available. This lets you choose one area (such as your logo) to shine, while the rest stay matte. Also remember that premium stock is a thicker card, and helps portray a professional image.
  5. Add a promotion: At a networking event, people value business cards, but you can increase the value of your card by adding a special code for a discount or promotion. You could also ask them to fill out a survey to get entered in a chance to win in a draw, or maybe you are giving away a whitepaper if they visit your website. Any of these “extras” increase the chances that people will look twice at your card once they are home.
  6. Unique shapes and textures: An oddly shaped or textured card can be fun, and can help you stand out from the crowd, but be careful when deciding to do this. People may not be able to fit your round-shaped or wooden card in their filing system, and the may instead just decide to toss it out. This is a loss for of a valuable referral opportunity for you down the road.

Whatever you decide, make sure you are proud of your business cards. If you are happy with them, then it will be easy for you to hand them out and stand behind them. Your business cards should be an extension of your business, make sure they help you appear your best!

Networking as a Booth Sponsor

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Events-Booth-Sponsorship-Vendor-Tips-pngHave you thought about becoming a booth sponsor at eSAX, or any other event (Ybiz, anyone)?

Having a booth is a great way to increase the likelihood of sales, but all of the principles of networking still apply. You are promoting your business, but you are also out there making valuable connections that may lead to sales or future referrals down the line. If you do decide to take the next step in networking, consider these tips for having a successful experience!

Set your goals ahead of time!

You can get a lot out of an event, but you have to have a good idea of what you want to get out of it. Do you want to collect 50 random business cards, or do you want to really talk to people and end up with 5 genuinely hot leads? Perhaps you want to make a sale that night, or set up a meeting that you are confident will turn into a sale. Maybe you just want to impress some industry leaders and make strong connections with them. Whatever it may be, you should have some way of measurement so when you leave you can know you if experienced a successful evening.

You could just decide you want to treat the event as a market research opportunity. Ask verbal questions, or get people to fill out a short survey to enter in your prize draw. You can use paper surveys as well as surveys on a tablet for entry into two separate draws! Ask attendees industry-specific information to give you an idea about the marketplace, or business-specific things to find out which logos, banners, website, or tagline they respond better to. There is a great value to this kind of access to your target market, so don’t waste it!

Promote the event as though it were your own!

This is a great time for you to reconnect with old customers or potential customers, as well as business partners or other associates. Don’t leave the marketing completely to the event management team and just hope that your old connections will learn about the event and feel compelled to go! Increase the chances of gaining more leads by helping to spread the word. Use your blog, newsletter, and social media to advertise your attendance at the event. Mention any on-site promotions, raffles, prize draws, or door prizes that you are giving away. Even better if you can run a giveaway for a free ticket to the event (that you either purchase yourself, or receive from the event manager, as they often give more than one free ticket to booth sponsors). Make sure to tell everyone to bring a friend! Also, keep an eye out for the other sponsors and vendors that may be promoting the event, and cross-promote with them to give your audience even more reason to attend.

Connect with fellow vendors and event hosts, as well as the event sponsors.

Before the event be sure to make the rounds and meet everyone who is setting up their booths or setting up for an event. It makes a good impression if you prepare a special goody bag or treat for them. It can be as simple as a candy bar with your logo sticker on it, or a little bag with your brochure, business card, a pen, and a cookie. Not only will you be making new connections, but you are also likely opening the door for them to refer attendees to you through out the night, now that they know who you are and what you do. Not only that, but who knows what referrals they may send you way at a later time. It pays to connect with influencers!

Build Brand Awareness

It goes without saying that you should have complete branding – banners, table cloths, brochures, business cards, and even your clothing or fashion pieces. What more can you do to get attention and be remembered at an event?

Start by standing in front of your booth, smiling, and making eye contact. People usually feel comfortable approaching friendly-looking booth sponsors. Invite people to sign up for your door prize, take a snack or swag item, and ask them how they are enjoying the event. Remember that running a booth does not mean it’s time to become a salesman. It’s all about making the event attendees feel comfortable and at-ease, so ask questions and don’t just pitch your business.

Interactive displays are always a great way to get people to have more interest in your booth. If you have products, let people pick them up and try them out. If you are service-oriented, prepare a slideshow on a large monitor, or on a tablet that people can pick up and flip through. Conversation pieces are also great. Consider Abacus, the Accountapotamus hippo mascot, or Gerome the Giraffe from Creative Equilibria! These are great ways to encourage people to tweet or Instagram a picture and increase your business visibility! Make sure your handles and the event hashtag are somewhere handy.

You can also get more people to your booth with food! Make sure that the event doesn’t require a food permit of some sort, and then plan on bringing chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, or other treats that will pull people in. Also remember that if you are giving away swag, it should be relevant to the event attendees. The more likely people are to use the item, the better you will be achieving brand awareness.

And don’t forget the follow-up!

Connect on LinkedIn right away, and have a newsletter ready to go out the next day. Ask your newsletter subscribers to like your Facebook page, but also make sure this newsletter is knock-their-socks off great, chock full of valuable information that will impress them and ensure they want to stay connected with you to continue to receive such great tips and tricks to grow their business.

Rogers TV – From “Wantrepreneur” to entrepreneur with Jarrod Goldsmith

Jarrod got a chance to sit down on an “Ottawa Experts” panel with Rogers TV to discuss some tips for success as an entrepreneur.

Learn what it takes to go from a “Wantapreneur” to an entrepreneur in this live television panel discussion featuring some enthusiastic business leaders, all from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

 

eSAX Ottawa Networking: Following Up

eSAXOttawaNetworkingFollowUpBlogbyJessicaHewettRipleyAfter you go to a networking event, you’ve certainly left with some business cards. Some may be people you feel are potential clients, and others you may feel could be potential mentors or otherwise important people you should stay in touch with. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting those that you aren’t quite sure where they would fit in. Remember that when you network with someone you are connecting to the hundreds (or even thousands, if they are like Jarrod!) of people that they have in their own network. Plus, you may end up seeing these people over and over at networking events all over the city, so you might as well get to know them now!

Here are my simple tips for networking follow-ups:

  • Start by organizing the cards you’ve collected by noting somewhere on each card where you obtained it (ie: eSAXOct14) and any information that you’d like to remember about each person or business.
  • Next, add each new connection on LinkedIn. Draft a short message about how it was nice meeting them at (specific event) and that you’d like to stay in touch via LinkedIn. Once they accept your connect request you can organize them into categories by tagging them. I find this especially useful if I remember that I met someone at an event, but can’t remember their name. You just filter contacts by tag and easily find who you are looking for!
  • The next step is to send out a personal email within 24 hours of meeting. Don’t send a form message to everyone, make sure it is personalized and picks up where your conversation from the event left off. This is also where you bring up a possible one-on-one follow up coffee or lunch meeting.
  • We have to be sensitive to everyone’s time (because as entrepreneurs our time is our most valuable resource), so when you set up a meeting make sure each of you know what to expect so you can both be prepared. This follow-up meeting should be to develop rapport, and you should exercise your skills in asking about other’s businesses and letting them ask about yours. You are building relationships, not making sales (although these relationships may lead to sales in the long run).
  • Finally, keep a list of contacts that you want to make a point to reconnect with. This may be through sending them another request to meet, or sending them valuable resources (such as event invitations or great articles they may be interested in). This is also where I make a point to add them to lists on my Facebook and Twitter, so I can regularly engage with them on social media.

Meeting the right people at networking events in Ottawa is vital to the growth of your entrepreneurial career. If you haven’t seen it in action yet, just wait to see how the referrals start to roll in once you start becoming a known face, voice, and name in the community!

How deep is the Ottawa talent pool?

The Globe and Mail put together a fantastic video of some great local leaders here in Ottawa to talk about what kind of talent this region holds. Jarrod Goldsmith tells his story, here.