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eSAX Ottawa Networking Event Recap: Jan 7, 2015

The latest eSAX event was another great success!

Despite the extreme cold alerts we were under, we still had over 200 people make their way to Funhaven to enjoy a night of networking.

Our sponsors and guest speakers helped to facilitate connections and help empower new Ottawa entrepreneurs.

Taking a look at the Twitter feed (using the #eSAX tag) can give you an idea of how great the night was. Of course, the cold was definitely an overall theme!

Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, and volunteered at the event! Together we make eSAX a unique and successful Ottawa networking event!

Remember the next event will be April 8, 2015. Get your advanced tickets now!

eSAX Networking Ottawa Keep Calm

eSAX Tips for the Startup Networker

eSAXOttawaNetworkingSuggestions

Are you a new entrepreneur wondering if you should make networking a priority in your business?

Aspects of every business are relative to each business owner. That’s why you’ll never hear someone tell you an absolute that will make or break you. This means it is important to look into the facts and get some personal experience that will guide you in your decision-making.

Some people hate networking events and are able to have great success without stepping foot into one, but others love networking events and make many connections at them each week. It’s easy to say that you might as well network because any additional exposure for your business is good for business, but it is true that if you are uncomfortable and miserable you won’t be doing any favors for yourself.

Before forcing yourself into networking, consider some of the following ideas that may help you to realize some of the benefits you can get from the events.

Suggestions

  • Jump into networking when your business is new, especially if you don’t already have a ton of contacts in your industry. It will help you to build a strong foundation of supporters that you will lean on for the life of your business.
  • Don’t look at networking events as an opportunity to sell. Look at it as a chance to meet people that MAY end up being important mentors, partners, investors, or sources of referrals.
  • Have your website up and your business cards ready to go as these events are key to increasing your brand visibility. This is your opportunity to get the community used to seeing your logo and business name.
  • Use networking events as practice to improve networking skills and get comfortable talking about your business. This includes your 30 second elevator pitch!
  • Consider a networking event as a chance to do some research. Find out what are the current trends and demands in your industry or target market, or talk to many people that may offer insight and solutions into your own pain points.
  • Understand that coming away with just one new quality contact (mentor, colleague, friend, etc) is a very successful night.
  • Pick the networking event that is right for you. With an event like eSAX there is more of an emphasis on the social aspect, as well as mentorship and support of the small business community. You can also find events for your specific industry.
  • Decide if you are interested in “Hard Networking” groups that have a heavy focus on referrals (and also require membership fees and attendance) or “Soft Networking” such as eSAX networking events or your local chamber events that are more casual
  • Let yourself socialize! New business owners spend so much time on their business and neglect the social side of their human nature. Let yourself unwind a little bit and enjoy talking to like-minded entrepreneurs that are just as passionate about their business as you are about yours!

When starting out, it is easy to overlook networking since you have so much you are already devoting your time to. eSAX makes it easy to attend networking events in Ottawa with the scheduling of the events quarterly. Surely you can at least make time to spend one night of networking every three months! If you’d like to network more, but are nervous about it you can check out the “Find the Fedora” posts on the eSAX Facebook page and follow Jarrod to some great local events!

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!

Ottawa eSAX Networking Recap: October 2014

eSAX Netoworking Ottawa Recap October 2014

We’ve had about a week to recover from a fabulous night of networking last Wednesday at the Ottawa Marriott. The event was held Wednesday, October 8 from 6-9pm. This eSAX networking event was particularly special to me, as it marked my “one year” anniversary as a networker. Last year the October event was held at Lago Bar and Grill, and while we had a beautiful view of Dow Lake and the fall foliage then, this year topped that one with the great view of Downtown Ottawa!

eSAX attendees rode the Marriott elevators up to the 28th floor where they were greeted by our Accountapotamus sponsors manning the registration tables. If you were pre-registered you could be checked off the list and after you put your business card in the fishbowl for a chance to win a door prize you headed up the stairs to the 29th floor! If you didn’t pre-register you simply had to pay the $30 charge and have your name added to the list.

The mood was instantly set as soon as you stepped into the room. Dynamix Productions had AV displays and lighting set up, and Sax Appeal was playing the smooth jazz tunes. Each attendee was given a swag bag, courtesy of new eSAX sponsor Creative Equilibria. In each bag was marketing collateral (including an eSAX pen) from businesses that opted to have their information included. This was a great option to get your marketing material directly into the hands of 275 excited entrepreneurs! The swag bags also had programs and tweet sheets printed by eSAX sponsor Sure Print and Graphics.

The 29th floor of the Ottawa Marriott is a circular rotating room. For eSAX all of the booth sponsors were set up around the exterior perimeter, so they slowly circled the room while attendees could walk the floor or step to the side to stay on the stationary platform. There was a cash bar and snacks brought around on trays by the great Ottawa Marriott staff. You couldn’t miss the fun Flashpoint Photobooth setup! Always remember to stop by their display and get your free souvenir photo printout (and code for the free digital download) with your favorite entrepreneur!

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Everyone mixed and mingled and exchanged business cards until our speakers for the night were brought on by Masters of Ceremonies Derick Fage of Daytime Ottawa. First Trefor Munn-Venn of Rhapsody Strategies came out and discussed the importance of earning and establishing trust, and then Michael Hughes of Networking for Results continued this theme with discussing how networking is about making meaningful relationships. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce took the stage for a bit, and shortly thereafter Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson showed up to give some support and a nice speech to the crowd!

Then there was one of the arguably most exciting parts of the night – door prizes! There were lots of great prizes donated and Speak Easy monitored the tweets all night to announce the top Twitter influencers of the night! Afterwards there was more time for getting in the last bit of networking before it all closed down for the night.

We look forward to the documentary film put out by our sponsor Storyline Productions!

Registration for the January 2015 eSAX Ottawa Networking Event is already available. Make sure to purchase now to take advantage of pre-registration savings.

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB).

Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Do you have a blog recap or review about your time at eSAX? We would love to include the links here! Just email them to and they will be added to the Event Page!

10 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Ottawa Networking Event

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Today we are sending out some of the best networking tips we have to offer. Feel free to share your additional tips in the comments!

  • Buy your pre-registration tickets: Pre-registration tickets not only are discounted from at the door tickets, but it also ensures you get a nice pre-printed namebadge and have to spend less time at the registration table
  • Get your business cards ready: If you order now, you’ll have them in time for the event. Make sure you check on your stash and make sure you have plenty, because finding out right before the event that you are down to your last 10 is not fun! Don’t have business cards because you don’t have a logo or website or business yet? No worries, print some out at home or order some that contain your name, email, and phone number.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile, website, and Facebook page (or any other place you can be found on a google search). Odds are that anyone interested in working with you will search you within 24 hours of meeting you, and you want to make sure you don’t have any expired information.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. This should be a short summary of what you do an what makes your business unique. It should be memorable. Write it out, revise it, practice it in a mirror, practice it on friends and family. Know what you do, who your ideal customer is, and what makes you passionate about your business.
  • Get an idea of what industries or influencers you would like to connect with (set goals) you would like to meet – not just clients, but successful business owners or potential partners (such as a writer with a graphic designer, or a sports psychologist with a physiotherapist)
  • Pick out that outfit to give off your best impression. Make sure you didn’t lose any buttons or get any stains at the last wild and crazy networking event you attended!
  • Get informed on who is likely to be at the event and check out their websites and linkedIn profiles or Facebook pages. Think of some questions you can ask them.
  • If you are going with someone else (or a group) make a game plan – make sure they know who you are hoping to meet and you know who they would like to meet, so when you split up at the event you can make sure to do introductions.
  • Make your driving arrangements.
  • Log into twitter and make sure it’s still there – that you know how to use it! Practice with us at our live tweet events, because if you tweet at the eSAX networking event you can be entered to WIN prizes!

You can get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa Networking Event for Entrepreneurs at: http://esax.eventbrite.ca/
Tickets will be available at the door after Pre-Registration closes!

Infographic: eSAX

Looking for Ottawa networking events to attend, but don’t know where to start or what to look for? This infographic explains exactly what you will get from eSAX: The Entrepreneurial Social Advantage Experience! Events are held quarterly, to coincide with the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program (OSEB) and encourages new entrepreneurs to get out, meet new people, and learn something new!

Each eSAX event has networking, speaker presentations, and inter-chamber cooperation. These events are set up to inspire new entrepreneurs to connect and to ask questions – you have a better chance of success with more people around you to support you!

eSAX Ottawa Networking Events for Entrepreneurs
Please Share this Infographic with Ottawa Networkers!

 

 

eSAX October 2014 Location Change!

Ottawa Marriott Hotel

(Image Source)

Once a year eSAX moves the Ottawa Networking Event to a new location. I love the Funhaven location, but I also enjoy the fun of visiting a new place and stirring things up. In a way, it takes us out of the “comfort level” we can reach, and it ensures that we never lose that “new” feeling. This is one of the reasons why eSAX is so great at helping entrepreneurs constantly grow, learn, and develop as successful business people.

Jarrod has just announced that this year the October event will be held at the Ottawa Marriott on 100 Kent Street! Not only do we get to enjoy our night at a luxury hotel, but we also get the exclusive benefit of one of the best views in the city from the revolving event venu!

This location does have free Wi-Fi, so don’t forget to live tweet while you are there!

Make sure you don’t miss one of the most fantastic Ottawa networking events on October 8, 2014! Get your tickets now on EventBrite to make sure you reserve your spot!

My Start in Networking: Jarrod Goldsmith

For our blog this week Jarrod shares his early experiences networking and some advice to new Ottawa business owners just starting to get out there and network. Believe it or not, we all started somewhere, and here is where Jarrod’s networking journey began:
Did You Know Jarrod

Looking back to when I first began attending Ottawa networking events, I really had no idea what I was getting into.

Growing-up, I never had an interest in anything to do with business, let alone entrepreneurship or networking.

In fact, I’d never spent much time among entrepreneurs and never had an ambition to run a business, let alone two!

The main reason I started frequenting entrepreneur networking events in Ottawa was to initially get gigs for Sax Appeal. This was my only motivation. After working so many short-term government contracts for too many years, my ‘wake-up call’ was that I needed to create my own future, rather than rely on others and the whim of federal government human resource practices.

When I first created Sax Appeal back in 2011, I realized I needed to network to get work since no one will ever consider hiring an all-saxophone ensemble for a wedding or cocktail reception. In effect, I was creating a new market and trending into un-tested waters. After playing and studying the saxophone for close to 30 years, I knew my trade and was entirely confident in my ability. What I didn’t know, however, was anything about business and networking ‘etiquette’. Having never associated myself with entrepreneurs, I didn’t know the first thing about networking.

What I did learn quickly, however, is to always have enthusiasm. I learned right away that people remembered meeting me because of it. Ask yourself what is one common characteristic other successful entrepreneurs have. Perhaps you will agree that it’s a genuine love of what they do.

Yes of course I was nervous when I was first starting out, sometimes thinking to myself “who is going to buy-into this unique kind of band?” The way I dealt with this self-doubt was to compartmentalize it and simply not dwell. My incentive was that I HAD to make Sax Appeal a reality since there was no way I would ever go back to working governmental contracts again. I started gaining confidence in the fact that I alone knew what I was offering better than anyone else in the world. Plus, hiring some of the best musicians in town, I knew the music quality to be second to none. Having complete and utter confidence in what I offered allowed me to exude genuine self-assurance that was easy for everyone to see. This alone was half the battle for learning networking skills since people have an uncanny knack for ‘seeing through fake’.

Another way I treated networking was to follow-up with every single person I met ASAP (something that I continue do to this day). I realized that almost no one is ever going to need my services at that exact moment, so in effect, I was purposely developing a long-term strategy so that when others need music, they would think about that sax guy with the fedora.

Like most people, I spent many hours drafting a 30 second elevator pitch and used to carry it around with me in my pocket. After the first few dozen networking events or so, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to turn every first greeting into a robotic ‘sales-pitch’. The more I listened to other people talk, the more it enabled me to ask questions. It was not until well after the first year of attending networking events in Ottawa did I realize the value of letting other people talk.

I quickly realized that the best form of marketing was face-to-face. Sure I use a ton of social media exposure, but nothing will ever compare to chatting in person, observing body language and developing a genuine connection with someone.

When I was in New York a few years ago and wanted to visit one of the most well-respected concert halls in the world I asked someone on the street how to get to Carnegie Hall. They replied practice, practice, practice. The same goes for networking events. Keep at it and you’ll get better and better.

Happy networking, and best wishes for all your business success!

Jarrod Goldsmith

Founder of eSAX and Sax Appeal

Ottawa eSAX Networking Recap: July 2014

Welcome to eSAX Ottawa Networking

Welcome to eSAX Networking in Ottawa! Grab your swag bag and get ready to meet some great people!

Can you believe we are only 11 weeks away from the next eSAX event?

This definitely makes me want to slow down and enjoy the summer, but let’s take a moment to reflect on the amazing event that Jarrod and the eSAX sponsors held this past July 9th!

The event was once again held at Funhaven. It is a convenient location 1050 Baxter Road right off the 417 Queensway when going toward Kanata. There isn’t much parking around the building, but luckily it is right next to the HUGE Ikea parking lot, and our friends from East Coast Limos were there to pick up anyone that parks in Lot E and shuttles them right to the door in style! Groups of friends could have fun in the limo, or singles could get prepared to make their first connections of the night in the form of their fellow passengers!

Bird's Eye Marketing Sponsor Booth at eSAX Networking Ottawa

David Bird discussing marketing analytics at his sponsor booth for Bird’s Eye Marketing

You wouldn’t guess it from the name or huge smiley face on the outside, but Funhaven is a great facility and 3500 square foot event center. You enter the building and walk through the room full of games (including Race Cars, Dance Dance Revolution, Bumper Cars, and Bowling) and you go back to the corner room to find the actual hub of the eSAX networking event. The room always looks elegant, and when you combine the looks with the smooth tunes coming from Sax Appeal you really feel like you’ve entered a very high-quality event.

I didn’t want this to just be a review of eSAX though, I wanted to run down what you can expect, so that any new entrepreneurs wondering if they should attend this Ottawa networking event can get a good idea of what goes on at eSAX. To begin, you walk down the red carpet and stop at the front desk and the Accountapotamus team will check your name off the list if you have pre-registered, or you go ahead and pay the at-the-door admission price. Then you are handed a program (printed by the wonderful Sure Print), a swag bag (from BFD), a $5 reloadable Funhaven game card, and this time we even got a ticket for a glass of wine courtesy of Barefoot Wine! Don’t forget to put your business card in the bowl for a chance to win a door prize, and then pick up your nametag so everyone knows who you are.

Your first hour and a half is spent wandering the room while you meet new people, check out the sponsor booths, and read the live tweets (and join in using #eSAX) that are displayed on the big screens thanks to Dynamix Productions. You’ll also undoubtedly end up in the Flashpoint Photo Booth because those folks love getting people behind their camera (especially if they can get you to wear a funny hat – the chicken hat is a favorite). They not only give you a complimentary print of your photo, but they also give you a code to go online and download it. It’s little things like these that make the eSAX sponsors so great.

Networking in Action at Ottawa's own eSAX Networking event!

Networking in action at Ottawa’s own eSAX Networking event!

While we are on the topic of sponsors lets not forget the booth sponsors. When you walk the perimeter of the room we have many friendly sponsors ready to discuss with you not only their products and services, but also life as an entrepreneur. If you are nervous about approaching someone, you can bet a booth sponsor will be glad to talk to you. You have an automatic conversation starter, since you can look at their table and see what their business is, so you can jump right in. Then feel free to ask them if they know anyone you should meet. Speaking of people who can direct you to people you should meet, make sure you meet Jarrod! He is the founder of the eSAX Ottawa networking events and he is a genuinely helpful and personable guy. Find him (in his trademark fedora), introduce yourself, and guaranteed he will introduce you to someone new!

About halfway through the event the chairs started to come out. This was great because they weren’t in the way while people were networking, but by that time I think lots of people (including myself) were ready to take a seat and enjoy the speakers. The master of ceremonies was once again Dylan Black of Boom 99.7 FM. He has such a great voice and is so great at warming the room up. He brought up the first speaker, Julie Clement from the Nepean Chamber of Commerce, who spoke about the great things the chamber does to support local business. She also announced to us that Nepean and West Ottawa would be merging into one organization to better support the community!

Door Prizes and top Twitter Influencer Prizes at eSAX Networking Ottawa

Dylan announces the winners of the door prizes and the top Twitter influencer prizes!

Following Julie was Adam Dufresne (formerly of Breakthrough Coach, now Rhapsody Strategies). Adam regularly coaches entrepreneurs, and he is familiar with the challenges that we face. At this event he came out with a jar of honey, and used it as a visualization tool as he explained that it takes visiting over 2 million flowers for bees to make that much product. As entrepreneurs we need to take the term “busy bees” to heart and model our own efforts after them. He also encouraged everyone to find someone they don’t already know and set up a coffee meeting with them so we would be sure to walk out of there with a follow-up ready to go (and I took this advice and met with Alicia of Spire Design the very next morning!)

Finally, Carlo Lombard of Start Talking Video took the stage. I’d heard great things about his video workshops, and his 10 minutes on stage proved why. He shocked the room by informing us that YouTube was now the #1 search engine, and then he had everyone switch smartphones, set to video, and each record a 15-second clip. He also reminded us that as enthusiastic as we think we are, we have to take it up a notch, but he proved that creating video content is within all of our capabilities.

After the presentations all of the speakers went up and opened the floor for some Q&A. After the quick Q&A it was time for prizes! In addition to the door prizes that were drawn from the business cards left in the fishbowl up front, there were also two prizes awarded to the top eSAX Twitter influencers at the event! The interactions had been monitored by Speak Easy (@Syncrodata) all night and they determined that the top influencers were Creative eQuilibria (@ceQuilibria) and Suddcorp Solutions (@Suddcorp). Congrats, and thanks for helping eSAX to trend!

Another great entrepreneurial networking eSAX event in Ottawa!

Jarrod wishes everyone goodnight as they leave the event.

The rest of the night is for making more connections and enjoying the music (from sponsor Helena Guzman Design). This is a great time to look around and see who you haven’t met yet that you might like to. This networking event isn’t just for Ottawa entrepreneurs, people from all over stop by (such as Ottawa native and nationally renowned magician Jaymes White, who may or may not be able to read minds, but I’m a believer after the demonstration I observed)! We also get many community leaders that drop by to meet new entrepreneurs, such as Sohrab Mohammad (from BDC), Greg Weatherdon (from Invest Ottawa & West Ottawa Board of Trade),  Denis Aubin (OSEB Consultant), Jacqueline Richards (Financial Wellness Coach), and Shawn MacDonell (from Creativision) – just to name a FEW! There are so many great people to talk to at an eSAX networking event, and it’s such a great opportunity to pick the brains of others that are so willing to offer advice. In total there were over 185 people at this event, and each one keeps getting bigger and better!

Registration for the October eSAX Ottawa Networking Event is already available. Make sure to purchase now to take advantage of pre-registration savings.

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB). Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Writing and photos by Jessica of Hewett Ripley Communications. All opinions are my own and I am not a paid contributor. For more photos of the event, visit the “Past Event” page, which includes some professional photos from East Coast Limos

Do you have a blog recap or review about your time at eSAX? We would love to include the links here! Just email them to info@eSAX.ca and they will be added to the Event Page!

eSAX Networking Ottawa: Wed, July 9, 2014

Thank You to all of the event organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees that made this event a great success! We had over 185 Ottawa Networkers in attendance, and can only imagine how many great connections were made.

This event was held on Wednesday, July 9 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Fun Haven (150 Baxter Road, Ottawa, Ontario – Near IKEA). The event featured:

Note: Advance ticket sales close at 12:00 (noon) on Tuesday, the night before the event. Special pricing is available to all CURRENT participants enrolled in the OSEB program (i.e., your 42 weeks are STILL in effect).

Ottawa eSAX Networking Event Photos

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From the Community:
Recaps, Reviews, and Testimonials

July 2014 eSAX Networking Recap from Jessica of Hewett Ripley Communications

Suddcorp Solutions Shares their Impressions of their First eSAX Networking Experience

Do you have any photos, blogs, or videos about your time at this event that you would like to share? Email them (or send links to them) to info@esax.ca and we will link to you!

Share that you are attended!

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months (January, April, July, and October) to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB). Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.