Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Entrepreneurial Diet for Business Success



Regardless of the dietary plan you choose to follow, you should choose to adhere to the following tips to improve your mood, memory and drive.

With more than 100,000 papers published on nutrition in the peer-reviewed medical literature each year, it’s hard to keep up. And for every positive effect, there was a reported negative one, or a case study showing an adverse response to the plan. One minute, scientists say carbs are bad; the next they proclaim that carbs are good.

Any meal plan must be personalized to ensure we each have the energy we need to not just feel good but feel great, and have the energy to pursue our goals and navigate this minefield called life. This personalization will increase the likelihood of successfully following the plan and eating in a way that benefits us.

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But regardless of the dietary protocol you choose, to improve mood, memory and drive, the following are a few key factors that must be included and then tweaked to match your individual response to various foods:

Remove sugar and processed food from your diet.

This will help rid the body and brain of toxins and inflammation.

Eat foods that increase your microbiome’s diversity.

This includes fermented foods that populate your gut with healthy bacteria (e.g., pickles, kimchi, unprocessed yogurt, and kombucha). These foods are rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics feed probiotics and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria. Prebiotic fiber is a type of carbohydrate that we do not digest, but our gut bacteria thrive on and you can supplement your diet with a prebiotic fiber. This has been particularly useful in curbing my afternoon cravings -- I no longer experience a mid-afternoon crash as a result, and it helps me maintain my weight by preventing me from snacking too much.

Eliminate foods that cause you discomfort.

includes any food you’re sensitive to that causes constipation, diarrhea, sluggishness, brain fog, headaches, fatigue or mood changes. For greater insight, have a food sensitivity test done.

Repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria.

You can do this by consuming the right kind of probiotics.

Fuel up with fats.

This can help curb your cravings and reduce the midafternoon energy slump.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods.

This includes green leafy vegetables, beets, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, celery, chia seeds, coconut oil, flaxseed, ginger, pineapple, salmon, turmeric, and walnuts. Exclude any foods that cause you sensitivity.

Eat diverse organic fruits and vegetables.

This will increase microbi­ome diversity and promote overall gut health.

Drink filtered water.

Much is still unknown about the impact chemicals like chlorine can have on our delicate gut microbiome. Filtration is crucial regardless of where you live to prevent unnecessary exposure to toxins from rusty pipes or compromised water supplies.

Switch trans fats and vegetable oils for olive, avocado or grapeseed oil.

One study found the participants who took in the most trans fats increased their risk of depression by 48 percent. Trans fats are often hidden in highly processed foods at the supermarket and used to deep fry food at various fast-food chains.

Consume more omega-3 and less omega-6.

Both are essential fatty acids important for good health, but we need them in the right balance to help protect our joints, pancreas, heart, skin and mood stability. Too much omega-6, which we consume in corn and vegetable oils, can cause the body to retain water and raise blood pressure, which could lead to blood clots, thus raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Consume foods with antifungal properties.

This includes cayenne pep­per, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, lemons, limes, olive oil, onions, pumpkin seeds and rutabaga to help fight off bad gut bacteria. Don’t consume any foods that you’re sensitive or allergic to. Find substitutes that work for you.

Keep activated charcoal on hand.

Activated charcoal can assist by binding itself to toxins, which are then excreted by the body. Activated charcoal has been used for years in emergency rooms for certain kinds of poisoning, including alcohol. It helps prevent the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. It can also assist with gas, bloating and even lowering cholesterol.

Practice intermittent fasting (IF).

It’s widely reported that IF is effective for weight loss, inflammation reduction and boosting brain power by increasing ketones. It’s a pattern of eating, not a diet. It doesn’t change what you eat so much as when you eat. Instead of consuming food all day long, you eat within a set window of time. The most popular protocol is to eat for eight hours per day and fast for 16. According to Mark Mattson, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, fasting has been shown to increase rates of neurogen­esis (the growth and development of new brain cells and nerve tissues) in the brain. Higher rates of neurogenesis are linked to increased brain performance, memory, mood and focus. It has also been shown to boost production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is considered “Miracle-Gro for your brain” and plays a role in neuroplasticity, which makes your brain more resilient to stress and adaptable to change.

By following these easy-to-apply guidelines, you’ll begin to notice a significant change in your energy levels, as well as your mental clarity.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/
Image credit: Rawpixel | Getty Images



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Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Solving My Dumbest Life Problems Was the Key to Figuring Out My Biggest Business Issues



The bootlaces had a will of their own.

Each time I pulled my shoestrings, the bunny ears morphed into a gnarled, knotted snake that took an extra two minutes of picking and muted cussing to tame. You might call it a first world problem. But this was my personal hydra.

Then there was the unscalable rock wall I’d been attempting for a year. I’d get 12 feet above ground; but every time I hit the crux, I’d grope and paw for the next handhold till my Elvis-legs and cramped arms gave out, sending me plummeting to the sand below. Every flippin’ time.

And no matter how hungry I got or how much food I bought at the store, I never had a meal when I really needed it. I practically had to take out a second mortgage with the Thai tab I racked up each month.

The frustration of being unable to solve my most basic problems made me feel like I couldn’t solve any problem. And this was the state I found myself in before the longest business lull of my life. It lasted nearly a year.

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My problem was dead simple: sales had slowed to a torpor.
This made the solution as simple as trying new marketing avenues -- video, podcasts, etc. -- and shelling out a few bucks for paid advertising plus a little pro consulting. Five hundred bucks would have given me the clients I needed to not go prematurely gray from financial stress.

But this resolution, clear as it may have been to you or anyone else, was just as unclear to me as my shoelace problem...or my rock climbing crux...or my ever-gnawing stomach.

I had fallen entirely out of problem-solving mode.

For every niggling issue that went unresolved, there was a voice in the back of my head that told me I couldn’t save my business. And as long as I neglected the former, the latter proved to be true.

So when I tell you that learning how to untie my shoelaces helped me solve my long standing business problem -- don’t judge: you really don’t know about these shoelaces -- you know I’m telling the truth.

Learning how to untie my shoelaces.

I wish I could tell you that I had a brilliant satori and made a strategy for handling all of my problems, small and large. That I did it right. But I didn’t do it right.

I only came back into problem solving after I exceeded my frustration threshold.

One day, after months of mentally screaming, “WTF is wrong with these shoelaces?!” my rage boiled over and I did something different, pulling apart both laces simultaneously (as opposed to pulling just one end, as is usually sufficient for any non-godforsaken shoelace). My three-month problem was solved in an instant.

That small victory put my problem-solving gears in motion.

The next day I was hitting up my usual rock climbing routes when I approached the unsolvable bouldering problem. But instead of looking at it as impossible, as I’d done the year before, I went through every potential handhold combo before I climbed, settled on the one that seemed logical, saw myself doing it beforehand and completed it on the first go. Voila! Didn’t even break a sweat. 

The day after that I woke up hungry and immediately took a couple hours to meal-prep, which solved my food problem. I didn’t even have to think about it. Suddenly, the things that seemed impossible for an entire year were now nothing more than “duhs” because I had my problem-solving mindset back. Because I learned how to untie my shoelaces.

I fixed my sales problem that week.

How you can get your problem-solving attitude back by prioritizing your small problems. 

If you’ve been dealing with some long-standing problems and it’s taking a toll on your confidence and finances, recognize that it’s not just your major issues, here. It’s a pastiche of stupid little problems (SLPs), like crazy shoelaces, that have bumped you out of problem solving mode.

I hope your SLPs aren’t as dumb as mine, but that’s beside the point. They need to be solved if you want to get your problem-solving attitude back and fix the issues that actually matter.


Time to brainstorm

All you have to do is take an hour to yourself and brainstorm all of your SLPs -- the dumb, dumber and dumbest alike. Mentally walk yourself through a day and look for the stubbed toes, spilt coffees and all the other piddling nuisances that frustrate you but which you could easily solve if you made up your mind to. Then write down every one, no matter how dumb it seems.

Some people will find it difficult to instantly bring to mind all this minutiae. If that’s you, create a ‘SLPs’ note tab in your smartphone and start writing out these minor frustrations as they occur in a day.

Once you’ve gotten clarity on your SLPs -- make sure to write them out in a list -- the next step is to brainstorm resolutions for each. Devote a couple minutes to each issue and find the solutions -- they exist! Then handle them.

It’s that easy.

Solving these SLPs will train your brain to persist when you encounter a roadblock and not automatically give up. Even just a day of knocking out the stupid stuff and you’ll notice that your biggest issues in life start handling themselves. That’s what happens when you’re in problem solving mode.




Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Caiaimage | Chris Cross | Getty Images

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Infographic: 100 Free Marketing Tools For Growing Your Small Business



A comprehensive list of the best free marketing tools for small business:




Source: https://www.theselfemployed.com

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

How to Not Be a Starving and Stressed Business Owner


Running a business is awesome, but it can present some problems in the area of personal finance if you’re not prepared. The great thing about owning your own business is that you get to set your own schedule, you can work from home, and you have the autonomy to make your own career decisions. However, if you don’t have your finances under control, running your business full-time can wreak havoc on your wallet.

Ultimately, freedom is great, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your financial security and sanity. Not only is being a starving business owner detrimental to you, it’s also difficult to do your best work when you’re “just making ends meet” and constantly stressed.

Here’s how to bust out of the starving and stressed business owner cycle:

Stop Hustling Already

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get sick of the word hustling. Hustling is a short-term game, it’s not a long-term game. Some people enjoy the thrill of hustling morning, noon, and night, and they can keep up the pace forever.

If you’re trying to build a business that gives you a certain amount of freedom and a less stressful lifestyle, you need to be thinking long-term growth instead of focusing on just getting by from month to month. For example, yes, you may be making $3,000 per month working for 15 clients. Is that a full-time income? Yes. Is it sustainable? Maybe not.

It may be time to rethink the strategy instead of working 100 hours a week. You could charge more per client to reduce your workload and increase your income. You could also think of other passive ways to make money through products. This makes it so you have multiple streams of income coming in, and you’re not relying solely on your own manpower to make money.

Start Asking (Because Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed)

I expect to increase income by close to 50% this year without adding new clients to my roster. It’s not because I’m a magician either. Instead, I grew relationships with current clients. Making good impressions and doing good work leads to increased responsibility and plenty of referrals.

Analyze what’s working and not working for your clients to find out if they have a need you can fulfill. Pitch an additional product or service. You can also simply tell your clients you’re looking for more work. They may have jobs for you, or their friends may have jobs for you.

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Stand Up for Yourself

I’m someone who prefers not to ruffle feathers, and this hasn’t served me well in the past. I felt bad asking for people to pay me when I had done a service for them. This was terrible for my cash flow.

Remember — you’re running a business. You should be kind and courteous, but you also have every right to stand up for yourself. Send out invoices and follow up on payments regularly. Set prices for your services and stick to them. Say no to work that pays poorly so you can find work that pays well.

Come Up With a Money Plan

When the money is under control other pieces of your business can fall into place. Getting my business finances organized improved my personal finances. When the money stress was off of my shoulders, I felt positive about my business and it started to grow. It’s all connected.


Make sure you have a separate business account and pay yourself from this account. Set aside money for taxes, business expenses, and other business goals. I have an entire suite of accounts with Capital One that’s made managing my business money super simple.

Struggling and stressing can be challenging for your mindset. Commit to making small changes where you can. Look at your highest paying clients and try to get more of them so you can cut ties with lower paying ones. Stand up for your business interests and get ahold of your money situation to thrive instead of struggle.






Source: https://www.business2community.com/
Image Credit: rawpixel / Pixabay


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

How the '3 Whys' Can Help You Find Purpose in Your Business


As part of my MBA program, I’m taking a class on entrepreneurship. It’s been interesting, mostly because there’s a lot of content that seems familiar because I’ve been running a business for more than a decade. But, it’s also been a good reminder.

One of the items we’re learning about is the importance of having a purpose in your business. Finding that purpose can keep you going when you’re feeling unmotivated, and it can help you innovate and move forward when you’re stuck.

As you dig down to find purpose in your business, one strategy is to use the “three whys” to help direct your thoughts. Once you go through this exercise, you’ll have a better idea of how to hone in on your purpose. You’ll have a better focus for growing your business, and a mission that will keep you -- and your customers -- excited about your business.


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Using the “three whys” to pinpoint your purpose

Using the “three whys” is about getting to the heart of the purpose in your business. You start by asking yourself why you’re starting the business you start. For example, I might focus on my freelancing business.

Why am I starting a freelancing business?

That first question forces me to ask why I’m starting. So, I answer with: “So I can earn money while working from home.”

Next, you drill down deeper, asking the second why. “Why do you want to earn money while working from home?”

The answer to that question, for me, was, “To be able to spend more time with my son and be available for him while still paying the bills.”

So, now we’re getting somewhere specific and concrete.

The third why is, of course, why I want to spend time with my son while being able to pay the bills.

And my answer is that I want to have a good, meaningful relationship with my son while maintaining the financial stability that allows us to focus on our relationship.

This exercise can work for any number of businesses. You can use the “three whys” to follow your line of reasoning for making more money, helping others with your product or service, or any number of things.

Once you get to your third why, you have a good idea of your purpose, and you can focus on that.

Staying motivated by your business purpose
With the “three whys” helping you, it’s possible to stay motivated by the purpose in your business. Because I started freelancing to maintain a better relationship with my son, I’ve found it helps me stay motivated. When times were tough, or I didn’t feel like doing the work, being able to point to my son and our relationship helped me stay focused on motivated.

The freelance lifestyle gives me freedom and flexibility to spend time making memories with my son. On top of that, it also allows me time to volunteer in my community and engage in other meaningful activities. By staying focused on the way my business enhances my life -- and allows me the chance to enhance the lives of those around me -- I can stay motivated.

Find that for your business. When you know you have purpose and you’re fulfilling it, it’s that much easier to stick through the hard times and achieve success.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

New Year, New You? How To Get Your Business In Shape For 2019


What are your New Year resolutions for 2019? If you’ve set yourself personal goals, good luck with them, but don’t forget your business – January is a great time to reassess where is stands and where you’d like to get it to.

Every entrepreneur should give their business an annual health check. It’s an opportunity to take a step back, to reflect on successes and failures, and to focus anew on the challenges to come. Treat this exercise seriously and it will provide an invaluable spring board for the year ahead. Here’s our 10-step action plan:


  1. Revisit your mission plan – set a clear vision of where you hope your business is heading over the months and years ahead; is that vision evolving over time as your marketplace and environment change?
  2. Set targets for the journey – think about the goals you must achieve in order to realise that vision, and how you will do that. Be realistic with your targets, but be ambitious too, and set definitive dates on which you will measure progress.
  3. Review your customer base – identify your most valuable customers and think about how you can focus on them over the year ahead. Data and analytics tools can help you do this more effectively than ever before.
  4. Re-evaluate business partnerships – are the relationships your business has put in place still working well for the company? Are there new relationships to target for development?
  5. Rethink marketing - your marketing plans may need revisiting in the changing economic environment. Can you encourage existing customers to spend more and how will you attract new customers? How could advances in digital marketing benefit your business?
  6. Set new targets for sales – what is achievable in 2019, compared to years gone by, and how will you get there? Do your and your staff have realistic objectives?
  7. Write an action plan – this will lay out the specific actions your business will take over the year ahead, including when you’ll take them, in order to work towards its goals and vision.
  8. Make sure staff are on board – communicate the action plan to all employees and make sure they understand their responsibilities for implementing it. Support staff with training and career development in order to keep them engaged and inspired.
  9. Seek third-party advice – it may be worth finding an external reviewer to talk through your plans in order to provide fresh perspective and critical appraisal. Do you need a mentor or more formal support such as non-executive directors?
  10. Consider personal development – think about how your own practices and attitudes may need to change in order for your business to succeed. What skills and experiences are you lacking and how will you remedy that?


Don’t think of these 10 points as New Year’s resolutions – they represent a useful way to take stock at any time of year. But if you can work through these priorities, your business will be better placed to take advantage of new opportunities over the next 12 months. And in a rapidly changing economic environment, all businesses should be thinking in this way.







Source: https://www.forbes.com
Image Credit: Getty


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Modern Sales and the Lost Art of Relationship Building


The sales industry seems to experience major shifts every five or ten years. Many of these shifts are the result of the way technology changes. Others have to do with cultural ebbs and flows. But one of the more confounding changes over the last decade has been the lack of personal attention clients and prospects get in sales.


Why Relationships Matter

Over the years we’ve seen an influx of sales and marketing automation tools in the business world. The result? If there’s an aspect of your sales strategy that you want to streamline, there’s an app, software, or innovative tool to help you remove yourself from the equation and automate your interactions. But is this a positive development?

Sometimes automation is good. It can save time, improve accuracy, and promote greater consistency. But too much automation can hurt the overall health and vitality of your business. That’s because automation undercuts and compromises your ability to connect with prospects on a personal level and build relationships with them.

Customers are people. And what do people care about? If we’re being honest, we’re all looking out for numero uno: ourselves. We spend almost every second of every day thinking about how we can make ourselves comfortable, happy, healthy, or secure. Nearly every decision we make is a decision to put ourselves first.

This “me-centric” mentality may seem overly selfish, but it’s a part of natural selection and survival of the fittest. For millions of years, the animals that have survived the longest have been the ones that are capable of looking out for themselves. (The moment a small rodent loses focus in the vast expanse of the rainforest is the moment he’s eaten by larger, stronger prey. As soon as a soldier stops protecting himself in the line of battle, he gets a spear thrown through his chest, etc.)

We all care about ourselves – and that includes your sales prospects and clients. And if you want to appease this fundamental element of humanity, you have to make the person on the other end of the conversation feel special and important. You have to stroke their ego.

Relationships appeal to our sense of importance and belongingness. When we perceive that others care about us, it validates and reaffirms the notion that we matter. In the business world, as in our personal lives, this plays a distinct role in how we make decisions.

4 Tips for Building Stronger Relationships in Sales

Jim Davidson is the founder of Coral Gables Trust Company. For years he’s worked closely with business owners and successful professionals and he’s noticed the most successful people are the ones who have the deepest relationships with their clients.

Davidson recalls a story some years ago when he went on a hunting trip to South Carolina with a handful of friends. One night, in the wee hours of the morning, one of his friend’s phone rang. It was a VIP client of his whose son had just been arrested on narcotics charges. The client was desperate, emotional, and in need of comfort. Davidson’s friend stayed on the phone with him for two hours.

This may seem like an extreme example, but it speaks volumes. This individual had built such a solid relationship with his client that he called him in his greatest time of need.

You don’t need relationships that are this deep, but you should strive to go deeper than surface level. Here are some ways you can strengthen your sales relationships:

1. Don’t Screw Up the First Meeting

“When you use traditional sales language, potential clients can’t help but label you with the negative stereotype of ‘salesperson.’ This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you from a position of trust,” entrepreneur Ari Galper writes.

Your first meeting with a prospect is often the most important. It sets the tone and establishes the first impression. But if you spend too much of this time focusing on a sales pitch, you’ll set the wrong tone. Instead, you need to foster a genuine connection.



2. Listen More Than You Speak

There will be times for you to talk, but these moments are much fewer and farther between than you probably realize. The majority – or at least half – of your time spent with prospects should be listening.

When you listen, you get the chance to see where people are coming from. They’ll tell you what they want and why they want it. This eliminates much of the back and forth guessing game that often exists in the traditional sales process.

3. Find Common Experiences

If you want your relationship with prospects to go beyond the product or solution you’re selling, then you need to find some common ground. Whether it’s sports, mutual friends, hobbies, or interests, common experiences will pull you together and strengthen your sales pitch. Over time, these elements give you something to rekindle the relationship with. They’re invaluable in the big picture.

4. Be Transparent

You can’t hold back in your relationships. There eventually comes a point where you may have to create some commotion or insert a little friction.

As a sales consultant, Warren Wick writes, “The deeper the conversations become, the more transparency you need to provide. Sometimes you will actually have to tell customers something they don’t want to hear. That’s OK. Like any relationship — sales or otherwise — honesty helps both sides grow.”

Giving Weight to Relationships

You have to stop selling and start building meaningful relationships with prospects and clients. The person on the other end of the phone, email, or dinner table is an individual with specific needs, wants, desires, and frustrations. As you get to know that person, you’ll become aware of what matters to the individual, which gives you an opportunity to build a strong relationship that’s predicated on real connections and ideas.

Now’s your chance to revamp your sales strategy and include action steps that prioritize relationship building. If you don’t, one of your competitors will.



Source: https://tweakyourbiz.com
Image Credit: Depositphotos



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Professional Networking That Will Power Your Startup


According to the last research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the secret ingredient that nurtures the entrepreneurial success of a startup ecosystem like Silicon Valley is informal professional networking.

When you are a startup founder, you’re on your own working 24/7 tackling the challenges of how to find investors, how to find a business partner, how to promote your project and how to team up with other talented hardworking fellows like yourself.  78% of business owners confirm that building a face-to-face network that will support you with guidance and advice is more important for growing a startup than accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces and other formal settings designed for progress facilitation.

So if you feel bad hanging out at costly events, rest assured, creating a professional network that you can tap into for assistance is the most valuable investment of your precious time to provide a smooth launch of your business.

What’s the best networking strategy?

To save your time so you can focus on core business functions, we have conducted a survey on professional networking and here is what successful founders say on how to build a network of power relationships.

The best professional networking strategy is as simple as the soul of genius, and it is not what you think. The key insight is before growing your network, make sure you’ve grown your business and trust of your customers. Business first! You can pump up your communication skills and have your pitch on point for a networking session, but if there’s no personal gain for your potential investor, it’s done in vain.

All founders of successful startups to mention iconic Facebook, What’s up, Apple and Dropbox focused on product development and raising clients’ credibility, spending just a fraction of that time seeking funding. Once they produced something of value, investors came to them flocking at every event they appeared. Sure you can’t do epic shit with basic people, so you build your surroundings to create the right state of mind, but that does not mean that if you befriend with accomplished people they would magically sprinkle success into your existence. Having a working product is a prerequisite for the investors to take an interest in your startup.

To maximize the benefits of a networking event here are some top tips that prove useful

For picking a networking event

Attending every event would do you more harm than good, so be savvy, not sorry. Align your professional networking strategy with your target result so that you have a well-defined clear goal when picking an event. The rule of thumb is to choose highly specialized activity-based events where you can engage in problem-solving work or discussion and reach your ultimate clients preferably as a speaker.

For developing communication skills

Frankly, you don’t need to attend 99% of the events, if you can have a blast at the rest of them. There is another open secret that 90% of people feel nervous when speaking in public, while the other 10% are just faking it out. Practice makes perfect, developing communication skills becomes imperative when you are faced with the challenge of being paralyzed by fear of public speaking.

An idea that the better half of the visitors are introverted newcomers will relieve your anxiety besides no one has ever answered “No” to a phrase “Can I introduce myself?”. Follow your introduction with open questions like “What brings you here?” “What challenges do you see for your company?” Listen more, talk less, be genuine, think what benefits you and your product can offer and you are a networking champion!




For building network

There is a huge scope of events such as conferences, meetups, networkings, pitches and hackathons which are mostly designed for making connections. TechCrunch Disrupt, AMBAR’s SVOD, WebSummit and Collision are among the most featured, crowded and intimidating. That’s why you should go there if you see a clear benefit and have enough time to get ready.

Focusing on your specific goal, make a list of attendees you would like to meet, including guests, speakers, exhibitors and local companies’ representatives. A month before the event write a message to make sure your potential acquaintances have time in their busy agenda to schedule a meeting with you. Talking about your business, make a real personal connection.

Don’t forget to take business cards it may seem old-fashioned, but this is the first thing that will remind of you when the event is over.

For pitching

Number one challenge for young entrepreneurs is funding, though it might be useful at early stage of your start-up to test your idea against the expectations of angel investors and market opportunities.

There is a number of events, where you can pitch such as PechaKucha, Participant driven Open space, PitchNight, though you should not expect it to work right the first time at these seemingly directly relevant events. Pitching works better through warm calling. A clever move would be instead of approaching investors to connect with their investment portfolio companies and ask them for an introduction. –°hasing your business angels, jumping around to every event, does not make any sense unless you have something worth investing.

The worth of your business when you seek outside funding is determined mainly by customer lifetime value. CLV is the borderline between success and failure. At the end of the day, it’s not the business idea but facts and figures mere metrics you can captivate and inspire investors with. So, when you make your pitch don’t forget to back it up with KPI’s.

For aspiration and mentoring support

The other key challenge for a young entrepreneur is a fear of failure and lack of mentoring support. Navigating through an array of obstacles such as regulatory compliance, lack of financing, promotion and talent acquisition issues, it’s easy to get discouraged. Networking groups like MXify and various meetups are places where you can get connected with fellow entrepreneurs in a casual environment and power up with encouragement and advice.

There are more than 10000 meetup groups with 4 million high-end professional members starting from web-developers and engineers and ending with security analysts and neuro-hackers. The strongest group in the east is NY Tech Meetup with about 50 thousand members and Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs & Startups with about 25 thousand members respectively. Provided you come up with the right questions, it will be the perfect place to engage in beneficial and insightful discussions with top experts.

For hiring

To some degree tech meetups and hackathons could also be used as a talent acquisition source, since there you can observe visitors working on a specific problem and assess their competencies based on what they have accomplished. Don’t forget to check career history for relevant expertise in similar projects and add your potential candidates to your LinkedIn or other social networks. If it’s an immediate opening for top-notch specialists, turn to a hiring service which already built a strong professional network of leading specialists and can help you choose an employee with the right expertise.

Conclusion

Whatever your goal is, the basic idea behind building a strong professional network is quality supersedes quantity. Be savvy, not sorry, and remember, everybody knows somebody. Nurture relationships with your peers and they will be happy to introduce you to their partners and investors.



Source: https://tweakyourbiz.com
Image Credit: DepositPhotos


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Join WNFP Communities!

Friday, January 18, 2019

When Networking in a Big Room Scares You… Change the Game


Recently, I informally asked 25 professionals at different stages of their careers to share their thoughts on networking.

In every case, the word itself elicited a sigh, groan or eye roll, and a story about fears of being in a large room with a lot of strangers. Networking to build your personal brand is different.

  • It has specific purpose – a means to achieve your reason for action
  • It should be tightly targeted to the right individuals – those in your stakeholder plan.
  • And it can be done only in environments where your value proposition can shine. It doesn’t have to be done in a big room with strangers if that’s not your happy place.


Let’s talk about three tips for networking

First, before casting your net wide, establish your own personal Board of Directors. This is no more than 5 individuals who can help steward your brand and both spark and direct your networking. Your board is made up of:

  • A few connectors (those that make introductions).
  • A mentor who may be a technical expert and knows your space.
  • And a peer-level individual who can serve as your reality check without competing with you.


Second, know your ask. Knowing what you stand for and what you need makes it easier to engage and network.



Example: Hi, I am an investor relations professional developing a specialty in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Would you be willing to spend 30 minutes sharing your perspectives on ESG?

Asking is uncomfortable because it puts us into a potentially vulnerable spot. A recent book about networking and influence said it well, “Ask for what you want. Be specific. Give other people the opportunity to say yes.”

Finally, engage in a comfortable and authentic way. If that is engaging 1-1 through introductions from your personal board of directors, that is great. If it is forming your own small group breakfast discussions. By all means.

Our investor relations professional may never need to step foot into a large meeting again if he is successful connecting 1-on-1 with chief financial officers and other investor relations professionals as part of his ESG learnings.

These are three ways to help you change your game around networking and focus it on building your personal brand and achieving your reason for action.



Source: https://www.business2community.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Networking Is Not About You: Lessons From Experience


Karen Wickre, a former colleague and communications professional who is known for shaping the voice of Google, recently released her book, Taking the Work out of Networking. In it, she lays out strategies to help introverts network in ways that feel natural to them. While I’m by no means an introvert, this did get me thinking about my own experience networking.

There is no doubt that networks are powerful tools, and more often young professionals are being told to network as if it is an obligation of their career. Technology platforms have been created to help people network better. Companies now even dedicate time and events purely for networking purposes. Part of this is positive because it recognizes the value of building new relationships, but part of it is also negative because it makes it easier to lose sight of what networking really is.

At its core, networking is making a meaningful and valuable connection at multiple levels, including with the individuals networking and within the greater ecosystem they belong to. In other words, networking isn’t just about you. To see it that way is shortsighted, in my opinion, and it also adds an unnecessary amount of pressure to an activity that already makes many uncomfortable.

The community connection, to me, is the definition of successful networking. To achieve it, I like to remind myself of three main principles I’ve learned along the way.

Your Network Is Not A Utility

It’s easy to want to network for a short-term end goal, to want the time you put into networking to always result in something of benefit or usefulness to you. But that won’t always be the case, and networking is that much more enjoyable when it’s a little unintentional and for the purpose of making a connection at that moment in time, rather than for some sought-after return. Networking should be authentic because it should be a natural extension of your own genuine interest, instead of something more purposeful.

I started returning to my alma mater, USC, as a guest lecturer because I wanted to give back to a place that gave me great memories and a good education. In the process of getting involved again, I was invited to give more talks about my entrepreneurial journey, which in turn lead to students learning about my company. The talks were not intended to be a recruitment channel, I was just there to talk about my career path, but in the end, it resulted in dozens of applicants to my company, many of whom became valued employees.




The Network Is An Ecosystem

The traditional (and perhaps easy) way of thinking about networking is to focus on the development of one-on-one relationships. I think there’s a better way to think about it, and that’s by taking a step back and recognizing that networks are really ecosystems. Consider the ecosystem approach many tech firms use, which means developing technology and business models that benefit all participants in the ecosystem. I believe in approaching your networks in the same way, where your role is really to share information, create opportunities and support others in ways that make the ecosystem you’re in that much stronger.

Earlier this year, I connected a friend working at HGTV with a real estate entrepreneur. I knew that one was writing shows for HGTV and the other had a fascinating story to tell about improving communities at a very local level. My goal was to hopefully add value to both of them, and it was one of those serendipitous opportunities that turned into a big career move for both of them — the new show "Fearless Fix."

Your Network Is Your Community

Networking can often take on the stigma of being very transactional, and I’ve both heard and complained myself about it being a “chore.” But a shift in perspective can make networking feel like a much more inspiring activity. I like to remind myself that my network is a community that I’m building and that I should take ownership of this community. By that, I mean that I should maintain it and give back to it without expecting anything specific in return. The danger of thinking transactionally is that it is a shortsighted way of networking and may ultimately lead to a more limited network. A community, on the other hand, lasts a long time and will come together for you at surprising moments.

The thing to remember is that networking doesn’t always have to mean something, and it certainly shouldn’t be an instant sales pitch. You may simply be motivated to stay in touch or connect with someone due to a shared interest or experience — do that, and let the result surprise you.

I’ve learned that it’s not about networking, the verb, but rather your network, the noun, and how to grow, expand and nurture it in a way that benefits not just yourself but the other participants as well. It’s a difference in angle, but by looking at your network from above rather than out from the center, you’ll be able to give more to your network while also gaining more from it.



Source: https://www.forbes.com
Image Credit: Getty


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Networking for Small Business Owners


Networking for small business owners is imperative to make vital connections to grow your company. Interacting with potential investors, business partners or clients will help you form loyal and trusting relationships and open up new opportunities.

The biggest roadblock that prevents small business owners from networking is lack of time—it’s difficult to carve-out hours to attend an event or a conference when you are practically living at the office. However, networking should not be ignored—with these tips, you can achieve this goal.


Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media platform designed to connect professionals in virtually any industry. They currently have over 500 million members in over 200 countries around the world. The first step to using this site is to create a personal account with your photo and contact information. You should add details about your business so that when you communicate with other members, they are able to easily find what company you own.

You can also create a business page showcasing your business on LinkedIn. If you connect your email account, you will automatically be able to add your contacts. You can also search for contacts via their name or company they work for.

LinkedIn transformed the networking world by allowing users to create groups by interest or industry, where you can find like-minded entrepreneurs or clients without leaving your home or office. You can also join professional groups and ask questions to get help in growing your business.





Host a Meet & Greet

Devoting time to networking can be especially productive if you combine it with other goals, such as brand recognition and connecting with new customers. A great way to do all three is to host a meet & greet inside your business if it has a physical location.

Start with inviting other small business owners either in your niche or simply in your area. This will be a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs, bounce ideas off each other and learn new tips on improving your business operations.

To make sure that everyone interacts and has a good time, plan some activities, such as icebreakers or fun games. Make sure the attendees have enough room to mingle and get to know one another. Facilitate interaction by setting up small tables where attendees can congregate, but encourage everyone to move around the room.

This will not only connect you with other like-minded professionals but also expose your business and products to possible new customers.


Cross-Promotion

If your goal is to network with potential customers, a highly effective way to do so is cross-promotion strategies. Partner with another business, preferably not in your industry so as to avoid competition. You can work together to promote each other’s brands on collaborative materials.

This can be as simple as leaving flyers or coupons in each other’s locations, or as complex as creating a marketing plan to promote both brands. For example, think of world-known companies such as T-Mobile and Netflix offering their services in a joint plan.


By joining another company in your networking efforts, you can expose your brand to a brand new customer base and decrease your marketing and advertising costs.


Source: https://www.business2community.com
Image Credit: TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

3 Networking Tips for Introverted Business Leaders


If you want to be a successful business owner, there’s really no way around it: you have to learn how to network. It’s the most efficient way to learn about business, meet other professionals with similar goals, and build valuable connections that may come in handy down the road.

But what if you’re an introverted business leader? If that’s the case, the thought of having to network with complete strangers can leave you feeling stressed, anxiety-ridden, and unwilling to attend. But if you want to gain knowledge and expand your business potential, you have to come up with ways to cope with a crowded atmosphere.

According to Forbes Insights, eight out of 10 executives believe face-to-face communication is essential in building professional, profitable relationships, so it’s important to make networking part of your regular business strategy.

Just because you’re an introverted business owner doesn’t mean you aren’t suited for entrepreneurial life. This is who you are and the sooner you accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to develop skills and strengths to work around it when you need to.

If you consider yourself an introverted business professional, here are three tips to help you network more efficiently.

1. Set actionable goals

You need to consider your goals when attending a networking event. If you walk in without a clue of what your plan is, you’re going to feel stressed out before you’ve spoken to a single person because you won’t know what to expect.

Make a list of small baby step goals you know you’ll be able to achieve. Be as specific as you can. You want to talk to eight new people? You want to trade business cards with 10 professionals? If a conference is three hours, you want to make it at least halfway through?

Whatever your goal is, stick to it. If you have multiple small goals, think of them as baby steps that will get you toward a bigger goal. For example, let’s say your big goal is to have a one-on-one discussion with a keynote speaker. Whenever you have to make small talk to introduce yourself to someone new, remind yourself that this baby step will help get you to your final big goal. That way, the smaller stuff doesn’t seem so intimidating.

The more you break up your goals into tiny, more achievable ones, the likelier you’ll be able to succeed at them.

2. Practice your elevator pitch

Sometimes called an ice breaker, your elevator pitch is a short spiel of basic information about who you are and what you do that you can rehearse prior to conferences for better delivery. Its delivery shouldn’t take longer than an elevator ride from top floor to bottom and its goal is to build connections, inquire about job opportunities, and learn more.

An elevator pitch usually includes these elements:


  • Your name
  • Your business title
  • The title/position you’re aiming to obtain
  • A valuable skill you possess
  • Asking or expressing interest for more information
  • Inquiring about the other person


For the best delivery, practice, practice, then practice some more. You don’t want to it come out like you’ve been rehearsing it because this will seem disingenuous; rather, you want it to flow and sound as natural as possible. This will help you come off as someone who genuinely wants to make professional connections.

Use conversational language and make your pitch natural by using enough body language and maintaining a fair amount of eye contact. Don’t use tacky sales terms or try too hard to be something you’re not. People can sense phoniness from a mile away. Be yourself, just a more confident, talkative version.


3. Ask questions

The good thing about being introverted and having to mingle with people is that you can use questions to deflect extra attention away from you and onto the other, more talkative person. Being a good listener is a vital skill to have when learning new things. What’s important is asking the right questions.

Think about your business goals. Consider the big picture and what you’d like to get better at, who you’d like to meet, or what experiences you’d like to hear about. Once you find professionals you believe could give you significant answers, you’ll not only feel more comfortable letting them speak, but you’ll learn something that could really benefit your career down the road.

Brainstorm your questions before you have to network. Think about what it is you want to know more about and seek out the right people to chat with for the most valuable insights.

What’s next

Having an introverted personality doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out to do business. There’s a place for everyone. What’s important is using your strengths to your advantage so that you’re able to blend into the conversation and learn just like everyone else. It’s important not to give up as soon as you see a crowd. Remember what you’ve practiced, keep your goals in mind, and ask the right questions.


With enough determination and practice, you should have a networking system that works for you. Don’t be scared to introduce yourself to people, ask for their contact information, or see what’s new with their company so you can learn from them. As business professionals, you’re all in the same boat trying to make connections. With a bit of confidence, you’ll be able to network like a pro.

Source: https://www.business2community.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!