If you are an entrepreneur, it’s a fact that you are constantly on the quest to find new ways to grow your business and make connections that will contribute to the growth of your small business.

Networking is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but if done right, it can take you a long way on your journey to establishing successful business relationships.

Successful entrepreneurs know that the lifeblood of their business is found in making the right connections.” Susan Rittscher

I’ve been to a few networking events for entrepreneurs myself, and one thing I have learned is that it takes more than an exchange of business cards to create a relationship that lasts.

I went to an aviation networking event with my significant other earlier this year. At this event, we interacted with roughly 20+ people. Everyone we came across handed us a business card, at the time it seemed like a great idea to put them all in one place to sort through later.  

When we got home we had a pile of business cards that we couldn’t use because we didn’t remember which belonged to who. All they were good for was for giving my boyfriend lessons about different papers and types of lamination. Of course, I’m fascinated by these things I work for an online printing company. 💁 

That’s the sad story of networking done wrong. As an entrepreneur, you already have a lot on your plate and you don’t want to waste hours like that.

You don’t want your business card in that pile, or worse, have the pile of cards and not remember which one belongs to the guy who was going to be a great customer or business acquaintance.

In an effort to help avoid such mistakes, I’ve come up with a few tips on networking for entrepreneurs that will help your efforts go a long way.



You have to go to events where you will meet the people relevant to your business’s growth. If you know the scope of the event you are going to, you can better prepare.

As an entrepreneur, you know that time is money. It is important that when you select the events that you will go to, you are sure they will feed your business and mind. Your social networking efforts should be strategic.

A great platform to help you is a website called Meetup. This will be helpful in giving you an idea of networking events coming up.


Know who you are targeting - Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

After you’ve researched the events that you are going to, it’s important to prepare for the event. Not all these events are structured in the same way, so you have to find out what the setup is like beforehand.

Some networking events start with guest speakers. One example of a networking event I’ve been to that is like this: startup grind. If the guest speaker is in the industry you are in, then it’s best to prepare some questions you would like answered.

Then there are events such as venture network pitch night which let you set up a stand to present your product. If you plan ahead you should be able to secure one. Once you’ve secured a stand the next step is getting your marketing collateral ready.

You want to make people come to your stand. You will need collateral such as an X- Banner or Pull-up bannerbusiness cards and a tablecloth to complete the look of your desk. One hack that always works to attract people to your desk is giving freebies.

Make a lasting impression

Coming to the event itself, you have to remember that you have to leave a lasting impression so you have to be on your A-game.

Remember, even though you are at a business event, part of the reason most people go to these events is to take a break from the everyday long business hours and some people work from home.

They came to both network and socialize so you have to bear that in mind. No one will remember you if you just talk about your business and give them a business card. People remember the guy with the funny stories who lit up the room.

It all starts with being relaxed. We all know that we can’t all be extroverts but it’s something you can fake for a couple of hours. There is alcohol at most of these events (something I like to call liquid courage), so have a glass if it helps you be social – body language speaks volumes.

Tips to help you appear more social:
  • Look the part – How you look speaks volumes, people will gravitate towards you if you look the part. Also, conversations which start with a compliment will boost your confidence.
  • Be approachable – There is a term used for people who don’t look approachable (in non-explicit terms) it’s called ‘I Would Prefer Not to Talk to You’ resting face. 
  • You are there to network so it means that people shouldn’t be afraid to approach you to start a conversation. Don’t stay on your phone and ice everyone out, making connections takes effort.
  • Make eye contact – This shows interest and confidence. The other person has to see that you are engaged.
  • Speak up – Don’t just stand in the circle and laugh make your own jokes as well, add to the conversation.

Group conversation

  • Listen –  Don’t be the one always dominating the conversation. It’s important that you give others an opportunity to talk as well, it’s very anti-social to not want to listen to what others have to say.

Exchange contact information

Business card exchange

Remember the dilemma I told you about earlier? Well, there are ways to do it right. It’s always advisable to have your business cards handy when you go to a networking event.

Make sure that your exchange the business card once you’ve had a meaningful conversation and when accepting one have a system to keep track. Don’t take cards that won’t be of use to you.

Your business card must stand out, you want a well-designed business card that will stand out from the rest. A great addition to the finishing would be soft-touch lamination, people love that.

If you are going to store people’s contact numbers on your phone, one thing that works for me is putting descriptions next to their names. I know it’s a funny thing to do but it works wonders.

Say you met Peter and he was wearing this red tie that you will never forget. Then this is how you would save him on your phone:

Name: Peter Milan (Red tie guy)

Also, put in a company name to remember. Names don’t usually stick the first time, however, if there is something that sticks out about someone add that next to the name. Just don’t tell them you are doing it.

Don’t just take – give as well

Like a boss - Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

You want to offer value to the other person, to ensure that they call you back. Offer something you think they might need back.

Instead of saying something like: “I would like to have dinner with you to talk about you investing in my project …”, go for something like: “I hear you are looking for someone to help with XYZ, I can / I know a guy that can do that. I’ll talk to him about your problem, call me on Monday”. 

These kinds of conversations will increase the likelihood of getting a callback and creating a meaningful relationship.

As my boss always says in business “You give, give, give and then take”

To conclude, the best networking hack for entrepreneurs is unforgettable. As an entrepreneur, you must dedicate time to strategically form meaningful networks. Networking is a skill that can be perfected over time – you just have to know how to do it right.

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