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Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs

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Workshop held at Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010.

Workshop held at Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010.

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  • Thanks Clint - I agree about having to be motivated to use your network to achieve the benefits it could bring to you.

    But http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/the-shy-connector provides a great idea how to network efficiently without being too extroverted. The challenge of ’Strategic Networking’ is mostly defining your needs (in terms of information, knowledge, resources and contacts/reach) and then identifying people who could help you solving these issues.

    The next logical step is to monitor if these relationships are actually up to the standard you want them to be, which is what Handy Elephant is doing - so another way for the individual to reach the stage of networking strategically.

    But you’re right, it can be way more efficient to just have a few other people in a venture who have an additional few hundred contacts - hopefully with a good amount of diversity to my own network.

    Best regards
    Benjamin F. Wirtz
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  • Pretty good break-down of a natural networker who enjoys living life and making connections. Sounds easy if you are that type but if not surround yourself with at least a few team members who are and success will follow.

    ~Clint
    @cazoomi
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    Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs Presentation Transcript

    • Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Do you have the right contacts?
    • Benjamin F. Wirtz
      • BSc Information Systems
      • Research project on social networks
      • MSc E-Business & Innovation
      • Business Idea: around supporting networkers
      • Dissertation: Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      • Distinction + best dissertation – while starting up
      • Now:
    • Many sales people get 80-90% of their business through networking organizations.
      A referral generates 80% more results than a cold call
      74% of all buying decisions are made on a friend’s recommendation
      Meeting 2-3 people at an event and learning more about their needs and challenges is far more valuable than collecting (or giving away) 20 business cards.
      About 70% of all jobs are found through networking
      Socially embedded employees are 40% less likely to quit their job.
    • The tale of two entrepreneurs
      • Normal vsStratNet
      • Table through stages
    • Overview
      • What to take away
      • Networking important for venture success
      • How to “plan” your social capital
      • How to put the plan into practice
      • Workshop (hands on!)
      • Analyse your goals and needs
      • Check if/how your network can help you
      • Plan to align your network towards success
    • The lecture bit
    • Talking to people
      Swapping business cards
      Selling yourself
      The art of making and maintaining relationships
      It’s all about exchange !
      Giving and taking
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      What is Networking ?
      7
    • Strong ties are less diverse – but more efficient
      Networks in opposition to hierarchies and markets
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Diversity in Networks
      8
    • Crucial for exchange in networks:
      Trust (comes from positive experiences over time)
      Perceived value of further cooperation by others
      Social Capital = value, which is embedded in relationships
      Potential access to information, knowledge, resources, contacts
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      What is Social Capital ?
      9
    • Social Capital not valuable by itself
      Nor measurable
      But allows
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Value of Social Capital
      10
    • How can networking be valuable?
      Social Capital
      Value
      enables
      access to
      creates
      Networking
      delivers
      Information, Knowledge, Resources
      affects
      Goals
      requires
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      11
    • Important throughout venture lifetime...
      ... but especially at the beginning
      Market insights, startup ecosystem
      Feedback and new ideas
      Examples
      Bank Loan vs. Hearing about public grants
      Comparing offers vs. Getting recommendations
      Stealth startup fail vs. Idea evaluation & pivoting
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      12
      Benefits (I): Getting Information
    • Important whenever you start something new...
      ...and you have to do it yourself
      Tacit Knowledge
      based on experiences, culture
      Hard to transfer
      Examples
      Trial&Error vs. Learning from other’s experience
      Paying an accountant vs. Learn how do accounts
      Accept given deals vs. Learning how to negotiate
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      13
      Benefits (II): Transfer of Knowledge
    • Before you start to buy new things...
      ... salvage, beg, borrow, bargain
      Or get time commitments
      Examples
      Paying a web designer vs. Asking a friend to do it
      Hiring a part-time employee vs. Family Member
      Renting an office vs. Using a friend’s spare space
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      14
      Benefits (III): Resources
    • “Ideas that spread, win” (Seth Godin)
      Visibility
      Credibility
      Crowdsource network search
      Examples
      Advertising vs. Viral marketing
      Cold calls vs. Getting introduced
      Complex recruiting vs. Friend of a friend employee
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Benefits (IV): Spreading Information
      15
    • Contacts do not come for free
      And Relationships need to be maintained
      Set targets...
      ...and check your performance
      If not on target, analyse why
      Or switch to plan B
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Effort vs. Value
      16
    • Networking by itself has no value at all
      It’s what you can give and get through relationships
      Efficiency through diversity
      You can’t have everything yourself
      Dunbar’s number: You can’t havemore than (roughly) 150 friends
      Cognitive constraint
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Why a strategic approach?
      17
    • Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      What is Strategic Networking?
      Aligning your network towards achieving your goals
      Strategic
      Analysing your needs and haves
      Planning your relationship portfolio
      Tactical
      Planning networking events
      Juggling socialising and working
      Operational
      The talking & shake hands part (exchange)
      18
    • Dunbar’s Number
      For every new relationship, you will drop another one
      Give before you take
      Make introductions yourself
      Sustainability
      People are connected
      Good/bad reputations spread
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Ethics of Networking
      19
    • The workshop bit
    • Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Strategic Networking Framework
      21
    • For all steps on back of workshop material pages
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Prepare Example !
      22
    • Define a goal (e.g. succeed with a business idea)
      And make a rough plan how to achieve it
      Define your needs
      Information Input (e.g. competitors, market situation)
      Tacit Knowledge (e.g. how to run a start-up)
      Resources (e.g. funding)
      Information Output (e.g. to get a strong partner on board)
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Analyse
      23
    • Analyse what you have and whom you know
      Match to needs
      Plan A (easy) and plan B (backups or ideal)
      Is your relationship at the right level?
      Create your Relationship Portfolio
      Know your “hubs” (people with lots of contacts)
      Ensure diversity
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Plan
      24
    • Use tools to support networking
      LinkedIn (find suitable contacts)
      Foursquare (meet them “on the fly”)
      Twitter (find out what they are up to)
      Trust serendipity
      Reflect if you are on target
      HandyElephant
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      It’s all planned – what now?
      25
    • Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Networking Cycle
      26
    • For shy/introverted people:
      http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/the-shy-connector
      Ground breaking paper:
      Granovetter (1973) – The Strength of Weak Ties
      For short breaks:
      TED.com (e.g. Daniel Kahneman)
      Wikipedia: Expected Utility Theory, Prospect Theory
      Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs
      Further Reading
      27
    • Find the slides at http://bit.ly/StratNetEntre
      Benjamin F. Wirtz
      Email: ben@handyelephant.com
      Twitter: benfwirtz
      Feedback and recommendations highly appreciated !