By Wael Badawy
Networking is the process of identifying and attracting a new customer or a new sale lead within a focused crowd. The effective networking will result into more relationships, sales and income.
Yes: I agree that we are networking to make money, not to have fun.
Yes: we network to make money, not to know more people.
Yes: we network to make money, not to spend time.
However, our attitude – if we are not careful – will block our audiences from continue the conversation and buy our services and products, or even join our mailing. Our attitude is everything. The Following Dos and Don’ts are lessons learned from my experience and shall provide insights on the effective networking attitude.
The 4 Don’ts of effective networking are
Do not start with your name or business name
Starting with your name and your business will frame you in the audience mind to the basic service of what you do. It will immediately create a barrier between you and the audience.
When you say: “Hi, I am Joe and I am accountant”
It automatically generates a barrier between you and the audience. In the mindset of the audience, it will be one of these messages
“Oh, one more accountant in the crowd.”
“Oh, another one of them”
“Oh, I hate these guys, they do not do a good job”
All of these messages are toxic to your networking goals
Do not wear the company shirt
Wearing a company shirt frames you within the company image. It would be reflect on the ability of connecting with the crowd. In my own experience, having a shirt of an elite service with extremely high reputation was not a good idea. The message in the head of the audience were
“Another guy from this company that charges premium?”
“I just got a call from this company last week, please not again.”
It automatically positions you in a frame that impacts the acceptance to your message.
Do not have your logo
Having a logo frames you in what your company do and not how better or effective than your competitors. It is the type of barrier that you do not want. You shall focus of how better is your service or product than others. The message shall be “How do you outstand against others and why you are better. NOT what do you do.
Do not talk about your business
Do say what your business is doing, or the nature of your service. Focus on the values that your provide to the different clients. Focus on why your customer will come to you and how do you stand against the crowd.
The 4 Dos of effective networking are
Do ask an engagement question
An engagement question is the best approach to qualify your crowd. You shall be able to adjust your message to your crowd. If your first question does not qualify the crowd, Ask a second question but there is NO THIRD. If you cannot qualify the crowd, think about another set of question for next time. OR Email me for my set of questions
Do say a pain-hitting paragraph
A pain-hitting paragraph is a simple statement that characterizes the pain that your business is addressing. Identifying the pain immediately creates a link to the audience and you will get their ears for few minutes. Three – four statements conquer in the audience mind that you know and feel their pain. The audience perceives you are like them, and people like to buy from people like them, who they like.
Do say what is your solution to the pain
After the pain-hitting paragraph pause for a moment, so the audience can digest what said. Then, say HOW you solve the pain, WHY your service is better, and the reasons they should use your service and not others.
Do say how to access your solution
At the end you shall say how the audience can connect to your service, such as access a website. You must leave your contact information with an action so the audience can connect to you. Or simply, say, “your name, I will be more than happy to assist you.”
Finally if you enjoyed my tips, please send me your tips, I will appreciate them. AND for any questions or questioning on effective networking, please email me.
John F Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise
I recently attended a board meeting of John F Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise. The topic centred around what sorts of things should a school such as that do.
And of course there was a lively debate about entrepreneurship – one of my favourite topics.
I believe television has created the myth that business ideas are mostly inventions. In reality, most money is made in business by people doing the same boring thing as every other boring business. Look around your city – who are the business people – the coffee shop owner, the landlord, the car sales place, the mini storage, the dry cleaner, the jeweller, the lawn care person, etc etc. Unlike Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den – business is mostly NOT big invention – it is micro-refinements and good implementation (and hard work) of a boring business.
Entrepreneurship is also mislabeled. An entrepreneur should be willing to risk their time and money – by definition. What I see is people who say they are entrepreneurs want other people to risk their money so the “entrepreneur” can get paid a salary. Those same entrepreneurs want to retain most of the upside.
I also see businesses raising money when they should not – they should just be profitable and grow from those profits. Bootstrapping makes a company strong. Service companies particularly should not raise money.
I talk a bit about bootstrapping in my Ted Talk.
Perhaps I am just jealous because I had to bootstrap my business and no one paid me a salary.
The source: http://www.jimestill.com/
Retailers vanishing in Toronto
The Migrant:The last seven years has seen a roller coaster within the retail industry both in Canada and worldwide. On one hand we had businesses exiting retail, such as Target which acquired Zellers and then exited Canada due to declining revenues, and Sears that was a go-to place for Canadians across generations, and on another spectrum, successful Canadian household names such as Hudson Bay & Tim Hortons being acquired by International investors.
In anticipation of such an inevitable fate, several companies set out to reduce their footprint, postponed or modified their expansion plans, and set up electronic platforms to support their sales to keep up with the global market, escalating the demand for storage space.
Conversely, more than 50 major companies opened their stores in Canada during the same period in the field of clothing or eyeglasses and most were associated with high-end or new products to the Canadian soil such as Nordstrom, Miniso and Richard Mille. While other companies thrived and expanded such as Canada Goose, in addition to numerous Canadian start-ups that spread globally but with an adoption to an innovative modus operandi, such as Freshii and Frank & Oak. Reasons may vary, and some may argue that this is business as usual, but rather accelerated.
Toronto market, which has seen a paradigm shift in a positive direction, due to an influx of distinguished and experienced entrepreneurs. New stores opening their doors, especially in the domain of food and cafes, that led to greater competition and perhaps better variety and quality for the communities, notably, the middle eastern. These market dynamics, if anything; are in sync with the global market.
Opportunities exist and created a negotiating environment between landlords and new retailers. The Canadian economy remains robust, yet we repeatedly observe retailers going belly up and capitals evaporating in thin air and ultimately those investors are losing faith in the Canadian economy. The key reasons impeding the success of new retail ventures are:
1. Systemic reasons: The global economy, of which Canada is a part, is not at its best and adversely affects the purchasing power. According to retail analysts, many global retailers reduced their footprint due to decline in sales volume.
2. Change in the retail landscape: As the online shopping experience continues to improve, and retailers increasingly moving into the retail 3.0, consumers, more so the millennial, focus on convenience and product accessibility. Today’s prudent retailers combine brick-and-mortar stores with e-stores to increase sales volume. In addition, some companies break the mold by going online first and then expanding through physical storefronts.
3. Local experience: Last but not the least is the local experience, one of the key factors underpinning the success or failure of any business. Challenges and pitfalls can be mitigated by conducting feasibility studies that would typically analyze the demographics, products, financial projections, and site selection, zooming in on the occupancy cost being a key item in the operating costs that could eat up the bottom-line and push business into the red.
Veteran investors are more likely to be aware of the key challenges in starting new business, but don’t have clear understanding of how the local experience combined with language barriers make it difficult to access key resources and to shore up a sound business plan.
Many investors have taken a gambit by overlooking this key step and started their business based on market canvassing, tell-tales and emotional decisions, that in many instances led to losses, business closure, bankruptcy or business still operating at a loss.
In a nutshell, the most pressing question: Is it time to move a motion to support those vulnerable businesses and explore ways to integrate them into the retail space and probably attract and encourage more investors to enter the market with clear line of sight?
By Sean Aslambouli
Business & Commercial Realty Consultant
Fredericton (NB), the silent Victorian
By Abdelkader Bouaziz
For the past three days, we have been talking about Fredericton where four people were shot dead, including two policemen. The shooting ended with the arrest of a suspect who is accused of four premeditated murders. The city has never had to deal with something like this. I know it because I lived there for the last 3 years. It’s known with its peacefulness “atmosphere” and the legendary kindness of its residents.
Fredericton. The smallest “provincial capital” of Canada. I call it the silent Victorian, because there are many houses with a Victorian character and it inspires a feeling that imposes tranquility.
While strolling through the arteries of the city, it looks like we are in the 1800’s, where the structure of the houses makes us think of an open-air museum of Victorian houses. Its down-town exudes a singular charm and the Saint John River (that cross the city in north and south area) contributes to this peaceful feeling.
People are courteous, and they exchange a “good morning! … hello! … hi! …” every time they cross each other, in the street, in the supermarket, in the library, in the park,… and we can’t talk about the city without mentioning the City’s traditional market he Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market. Recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 community markets, it’s a Saturday morning (6am-1pm) gathering spot, for fresh and healthy foods, craft, creativity and most of all: a place of ritual meeting of its inhabitants who keep this tradition of long time.
There is rarely traffic jam during peak hours (no more than 10), the nature is abundant; Odell Park, the centrepiece of the city’s parklands and highly acclaimed by its citizen, takes up almost a quarter of the southern part of the city. Renowned as one of the most beautiful parks, of its kind in Canada. It contributes also to this feeling of a rural aspect within the city itself.
Numerous gatherings, weddings, graduation parties or other occasions have been organized in this beautiful place, and it has served as a backdrop to pictures shooting, in addition of being a great place to do family/friend picnic. We can walk there and feel the sights and sounds of the 4 seasons.
Fredericton residents are known for helping out when a major emergency or disaster occurs. Statistic Canada revealed that more than half (57%) of people who experienced an emergency received help during or immediately after the event. Family members (26%) and friends (17% were the most common sources of help.
Living in small city, having shorter commute times comparing to bigger cities, having smaller population densities, and living close to families, foster strong social ties and feelings of belonging. And that is what I felt when I used to live in Fredericton.
Our heart thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy and their families!
About the writer : Living in Canada for almost 15 years, originally from Morocco, spending all his childhood in France, Abdelkader is active in social-cultural life of immigrants, in Montreal QC, where he used to live for 3 years, then Ottawa ON for 6 years, then Fredericton NB 3 years and a half, before moving back to Ottawa. He contributes voluntarily with writings and stories that touch lives of immigrants in Canada. He wrote columns in immigration websites and answered interviews in a few blogs for expatriates.
Graduated from the National School of Public Administration of Quebec, with a master degree as International Analyst, he has a particular interest in immigration news, international student experiences, cultural activities and social media.
He discovered his passion for writing during his first years of immigration, when it became clear that sharing the daily life of an immigrant and telling stories, are how he will appease the struggling of a new life for an immigrant, in Canada.
His moto is ” Dream about your future, learn from the past, and live your present!”
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