Eight Networking Tips To Win Over New Investors And Customers

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Expert Panel, Young Entrepreneur Council

YEC is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 40 and younger.rom">YEC is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 40 and younger.rom

So what should young business leaders keep in mind as they seek to establish connections? Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share what they consider to be the most crucial networking advice they can offer to new entrepreneurs who are looking to create meaningful interactions with other entrepreneurs, as well as potential partners, customers or investors. Here is what they said:

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Ask For Their Failure Stories

Seek out advice from those who have succeeded in your industry before. But try not to focus on their success stories, but rather their failure stories. Knowing where others have made mistakes is a good way to avoid your own in the future. Allow yourself to be honest and vulnerable. We are always trying to sell our product and act the part, but don't forget that the entrepreneurial story is what brings the human aspect to your business. That's really important in building up strong relationships. - Victoria Brodsky, BlockchainBTM, Inc.

2. Follow Your Instincts And Interests

I always follow my instincts and my personal interests—it’s what got me into the vape business in the first place—and that has paid off for me in both building brand awareness and making business contacts. For brand awareness, I recommend Instagram, as long as you’re really into it (people can spot a fake). It’s a great way to develop a community, and if you have great visuals like eye-catching packaging and logos, you can really play them up. For networking, I have to admit I’ve made some great business connections while working out at Equinox! - Nicholas DeNuccio, Propaganda Premium E-Liquid

3. Make Connections, Then Return The Favor

You may think you don’t know anyone in your new industry, but you’d be surprised how few connections it takes before you’re hooked up to just the right person. Ask questions, call in favors, make the calls—whatever it takes. Usually, people are happy to make introductions; it makes them feel good, too! Also, make sure to reciprocate by opening doors for others, too. - Nick Bull, Propaganda Premium E-Liquid

4. Be Yourself And Make A Personal Connection

My best networking tip is to be yourself. Don't feel like you need to overcompensate to stand out. Be yourself, show interest in the other person and make a personal connection, and people will want to know more. - Madison Mallardi, LimeLife by Alcone

Read more in Dig The Well Before You're Thirsty: How Young Entrepreneurs Can Build A Network

5. Make The Most Of Your Social Media

I recommend utilizing social media to the maximum and finding good mentors who are well connected. Having a clear value proposition is key for customers, investors and for engaging talented partners. Being a trustworthy and ethical person is vitally important. - Mark Plaskow, Scientific Clinics

6. Focus On Solving Problems And Creating Value

The ability to solve problems and create value for clients is a key to win over potential clients. It's not enough to have a solution that creates value—it has to be communicated, then performed and measured. - Steven Williamson, Cement Shine

Read more in How To Successfully Identify Problems Worth Solving

7. Maintain Brand And Image Consistency

Maintain a consistent brand and image while having a good understanding of who you are looking to engage with. While the brand and image part ensures you are memorable, targeting will ensure you maintain focus and spend efforts wisely. We always start by surveying the landscape and categorizing prospects into buckets so we may form a thesis around which buckets are most valuable and which approaches are most feasible. This allows you to segment time in a way where you apply efforts to most high-value causes while still leaving room for more experimental opportunities in an organized and calculated way. - Jason Nadaf, SureDone

8. Be Aware Of The Need

Don't fall victim to the belief that networking is a dirty word. Ultimately building a network of friends, mentors and peers is critical to your success. To do that successfully you need to approach how you build your network with the same sort of strategic perspective that you would any other mission-critical activity. Whether it is a good thing or not, who you know ultimately is incredibly important in creating opportunities for your business. While the product and underlying business need to be good enough to act on those opportunities, the network is often what helps get your foot in the door. - Colin Darretta, DojoMojo

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Creating relationships with other entrepreneurs as well as potential customers is essential to building and maintaining brand awareness, as well as growth. The people you surround yourself with can help push your business to new horizons through their interaction with you, both professionally and personally, and your actions can help do the same for them.

So what should young business leaders keep in mind as they seek to establish connections? Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share what they consider to be the most crucial networking advice they can offer to new entrepreneurs who are looking to create meaningful interactions with other entrepreneurs, as well as potential partners, customers or investors. Here is what they said:

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Ask For Their Failure Stories

Seek out advice from those who have succeeded in your industry before. But try not to focus on their success stories, but rather their failure stories. Knowing where others have made mistakes is a good way to avoid your own in the future. Allow yourself to be honest and vulnerable. We are always trying to sell our product and act the part, but don't forget that the entrepreneurial story is what brings the human aspect to your business. That's really important in building up strong relationships. - Victoria Brodsky, BlockchainBTM, Inc.

2. Follow Your Instincts And Interests

I always follow my instincts and my personal interests—it’s what got me into the vape business in the first place—and that has paid off for me in both building brand awareness and making business contacts. For brand awareness, I recommend Instagram, as long as you’re really into it (people can spot a fake). It’s a great way to develop a community, and if you have great visuals like eye-catching packaging and logos, you can really play them up. For networking, I have to admit I’ve made some great business connections while working out at Equinox! - Nicholas DeNuccio, Propaganda Premium E-Liquid

3. Make Connections, Then Return The Favor

You may think you don’t know anyone in your new industry, but you’d be surprised how few connections it takes before you’re hooked up to just the right person. Ask questions, call in favors, make the calls—whatever it takes. Usually, people are happy to make introductions; it makes them feel good, too! Also, make sure to reciprocate by opening doors for others, too. - Nick Bull, Propaganda Premium E-Liquid

4. Be Yourself And Make A Personal Connection

My best networking tip is to be yourself. Don't feel like you need to overcompensate to stand out. Be yourself, show interest in the other person and make a personal connection, and people will want to know more. - Madison Mallardi, LimeLife by Alcone

Read more in Dig The Well Before You're Thirsty: How Young Entrepreneurs Can Build A Network

5. Make The Most Of Your Social Media

I recommend utilizing social media to the maximum and finding good mentors who are well connected. Having a clear value proposition is key for customers, investors and for engaging talented partners. Being a trustworthy and ethical person is vitally important. - Mark Plaskow, Scientific Clinics

6. Focus On Solving Problems And Creating Value

The ability to solve problems and create value for clients is a key to win over potential clients. It's not enough to have a solution that creates value—it has to be communicated, then performed and measured. - Steven Williamson, Cement Shine

Read more in How To Successfully Identify Problems Worth Solving

7. Maintain Brand And Image Consistency

Maintain a consistent brand and image while having a good understanding of who you are looking to engage with. While the brand and image part ensures you are memorable, targeting will ensure you maintain focus and spend efforts wisely. We always start by surveying the landscape and categorizing prospects into buckets so we may form a thesis around which buckets are most valuable and which approaches are most feasible. This allows you to segment time in a way where you apply efforts to most high-value causes while still leaving room for more experimental opportunities in an organized and calculated way. - Jason Nadaf, SureDone

8. Be Aware Of The Need

Don't fall victim to the belief that networking is a dirty word. Ultimately building a network of friends, mentors and peers is critical to your success. To do that successfully you need to approach how you build your network with the same sort of strategic perspective that you would any other mission-critical activity. Whether it is a good thing or not, who you know ultimately is incredibly important in creating opportunities for your business. While the product and underlying business need to be good enough to act on those opportunities, the network is often what helps get your foot in the door. - Colin Darretta, DojoMojo

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...">Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of the world's most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. YEC members repre...