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Women’s Exceed eXcellerator: A Discussion on the Power and Strategy of Networking

womens excellerator

The Women’s Exceed eXcellerator is a group of twelve women entrepreneurs that come together to learn from dynamic speakers, share their experiences and get support from others who have done it before.

At our latest women’s eXcellerator event, one of the most important aspects of business was discussed…networking. For entrepreneurs, it’s not about who you know, but who knows you!

The discussion was led by Marian Z. Stern, a consultant to not-for-profits. Stern has over 30 years of experience; she has been an active participant in what is often referred to as the Independent Sector – the sector of society where not-for-profit organizations and philanthropists intersect. Stern has also moved the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility to reality in corporations and corporate foundations.

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General Networking Concepts

With anything in life, you must create balance; Marian Z. Stern discussed the importance of this when working and cultivating new business. “ For me, I work on a project bases, so I know that at some point a project is going to end and I’m constantly building new relationships,” stated Stern.

 Exposure is VERY important when building your business or expanding to new clientele. Speaking engagements are a great way to help get your name and reputation out to the right people.

 Unfortunately, one of the most common things that happen is attracting random networking and not the right people. How do you avoid this? Stern stated, “Make sure that you use time wisely, think hard and fast on whether the opportunity(s) will generate revenue in the long run.”

The two most important skills in networking are listening and following up. To make the most of this, do something that will leave a long-lasting impression on the potential client.  “Make the follow up meaningful, it’s doesn’t have to necessarily be an email, if you had a conversation with someone and they said something that peaked your interest, send them an article on the subject,” explained Stern.

For in-person networking tools, the following are recommended:

  • Professional associations
  • Taking courses/certification programs
  • Speaking engagements
  • Breakfast/lunches/coffees

Online Networking

With the world going digital, a stellar online presence is essential. Here is a list of online networking tools:

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Constant Contact
  • Crowdsourcing (e.g. Kickstarter)

Send out emails occasionally (an email blast to a group), if there’s something of interest, this can consist of an article or updates. Stern strongly recommends LinkedIn to connect with people of interest. “LinkedIn has become an incredibly powerful tool for driving business and networking,” she added.

 When using online tools, you should take one platform and apply it to others. Online tools are free publicity and are easy ways to market yourself and your business aggressively.

 Overall, these are the purposes of online platforms in networking:

  • To establish expertise and expose your work.
  • To post information that is relevant to your work.

 By Lolita A. Alford

What networking tools and/or strategies do you use to market yourself or your business? Tweet us your advice @exceednetwork!

If you’d like to know more about the Exceed Network or would like to get involved, please contact us!

info@exceednetwork.org

718-787-1400

379 Kings Highway

Brooklyn, NY 11223

“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for.”    - Christine Comaford-Lynch

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