Archive for August, 2011

QR Codes on Business Cards – very cool! Plus some other great networking ideas. . .

August 30, 2011

I love seeing innovation – and tonight I saw some really cool ideas. I spoke at the BRW Fast Club networking event – it was a fun event with approximately 100 people at the beautiful L’Aqua restaurant at Cockle Bay. Fast Club is a brilliant successful entrepreneurs network with a specific criteria for membership – and tonight networking and connections was the focus.

We divided the night into three specific networking streams and encouraged networking activity without  a “sales pitch” – just connect and communicate – and find out about the people you are meeting, exchange cards, offer ideas, encouragement and connect with others if you can.

It was great to give people some really simple systems such as men putting their business cards in their top coat pocket and when they exchange cards, put their own cards at the front and the others person’s card at the back. And for the women without pockets to hold their cards in the hand and put their card at the front and the other person’s card at the back. And most importantly with the person they were going to follow up with, gently turn up the corner of their card as a reminder to make that connection. And then of course I shared the statistics on following up post networking events – would you believe less than 10% of people actually follow up after they attend networking events.

Some people were hesitant to give out their business cards in case they didn’t think they had any need for the person’s service – but I explained that we are NOT our business cards or our businesses for that matter. And no one wears a sign saying be really nice to me, I am going to introduce you to your next partner, boss, biggest client, best friend. We do have lives outside work and finding that interest can be such a great way to find common ground with someone and build a foundation for future networking.

Now to the cool ideas,  Shayne De La Force and Belinda May from TNA Australia Pty. Ltd www.tnasolutions.com (who recently won a BRW award) had a QR code on the back of their business card – this was the first time I had seen that – and a very clever idea.

Ivana and the BRW team had created a very cool networking wall – building on an idea I had seen at a conference, Ivana had invited guests to send a photos to her team, who then created a pouch with a photo of the guest, their name and company name and then a slot to put business cards. All the pouches and photos, were displayed on a networking wall and the idea was that anyone who missed meeting someone they were interested in connecting with, could include their business card in the pouch and then be followed up by the person in the next 48 hours. Such a simple system, but a brilliant networking tool. PLUS people had the opportunity to see exactly who was in the room, what they looked like and what they did.

Another great business card idea was by Gary Ng, CEO of E-Web Marketing www.ewebmarketing.com.au Gary has a very cool photo of his little son, dressed in a Superman outfit with a tag line – “Talk to us today on how to grow your business to new heights.” A great combination of passion and business.

And finally Brendan and David from Business Aspect in Brisbane, www.businessaspect.com.au took a photo of my business card on their iphone and then scanned it into the phone and voila – all the contact details instantly in the database. I love technology.

Well done BRW Fast Club for an excellent networking event – let’s hope those referrals start flowing in the next month or so for all attendees.

Happy networking until next time.

Tonight I spoke at the

Advertisements

What do you take to a business networking event?

August 14, 2011

Now some of you might be thinking, well I take some business cards, and some blank cards (in case I meet someone who doesn’t have a card on them), a pen, a notebook. What I would like to talk about with this blog are the non visible or non obvious things you take to a networking event or to work everyday – these include:

1. Your connections – all the people that you know from years, months and weeks ago, people you currently and previously worked with, your friends, current and past bosses, neighbours, school friends, people you have studied with, your LinkedIn and social media connections.  Yet no one is wearing a sign saying be really  nice to me, I am going to introduce you to your next boss, partner, flatmate, best friend, employee or connection. That is why it pays to be friendly to everyone – you never know who they know!

2. Your current and past roles/jobs/careers – you may be studying, even retired – but you still have loads of current and past experience. Not every job we are doing, is currently utilising ALL the skills we have. And sometimes a chance conversation triggers a discussion about something we do know about that is not necessarily obvious with our current job title.

3. Your passions and special interests – whether your passions include something as obscure as  breeding peach faced parrots or mainstram as following a local Aussie Rules, Rugby Union or Rugby League team – very few people have a solo passion – there are always others who have similiar passions. And again if we are at a business network, unless we are a guy wearing a rugby tie (which is a dead giveaway or our passion) or a Rotarian wearing a Rotary badge, our passions are not always obvious. Yet asking someone what they do outside of work and what they are interested in can start an entire conversation stream. And before we know it we have built trust through communication.

We are made up of  all 3 areas and if we were to put a value on the little piece where all three areas overlap – it would be PRICELESS.

How? Well let’s imagine that Hawaii is one of your favourite holiday locations – you have been there many times, visited all the Hawaian islands, know all the best deals available, where to stay, eat, what is worth seeing and where to shop. You know ALL the bits that are NOT in the guide books.

Now let’s imagine that Sue is going to Hawaii for the first time, has planned a 14 day holiday and is now overwelmed with where to go and what to do? Would you think that 10 minutes of YOUR time might set Sue on the right path and save her money, time and energy.

That’s where the definition of priceless comes in. Your knowledge, life experiences, connections, wisdom, current and past jobs, passions and special interests are PRICELESS.

So, the next time you go to a networking event – never ever allow yourself to feel intimidated – you have so much to share with anyone and everyone you meet. Network, have fun, befriend strangers – and never be surprised how much value people may place on your expertise.

5 ways to end a strategic alliance

August 14, 2011

Once you identify that one or more of your strategic alliances is going nowhere, here are some ideas to end your strategic alliance:

1. Have an open and honest discussion about the current situation with all the allies

2. Clarify the WHY? – what are we doing this? and the WHAT? what do we want to achieve for each individual?

3. Make a clean break – with no loose threads

4. Finish/close the alliance amicably and regroup with a different or revised line up of players

5. Remember the “project” concept and the time frame recommendation. This alliances may have served it’s purpose and its time to finish it.

Tell tale signs your strategic alliances is not working or needs a revamp!

August 14, 2011

It’s a great idea to treat stategic alliances as projects – with a start date and a finish date. Often when people have open ended alliances, members can tire of each other and even get to the point of sabotaging the success of the alliance. Tell tale signs include:

1. No meetings

2. No shows at meetings

3. Actions post meeting regularly not completed

4. Endless excuses for non actions or non attendance

5. Allies are linked or have a stronger link with a competitor and did not declare this potential conflict of interest

6. Requests to change the original rules of the alliance

7. Key player/driver leaves

8. Playing the blame game

If any of these situations are showing up in your alliances, it’s time to take some action NOW! Don’t waste another meeting or your valuable time.