Where have we been?
- New Zealand Xero Roadshows - We’re road-tripping! The team is traveling across New Zealand, hosting accountants and businesses, with the rest of the Xero ecosystem.
- 9percent - The Great Little Events Company runs networking events to inspire, advise and support women in business around Brighton.
- Brighton Summit - Hosting 400 businesses from in and around Brighton, it’s talks, workshops, networking and all.
- And finally, SaaStock Dublin - Saastock run conferences throughout the year all over the globe, inviting SaaS businesses to focus on their growth and strengths.
1. Get out into the world
Before we jump into making the most of networking, we need to convince you that it’s actually a good idea. We know your first thought - yes, you have a lot of work to do. But, you will likely always have a lot to do. And we can assure you that networking is worth its weight in gold. When you get wrapped up in the world inside your office, you’re limiting your exposure to new opinions, to your target audience and to movements in the industry. Yes, you can dive into heaps of articles, videos, etc. but there’s nothing quite like getting out there and seeing the real-life version of what’s going on.
We recommend trying to speak at events if you can. You’ll be able to read reactions towards different points. Do people respond well to your story? Do they react better towards emotional points or rational points? This is all great research for you and your business.
Our CEO and Founder, Hannah Dawson, spoke at both the 9percent and Brighton Summit events and, as you do when you’re planning a speaker session, she knew or at least she thought she knew the key points that would ignite an audience reaction - but that wasn’t the case.
“One thing that really surprised me was the positive reaction and almost a sense of relief felt across the audience when I shared the struggles I’ve had to overcome throughout my entrepreneurship journey. I really didn’t expect it and think sometimes that people just want to hear from someone, in person, who’s been through similar issues to them and come out the other side.”
2. Be involved in your industry
It’s equally interesting to see what other businesses in your industry are doing and what trends are emerging. This is what SaaStock provided for us, an insight into the worlds products, and tech that other SaaS businesses are talking about and investing in. Any insight you can gain could be the spark for a great idea - be it a product, service, strategy or partnership.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own bubble. Without frequently networking within your industry, new trends, ideas and opportunities can pass by without your knowledge. For example, Hannah appeared on one of SaaStock’s panel discussions, debating the statement “the product should sell itself, right?”. It’s a topic that many of our team have thoughts on and the panel discussion sparked conversations and thoughts that Hannah returned to the office with.
2. Relight your fire
Working away day after day, you’ll inevitably fall into ruts. Your every day may seem like it’s chugging along nicely, but you’ll be surprised how even the smallest of breaks or ventures outside will help to boost your productivity. Taking breaks needn’t always be for holidays - sometimes taking a break to take part in an industry event can be just as beneficial. Surrounding yourself with a mixture of people and from your industry will not only bring you new ideas, but it will refresh and reinforce your idea of why you started your business in the first place.
You’d be surprised at the energy you’ll bring to work in the following days.
3. Tell your story, to whoever listens
What about your business? Never underestimate the power of networking. After our run of events, we came home to boosts in sign-ups for Flow’s preview list, despite being small, business-focused events, quite unlike the exhibiting style we’re used to, and Flow didn’t even lead the majority of our conversations. Sometimes, the less sales-orientated events can work to your advantage. It’s a brand booster. The smaller, more personal events allow you to tailor your talk, read your audience and have a more significant impact.
4. Have a focus
For this year’s events, our focus has been ‘The world’s only newsfeed for your business’. We’re hitting the market with a product unlike anything that’s come before it, so event season has been a chance to spread the word and get feedback on what we’re doing. No matter how much testing and research you do, or how many opinions you get, releasing software is like a child’s first day at school. You give them a little nudge, cross your fingers, and wait for some feedback on how they’re doing.
So we’ve used our recent events to collect as many thoughts as possible. What did people think? What were their suggestions? Did they like how we explained it? You could be one comment away from the idea for your next product, completely revamping a feature, or (hopefully) just knowing that people like your product.
5. Hit relevant audiences
The recent events we’ve attended have been full of knowledge hungry entrepreneurs, business owners and their teams, which is the perfect audience for us with our mission to help businesses succeed. This (relevant!) audience type meant that Hannah gave a mixture of guidance and was able to talk about our new products. Each have different focuses and different areas of a business that they support.
Flow takes control of your cash flow, giving you deep insights into your customers and suppliers - helping you to take control of late payments, dependencies, and your budget.
Predict forecasts your future, helping you look ahead, plan for obstacles and make the most of highs.
Playground unites your non-financial data, uncovering links and helping you optimize your decision making. Think marketing, sales, and product data.
So, looking at that, we can identify the types of things we can talk about. In addition, we’re a tech company with a SaaS model, so we can discuss both of those things. We’ve been through a VC funding raise, we’ve previously been bootstrapped - all of these things are things we have knowledge, experience and therefore advice on.
So, work out what you can talk about. Where are your company experts? Where does your insight lie? How can you link this back to the products or services that you provide to your audience?
And it’s as simple as that! Networking is great for motivating you, your team and increasing the opportunities and exposure for your business. Take as many opportunities as you can and, using the tips and tricks above, make the most of each of them.
Where are we heading next?
- Web Summit Lisbon - We’re heading to Portugal! The team will be attending Web Summit, the world’s biggest tech conference.
- Xerocon London - One of our favorites. Xerocon London is one of the biggest shows for the accountancy industry and, as always, we’ll be in attendance.
- The Business Show - Hosted in the Excel, London, The Business Show holds talks and exhibitions from some of the world’s most successful business people.
- Xero NZ Roadshows - Locations still to attend include, Takapuna, Whangerei, Wellington, Tauranga & Christchurch.