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8. THE BEST PLACES TO NETWORK

If Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t expect your network to be either. But brick by brick, a strong network gives you a leg up in a multitude of business endeavours across your career. 

Whether you’re starting a new company, seeking funding, looking to learn, or connecting a mentee to the right people, a broad network of industry professionals can work wonders. 

But where to seek out these people and what kinds of people can you expect to find at each location? 

As Auckland’s major industry event for entrepreneurs, SME&E is just one perfect place to meet a future business partner or best mate. All you have to do is book a ticket!

Industry Events

Of course we’re going to say that industry events are the best place to network! 

Exhibitions, conferences, professional networking events, or job fairs are all great for meeting like-minded people who are just as keen to meet you as you are to meet them.

Just like NZ SME&E, many of these events will include round table sessions, a party, and hundreds of attendees to mingle with.

Make sure to bring plenty of business cards with you – not only to enter an abundance of raffles with, but to swap with anyone who piques your interest. 

Each event should outline the kinds of niche that attendees will come from. For example, SME&E is the place to meet anyone interested in new strategies and tactics to move their business forward. 

Some events will be broadly industry-based while others might focus on a particular branch of technology or trait of a successful business like customer experience.

Online

It may not be a location, per se, but the internet has long been a hub of networking opportunities with new avenues and connections opening all the time. 

Professional business platform, LinkedIn, is the perfect example of this phenomena. The online Mecca of networking reports having more than 850 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Somewhere in this pool of professionals could be your next business partner. You just won’t know until you start contributing to conversations in comment sections, on pages, and via direct message.

The platform is also great for searching up old colleagues and friends to check in on how their career is panning out. If you recall someone from high school with a knack for graphic design, you can search them up and strike up a conversation that could build a business. 

Of course, LinkedIn isn’t the only online place to network. There are endless forums available where more specific conversations can be found. 

The only downside to online networking is location. You may connect with the perfect professional but find difficulty in maintaining a relationship with someone on the other side of the world. If this doesn’t pose an issue to you, be sure to try your hand at networking online.

Around the Office

That quiet accountant across the office might not seem all that, but their knowledge might just be the key to unlocking your next endeavour. 

If you haven’t quite put the effort into networking around your own office, it’s about time you start striking up some conversation around the water cooler. 

The most unexpected business partners can sometimes be the most fun to work with, especially if their skillset complements yours.

Put time into people both above and below you within the company and get to know what makes them all tick. They may not be your next co-founder, but they could well be convinced to join your company in a pivotal role.

Professional Associations

The paywall can put some people off, but that only means those who do join will be well worth your time. 

An industry association takes the hassle out of finding events and workshops to attend because they organise them! At the very least, they might get you a discount on registration. 

Some associations also include members-only job boards which present another opportunity to connect with the right people. 

Build Your Network at SME&E

Networking is a life-long endeavour that will continue to pay off throughout your career. If you’re in the industry of building businesses and changing the way people think, SME&E is the place to be.

Secure your tickets to the SME & Entrepreneur Festival in Auckland on November 8 & 9 2022, or one of our upcoming festivals in Wellington and Christchurch in 2023.

Virtual tickets to the Auckland festival start from $159, while entry level in-person tickets start at $299.



 

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