Once you’ve established your business, it can be easy to get used to the routine that works. This is particularly the case when it comes to networking.
Fast forward to taking your business global and entering a foreign market. You’ll likely find that your comfortable routine changes. In fact, it might not be working at all. You’ll need to shake things up, but where do you start?
Here are my tips on how to network when going global…
Get in front of the right people
Since we began expanding globally, starting with the USA in September 2015, it made me realise just how much more important networking is when entering a new market.
It’s the connections you make at the start that will set you apart from the competition and allow you to launch more successfully. To do this, you need to get in front of the right people.
But who exactly are the “right” people? It’s simple. They’re the people that will get your brand known.
The media, the talent and your existing network
When entering a new market, you’ll be wanting to get in front of local journalists. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Before you hit the ground in your new market, reach out to the media people you’re interested in meeting before you’ve even landed. Do your research ahead of time and pack your days full of meetings. This lets you maximise your time so you can meet as many people as possible.
You’ll also need to track down local talent to take your business to the next level. Attending relevant industry networking events is a great place to start, which you can find by searching on sites like meetup.com, Eventbrite, or simply through a Google search. This could be conferences, panels, award evenings, and other professional development sessions. Not only will you be able to enhance your own skills and knowledge, but you can suss out the talent within the crowd.
Finally, it’s important to utilise your existing network. You mightn’t realise how many relevant connections you actually have who can introduce you to people in your new market. Personally, I like to look up my LinkedIn connections, friends and associates who live in, will be in, or have previously lived in that market while I’m in town, and ask if they want to meet up.
Local knowledge in a new market goes a long way, don’t be afraid to ask someone to show you the ropes.
Use the right tools
Just as you can easily track down events, the digital age also offers an abundance of tools that make it easier for you to find the right people. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional way of calling and emailing still goes a long way to cut through the noise, but you might need a helping hand to find those people to call in the first place.
LinkedIn is a great starting place – its search function enables you to track down people by location, job title and company, and you can search within your existing network to find new leads. It’s important to keep on top of your account by growing your network, connecting with people and reaching out via InMail.
Twitter is also a useful platform to start conversations with people in your industry. You’ll also discover new people under the ‘suggestions’ feature that you may not have come across otherwise.
Media contact databases are also out there, so why not take advantage of them? Isentia and Cision are a couple of brands, which you can use to build a list and commence further research.
Get your hustle on
Becoming successful in a new market doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve found that going slow and steady can win the race. You’ve taken the time to build your existing business, why rush your global venture?
At the end of the day, persistence wins.
About the author
Fred Schebesta is the CEO and co-founder of global comparison site, finder.com and finder.com.au. Fred is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, mentor and regular keynote speaker. He recently spoke to Dynamic Business. See: “Only the paranoid survive”: finder.com.au’s co-founder on future-proofing his business.