Anyone with experience in entrepreneurism will tell you the importance of networking, and the secret is out that shared office spaces are highly effective networking environments (just read our Pros and Cons of Leasing a Co-working Space). So how do you network in a shared office space? It requires more than just a nod and a smile as you pass your co-worker in the doorway. Some methods are more effective than others, and these are our top 7 tips:
1. Have your elevator pitch ready
An elevator pitch is exactly as the name implies: a business pitch you can explain in an elevator. One of the first questions a co-worker will ask you is ‘what does your business do?’ You’ve only got seconds to appeal to someone’s interest; get straight to the point. Your elevator pitch must be a succinct, easy to understand, and a memorable description of your business. And don’t forget to be passionate about what your saying!
2. Make a point of introducing yourself to everyone
Say hi to your neighbours. It’s more than just good manners; your co-workers will most likely remember you as a genuinely friendly person. Which is important when you want them to recommend your business to someone they know. You don’t want to be that person nobody interacts with because you didn’t introduce yourself and appear aloof and unapproachable. Fortunately, most introductions will occur organically, but always seize an opportunity to say hi and be friendly to newcomers. This is the first step in creating your shared office space network.
3. Invest in some good business cards and promotional material
Why limit your business cards to clients? Your co-workers can be just as important for setting up potential business collaborations in the future. Get some memorable business cards made and leave them in the communal kitchen or lunch areas. Make sure they clearly state who you are what your business is about. Investing in some notepads or pens with your company logo on them is always a subtle way to keep your business right under their noses.
4. Attend and host events in your co-working space
Many co-working spaces offer social and/or business events for their tenants, where you are guaranteed to make connections with other entrepreneurs. Connecting with co-workers outside of work hours is a great way give your business a more personable edge. A lot of people become more relaxed and open when they’re not dealing with the pressures of the work day. And if you can’t attend any scheduled events, why not host your own? Hosting launch parties, exhibitions, or workshops are effective means of putting your business in the spotlight for an evening.
5. Eat lunch in the community area
Although it’s tempting to throw down a sandwich sitting at your desk, you are missing a great opportunity to network. Lunch breaks are a valuable time to really get to know your co-workers and their businesses. The interactions don’t necessarily need to be about business; keep it warm and friendly and lay the foundations for professional relationships.
6. Take your networking online
This may seem redundant, given that you share an office space, but effective networking goes beyond face-to-face conversations. Many businesses operate in unconventional hours or travel a lot, so connect with them on LinkedIn and social media. Sharing contact information is a great way to facilitate communication if one of you moves on to a new space.
7. Offer barter services
Another popular way in which businesses network with each other is by work trade. This is when two businesses can mutually benefit each other by providing products or services. When a business offers something you need, consider asking them to provide their service in exchange for something your business can do for them.
Furthermore, shared office spaces provide rare network opportunities that regular office spaces can’t. The potential for collaboration, business development and personal growth is limitless, so seize every networking opportunity you get. A new partnership or business contract could be just one introduction away!
- When we talk about flexibility in the workplace, we’re not suggesting you incorporate some Bikram Yoga into your morning meetings (although any excuse to wear yoga pants to work is probably worth consideration). No, we’re referring to a business’ ability to adapt to changes and transform itself. Having a flexible…