Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs must take advantage of any networking opportunity presented to them.  It is a great way to tell potential clients and referral sources about you and your business.  Your goal is to make a positive and professional impression resulting in the listener wanting to learn more about your business product or service.  It is important that you properly prepare for these encounters by developing what is called an ‘elevator pitch,  a 30-second answer to the questions “Tell me about yourself”.  Some suggestions for accomplishing this important speech:

  • Prepare.  Your presentation time is limited.  Think about what the listener needs to know in order to become a client or a good referral source.  Emphasize your business and educational background and experience.  Think about what information will influence the listener to become a client or to refer other potential clients to you. 
  •  Practice.  Compose your speech in writing and then practice giving your speech to others.  Your goal is to make it both impressive and natural.  It is not a sales pitch;  it is an opportunity to influence others and you need to be ready to give your speech at any time and in any situation.
  • Seek Opportunities.  Always look for opportunities to deliver your elevator pitch.  You want others to learn more about you and your business, to become confident enough with you to possibly become a client or perhaps refer some of their own clients, friends, or business partners to you.
  • Contact Information.  Remember to provide a business card or other marketing collateral with your current contact information. 
  • Give Back.  Be sure to learn about the listener’s background and business.  Networking is a two-way street.  You will want to learn about their business in order to also make appropriate referrals to them.  Your ultimate goal is to not only earn new business but to increase your value as referral source to other entrepreneurs and business owners.

About the Author(s)

Pittsburgh SCORE Mentor
Make Networking WORK For You