Looking for advice from successful entrepreneurs – how do you manage networking events for entrepreneurs?

I am looking for some advice on time management.  Should I be going to startup events and networking or is my time best spent working on my product?

I’m feeling really frustrated with going to networking events, and trying to explain my business to a bunch of people (often old white men).  Or I end up talking to the same folks I see at every event.

I’d love to hear from others what events were helpful and what events should be avoided.

 


  • I think you should avoid networking events and focus on your product. I’ve been down that road and it’s a huge waste of time. Once you build a successful product, people will be lining up to speak with you and give you money or help you in other ways.

    People who go to networking events hoping for someone to help them succeed come across as desperate, which is why most important people tend to avoid them.

    Before he became famous, Bill Gates tried to speak to Steve Jobs at a conference and was ignored because at the time Gates was a nobody. But, did he let that stop him?

    Point being that once you build something worthy of respect, people will come to you rather than the other way around.

  • I agree there are other ways to network not just at events aimed at networking. Some of my most useful contacts have come from going to meet ups or doing things i love that have nothing to do with my business. Do not worry about it so much. Or you could try networking online

  • “Should I be going to startup events and networking or is my time best spent working on my product?”

    How far along is your product, and how do these events help your product/company? It’s easy to waste time on fluff.

  • I will partially disagree. If you can speak at events that get you lots of pub (and you are ready) it is worth going. The opportunities to run into people who you want as advisors is really only true at major events like sxsw or TED. If you can get a fellowship and speak at either of these – it is gold.

  • Most networking events are massive wastes of time for most companies. The obvious exception is if your company that does PR, Marketing, Social Media, etc. and/or your company expressly sells to vertical doing the event.

  • Marketing and Networking are continuous activities. You should be doing throughout your organization’s lifecycle. You have to be smart on the networking events to go to because if you go to everything, that’s all you will be doing. What is your goal? To meet VCs, meet other entrepreneurs, generate buzz for your product, like speaking or demo’g, or something else? Whatever your immediate goal is, align with those types of networking opportunities. You should be going to at least one event a week. Also, are you the only one in your org now or are there others? If the latter, have certain people attend certain things. But be smart on the ones to go to, if you go once or twice, and you aren’t getting anything out of it, try a different event. You are investing your time so you do want a return sooner than later.

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