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Leigh Mitchell – The role of networking in entrepreneurship

Business workshop

Leigh Mitchell headshotWe’re continuing our networking theme with another blog interview! Today, we’re speaking with Leigh Mitchell, founder of Women in Biz Network and marketing consultant who helps business owners to grow and thrive in Canada.

In part 1 of this interview, Leigh talks about the importance of networking in entrepreneurship and the types of networking events entrepreneurs should attend. She’ll be back on the blog tomorrow to share 5 tips for hosting a networking event – so be sure to check back!

 

Welcome to the blog, Leigh! Why should entrepreneurs network and who should they network with?

Leigh Mitchell: Entrepreneurs have no choice but to network. Without a community of contacts who know and love you, I can guarantee you won’t get far with your business. The best networking is done with those who can support you and you them. It could be people within your industry, places where prospective customers are, and with people/places where you can learn more for your business.

 

WIBN provides both online and in-person networking opportunities. What are the advantages/disadvantages of networking online versus in person?

LM: Online networking creates a digital footpath for you to leave your mark. Whether it is participating in Twitter chats or answering questions for forums (like Quora or LinkedIn) you leave a searchable presence. WIBN has webinars frequently so you can easily participate in the comfort of your office. All of this is great but networking in-person builds the strongest business connections where you will more likely get referrals.

 

How should entrepreneurs prepare for a networking event? What should they bring?

LM: Entrepreneurs can prepare for a networking event by doing their homework on what the event is, understanding why they want to be there and then seeing if they can find out who will be attending in advance. Obviously you will want to bring your business cards but don’t turn people off by walking up to them and offering them a card without an obvious connection made. Be sure to write notes soon after you leave focused on who you met, what you talked about and how you are going to follow up.

 

What are things you should NEVER do at a networking event?

LM: Never leave your emotional intelligence at the door – bring it into the room with you. Don’t speak about yourself excessively and don’t brag or be cocky. You should be yourself, look for opportunities to be helpful and never be self-serving.

 

Many entrepreneurs have limited time. How should they decide which networking events to attend and which ones to skip?

LM: That is a very important question to always answer. Start by asking – Do I really need to be there? What will I get out of it? Will my target audience be there? Am I ready and present to take advantage of the opportunity?

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions about the role of networking in entrepreneurship and sharing some benefits of networking in business. Is there anything else you’d like to add about networking for entrepreneurs?

LM: Look to establish relationships that provide mutual value. Be strategic, kind and have fun. I have met fabulous friends at networking events. I consider myself very lucky to have met such interesting and accomplished people over the years.

 

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to get Leigh’s 5 tips for hosting a networking event!


WIBN logo

 

Supporting women to thrive and live their very best life

Women in Biz Network offers career, business, and mentoring resources for purpose driven, mindful women to thrive in business and life.

 

The network focuses on helping women to be happier, healthier and less isolated while increasing their success through mentorship, advocacy, skill-building events, and training. Women in Biz Network has been changing lives for over 7 years and is a community of 35,000 thriving women.

 

Contact Women in Biz Network

Phone: 416-993-2083

Email: info@womeninbiznetwork.com

Address: 703 Bloor Street West (201) Toronto, ON

AND listen to the Podcast: Thriveinmylife

 

About Leigh Mitchell

Leigh Mitchell is a marketing consultant helping business owners to grow and thrive in Canada. As the founder of Women in Biz Network, Leigh strives to increase the overall well-being and financial success of Canadian business women through mentorship, advocacy, and skill-building events. She took her business from a handful of moms in her community to over 35,000 women in just over 7 years. Leigh’s career has led her to successfully work with professional women and business owners, along with major brands such as GM Canada, Microsoft Canada, TELUS, Johnson & Johnson, Maple Leaf Foods, TD Canada Trust, Staples Canada and Penguin Random House Canada. Leigh has been featured on CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Living Magazine, Wall Street Journal and in other media and has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events.

 

Laura has a B.A. in Honours Communications Studies from McMaster University and is currently enrolled in Humber’s Public Relations Postgraduate program. She is passionate about writing and local business, so this blog is the perfect combination of the two.