Saturday I was at the University of Tampa for the Southeast Entrepreneur Conference, where college students came together to pitch business ideas and to listen to some great speakers -- young ones who now only started businesses but were, to use Gary Vee's phrase, Crushing It!
Jonathan Kay is the Ambassador of Buzz for Grasshopper Group, a company that provides virtual PBX to small businesses plus other services like Chargify. He spoke about The Path to Entrepreneurship, by which he means go work for an entrepreneurial company before you launch your own just to get some knowledge and experience. Jonathan then presented at lunch for 10 minutes on Getting Started.
To get started you have to Network. Period. Face to face as well as online.
It's all about the Human Network (ask Cisco). Be human and be energetic. I like to remind people that I hire on Attitude first, skills second. In today's marketplace, Attitude counts more, since the skills and knowledge are usually not readily available.
He explained that it's awkward to network, but you just need to embrace it and have fun. (Kind of like cold calling or door knocking in sales.) No different than a high school dance, networking events are cliquey. Be Bold. Bring a wingman.
BTW, it's not about how many business cards you collect or give away - it's about how many Connections you actually make. (And you can't judge a book by its cover. Ever.)
"Create win-win-win situations!" Mr. Kay proclaimed (seemingly from Seth Godin's Linchpin, which remarks that being a Linchpin is about being a Connector. So connect people.
Give before you get. As Jeffrey Gitomer states, "Give Value first."
LISTEN!!! Not just talk, listen. You will hear some tidbits of information.
From my own experience: We exist in a very small world. The more people you meet, the smaller it will appear.
During his talk, Jonathan mentioned the Anti-Resume Revolution, a book by Angela Lussier of