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更新时间:2014-3-26 14:24:36 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

The Right Way to Network

With startup-themed conferences, hackathons, meet-ups and cocktail hours regularly taking place, entrepreneurs are in no short supply of opportunities to meet people who could be helpful to their startups.

But there's a lot more to developing fruitful business relationships than simply showing up at popular venues. Entrepreneurs first need to determine who might be the best folks to seek out as potential co-founders, investors and board directors. Then, they need to figure out a smart way to approach them.

This week, entrepreneurs and investors on The Accelerators, a blog on startups, offered their best tips for making valuable business connections. Edited excerpts:

Stop Networking, Make Friends

'Networking' is a terrible word. It belongs to that family of awkward nouns-that-have-become-verbs: trend, bookmark, friend and blog, among others.

The problem is that it's a self-defeating word. Networking is about cultivating relationships that will prove useful in a work capacity. But you don't build these relationships by actively 'networking.' A truly productive network is the byproduct of making friends.

Friendship is the first step. But a funny thing tends to happen as we get to know our friends better: We start to ask fewer work-related questions. We start to put up a wall between our 'work' life and our 'personal' life. There may even be a vague sense that it's rude to talk about work too much. This is too bad, because nobody is better equipped than our friends to recognize our strengths, weaknesses and interests -- the exact qualities that forge a strong network.

My takeaway advice is twofold: You can never have too many friends and remind yourself to be inquisitive about your friends' work and communicative about yours.

-- Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby Parker, New York

Always Show Up Early

Some of the most lasting contacts and friendships that I have developed began by just grabbing a drink or breaking bread with a stranger at an industry event. From Mumbai to Moscow, Tulsa to Tokyo, here are my favorite tips for networking:

Be the first to arrive. Whether the event is an industry conference, trade show or seminar, everyone that shows up early feels awkward. The room is massive and you wonder if the three people standing around you are the only ones planning to show up. This is the best time to break the ice and get to know others.

Fly first or business class. Normally this would be considered an unnecessary huge expense for startups to undertake. But it can actually generate business. If you are going to a major trade show or event (think Davos or Midem), the people you really want to meet are flying at the front of the plane. To keep your CFO happy, fly back coach.

Get active in charities supported by your industry. There is no better feeling than doing well while you are doing good. The thankless hours that go into planning charity dinners, running a carnival and gathering donations for silent auctions are noticed and appreciated by both those at the top of the food chain as well as those at the bottom.

Speak on panels. Try to become a thought leader on a topic of paramount importance to your business and your industry.

-- Jay Samit, executive chairman of Realty Mogul, Los Angeles

Manage Your Connections

The most impressive entrepreneurs I know recognize their value is much more than the product they're building.

We send each other interesting articles relevant to topics we've discussed. We make mutual introductions to other entrepreneurs, investors and press. We (try to) attend each other's events. It is a professional friendship, and if there's a more meaningful opportunity to be helpful to one another, we'll both step right up.

Unfortunately, most people are truly terrible relationship managers. They treat networking like a scavenger hunt, racing to associate themselves with the people they view as potentially influential. Here's some advice:

Don't mindlessly attend events. If you're in FinTech and attending three e-commerce launch parties a week, you're misspending valuable time. Be thoughtful and targeted about where you go and especially how you spend your time.

Take advantage of existing networks.

Avoid trying too hard. Name dropping, bragging, embellishing your accomplishments -- don't fool yourself that people can't see through it. Startup communities are surprisingly small and disingenuous behavior isn't going to make you popular. Smile, be friendly, shake hands and ask questions.

-- Christina Bechhold, co-founder of Empire Angels, New York



近期,参与本报初创企业博客The Accelerators撰写的企业家和投资者们就如何建立有价值的商务关系给出了自己的宝贵经验。下文是经过编辑的经验摘录:






——尼尔·布鲁门萨尔(Neil Blumenthal),纽约Warby Parker公司的联合创始人




搭乘头等舱或商务舱。通常,对于初创企业来讲,这项费用会被视为一笔不必要的大额支出。但是,搭乘头等舱或商务舱实际上能够带来生意。如果你正赶赴一场大型展销会或活动,比如达沃斯论坛(Davos forum)或戛纳国际音乐博览会(Midem),你真正想要结识的人都坐在飞机的前部。为了让公司的首席财务长开心,回程可以坐经济舱。



——杰伊·萨米特(Jay Samit),洛杉矶Realty Mogul公司的执行主席








——克里斯蒂娜·比奇荷尔德(Christina Bechhold),纽约Empire Angels公司的联合创始人