4. Join the startup community
There are many of these events these days. Startup weekend™, many incubation or accelerator programs, co-working space functions, government, university or local community backed events. Join them. If you are lucky, you may win and get some ‘pat on the back’ monetary rewards. But much more importantly, you will get to meet people in the community. Co-founders, mentors, or investors – all very important people. You never know. And it’s never too early to build a network and start to know the ecosystem. Whilst this is a mega generalisation, people in the startup community are generally helpful to each other. At the very least, they are people with very positive attitude – the only reason why they can survive in this field. And surround yourself with positive people can never be a bad thing.
Also, you should have a plan when you go to these events. Yes, quantity is important when you first start out, but for each event you should have an aim to at least have a couple of quality discussion. Quality discussion means people remember you. And people remember you (apart from your good look) generally because you are relevant or ‘useful’ to them. So engage in conversations that help convey that message/thought, rather than keep giving your startup idea the same old boring elevator pitches. Yes, investors follow founders more than startups (ideas)!
Another tip – if you do take a name card from someone, apart from getting connected on LinkedIn, jot a few notes on the card. These notes do not have to be business related (good if they are though): it could a hobby that person talks about passionately; it could be their children (yes, parents are always passionate!). If you get a chance to meet the person again, these notes will make all the differences when you bring them up at the perfect moments.