The Best Networking Events to Attend in London for Entrepreneurs, Tech Start-Ups and Small Businesses

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When you are starting a business one of the most important elements for your marketing and promotions strategy should be networking. We can spend a lot of time thinking about our grand ideas, products and plans, but we learn a lot about our business when we speak to others articulately about it and generate interest through our face to face relationships in real time. 

Here are some of our favourite places to find networking events for entrepreneurs, tech start-ups and small businesses in London.

Where to Find Networking Events for London Entrepreneurs

Silicon Drinkabout by 3 Beards

We had to add this to the list. We love the Silicon Drinkabout for its informal structure and its fun crowd of like-minded of entrepreneurs and techies. Plus, they meet weekly in different locations all over the world, so you’ll never run out of new faces to meet on a Friday night, wherever your business takes you.

Your Co-working Space or Serviced Offices

Make sure to regularly check your favourite co-working space for some great events and networking opportunities. You are sure to keen entrepreneurs and business owners with whom you can develop some strong connections. For example, WeWork and The Office Group host fantastic workshops, breakfasts, and events for their members to socialise and meet with others in a relaxed and informal way.

Google Campus Events

The Google Campus is the perfect hub for tech start-ups. Entrepreneurs can attend workshops and classes while also providing the space and events to find your next investor, mentor, founder or recruit. Networking with a dose of digital learning included.

Alumni Events

Graduate from a university? Or maybe you have a friend who has? Perhaps you finished a short course or qualification certificate? We find keeping in touch with your school networks can be a goldmine for building conversations, as you often already have a common link. Find your local chapter and see how you can get involved.

Meetup and EventBrite

We like using Meetup and EventBrite when we are searching for specific industry events to go to. Looking for a networking event specifically for female founders? Or do you want to share a pint chatting with people in your niche industry? There are new meet-up groups popping up everyday and these are great for targeting connection with people just like you.

Local Community Groups

Don’t underestimate the power of networking and connecting with local players around you. You never know how you may be able to help and serve members of your local community with your business and vice-versa.

Remember, social isn’t the only type of networking for entrepreneurs. Sometimes, a business can't be built behind a laptop alone. Get out there and take to real, live people to help build and strengthen your business. And when you need operational support to ensure your start up is running smoothly while you make connections, make sure to contact us at sales@costartupandgo.com to help with your virtual support needs.

Did we miss an event source or do you host a networking event that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments. 

The Key to Networking Successfully as an Entrepreneur

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For any entrepreneur or business owner, networking is an essential element to success. It not only brings the potential for building contacts within your industry, it also provides opportunities to gain prospective clients and customers.

MANY ENTREPRENEURS SEE NETWORKING AS A CHALLENGE

Oftentimes  it can be nerve-wracking entering a room full of strangers and try to get them interested in who you are and what you have to offer. If you are naturally introverted, then networking can feel like even more of a daunting feat.

However, the benefits of networking for entrepreneurs and their businesses are so great, that it really is important to overcome the challenges and get it right. Having spoken to several key networkers across a broad spectrum of industries, the one key piece of advice to stick to when networking is this:

ALWAYS GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE.

If you want to be successful at networking and make real relationships that can benefit you - take YOU out of it.

When you walk into a room full of strangers at a networking event, the main goal should be to meet people you find interesting and see how you might be able to help THEM. Make it about their needs. Don’t make it about what you can get out of it.

If you stick to this key rule when networking, then you make real connections, and those connections will be clamouring to get back in touch with you - where you'll be inundated with ways you can partner with each other. From there you can grow a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

The 5 Types of Mentors for Your Start-Up

Mentor and entrepreneur

Making good decisions comes from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. 

The fastest way to success as an entrepreneur is to fail fast and to learn from your mistakes. To reach even higher levels of success, you should have a voice to guide you so you don’t have to make too many of your own mistakes, you can learn from theirs.

These days mentorship isn’t only about the wise old sage that gives you a map on how to do business. Mentors can come in different shapes and sizes. Here are the five types of mentors your business needs:

The industry guru that provides guidance and inspiration. This mentor is the established professional with years of experience that you can go to to pick their brains and share a coffee.

The networker offers relationships and opportunities that may not be in your industry, opens you to new doors and ideas that you may not have known before and introduces you to people in other fields that can accelerate your growth.

The consultants are specialists in their fields are there to support you whether it comes to marketing, product, business development, operations, finance, etc. You can always count on them to help you make decisions about each aspect of your business with a clear perspective.

The money and investment head provides invaluable insight on how to grow your business and make it profitable, steering you in the right direction and ensuring your business is optimised for revenue and growth.

And lastly it is great to lean on a smart and trusted friend with whom you can bounce ideas, share stories and do a little venting when the occasion calls for it. An impartial ear can help you to clarify your thoughts and gain perspective.

Advice, guidance and a helping hand are incredibly important as you start and continue your business journey. If you need support in your business, contact us now to find out how we can help your start-up.

Key SEO Basics for Start-Ups

SEO

Are you building a start-up and need to know the basics of how to grow your business online organically? Do you have your website and maybe you’ve set up Google Analytics, but you are wondering why your ideal customers aren’t coming to your site and buying your products or services?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is still one of the most important factors to making your site search engine friendly and getting customers to your site. We love the guides from MozSEMRush, and Kissmetrics – but sometimes, it’s good to just have the basic fundamentals for your start-up – without too much technical jargon.

Optimising your website doesn’t have to be difficult – it’s an ongoing process that is essential to growing your business and it is constantly changing. So whether you choose to adapt to the waters and keep up to date with SEO or hire someone to do it for you, let’s take a look at the crucial elements for SEO for start-ups. 

Search Engine Optimisation for Start-Ups

Keywords

When doing keyword research, think about search intent, rather than just search terms. And then make sure that your site actually uses the words that people are searching for. Know your niche and stay relevant in it. We like using Google's AdWords Keyword Tool and Keyword.IO when doing keyword research.

A blog is an excellent way to stay relevant for both your audience and for Google bots as you are constantly updating your site and staying fresh in your industry. Moreover, there is an opportunity here for harnessing rankings for long tail keywords that your audience wants to know more about.

Using a combination of keyword research, Google suggest and related search, plus your customers’ questions and comments can help you in creating a regular content calendar that keeps your brand on the top of the Search Engine Results Page.

Content Creation

One of the keys to SEO is creating and scaling keyword-targeted, valuable, and unique content. It needs to be relevant, helpful, unique, and user-friendly.

This content can be in the form of blog posts, branded images, social media updates, email newsletter, infographics, white papers, e-books, downloadable PDFs, podcasts, video, webinars, workshops – any type of content that a consumer can engage with and consume. The first step in this is to know your audience and how they like to engage with your industry. Then create a funnel that takes your customer from discoverer of your brand to buyer.

And remember, once that content has been created, don't just hit publish. Share it, promote it on a rotating schedule, analyse it, expand it, make it better, mention it to influencers, etc.

Accessibility

Another important factor in improving search traffic is to simply make your site search friendly and accessible to search engines. Search engines are limited to how they can crawl the web and your site, so making your content indexable is an easy way to ensure visibility.

What does that mean? Images should be assigned relevant alt tags, audio and video should have transcripts, Flash content should have HTML text, URL links should have crawlable structures, images should be compressed, pages should load quickly. Does your start-up’s site pass these tests? See what we mean? Quite a bit of work, but worth it to have your site structured in the right way (Let us know if you're stuck here - we can help you).

Also make sure to use Webmaster Tools (Search Console) to make sure your site and its new content are being indexed regularly.

Inbound And Outbound Links

Make sure to link to authoritative and respected sites in your industry to show your brand’s trustworthiness. And in turn, you want other sites to link back to you. Guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and sharing on forums are all great methods for providing this social proof.

But let’s take it one step further. Instead of simply thinking about buying (which Google may penalise you for) or building links, Google is more interested in how your website can earn links editorially. In other words, your website needs to be seen as an authority by other well-trafficked and reputable sites, and you have to earn your stripes with your content and partnerships.

It’s so much more important today to take the time to build relationships with influencers and sites who are willing to amplify your message and content. This can take time, but it’s also where an integrated PR, publicity and content strategy, both online and off, comes into play.

Social Media

Use social media to amplify your content. Schedule consistent social media updates at specified times throughout the day at a schedule that works for you and your audience. It’s not about spamming your customers or readers, it’s about sharing relevant and timely information to your audience and making your brand trustworthy and significant in your industry.

Quick tip - make sure that you are building relationships on Google+ and sharing your content updates there. It may be the outlier in terms of social media, but Google's algorithm makes it a must-have in your social toolbox. 

Do you need help with your site's SEO?

In 2017, great SEO encompasses so many different areas – including email, mobile, links, crawl, user experience, localisation, rankings and much more. Let's face it, a great content strategy takes time and investment.

If you’d like some help in improving and maintaining your SEO for your website, feel free to get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation to discuss the value we can bring to your startup.

Email us at sales@costartupandgo.com

3 Essentials To Marketing You & Your Business Online

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You Web Presence Needs To Effectively Communicate Who You Are And What You Do.

Being smart with your marketing ensures that your message gets heard and maximises your success.

Before you start paying for advertising you may not need and get overwhelmed, here are three essentials steps to take to ensure marketing your business online is a success.

1.     Research & Planning

This is all about understanding your customer and developing the right content plan and strategy that speaks to them personally. You have to know who you are talking to and understand them inside and out. Who is your ideal customer and what do they need? What do they want, what are their hopes, their pain points? Now map out content and messaging around that. This gets their attention and gives them a reason to want to connect with you.

This research stage is about getting to know your customer and building a relationship with them, listening to them, and understanding them. 

2.     Discoverability & Relevance

If you Google yourself or your business, what comes up? Are your customers going to find you? Since you’ve done your research in the first instance, you should know where your customers hang out online, what platforms are relevant to them, and what events they attend.

Ensure that you are playing in the right field and are talking to the right people before you spend any money on advertising. Remember, the best time to market to your audience is when they are already interested in your brand. So make sure you are consistent in building relationships, content, and authority in the right places, ensuring your brand’s relevancy and your customers’ interest.

SEO is a powerful tool to help you get discovered, and you can bootstrap to get yourself started

3.     Systems & Tools

The last step is to ensure you have systems and support in place for consistent action. For example, how are you capturing leads? How are you communicating with your customers?

This includes your email marketing and blog posts, but also includes your tweets, Facebook posts, your website copy, etc.

It’s also key to maintain a consistent tone of voice and brand image for your business, so your customers know that it is you speaking across all platforms. That consistency builds trust, and trust leads to real connection with your customers.

In the beginning it can feel like a one-way conversation, but this is why it is so important to have tools and systems in place, so you don’t get overwhelmed or worried.

And when you do start to get too busy to handle yourself or you just want someone else to do it this is when flexible resources come in to play. As a director, owner or entrepreneur, work towards automating or delegating as many of these tasks as possible so you can work on your business by building and maintaining relationships, rather than in your business worrying about SEO and search.

Do you NEED SOME FLEXIBLE support for your business? GET IN TOUCH now to get your free initial consultation.

The Operations Superstar & How This Can Save Your Start Up

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The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Move Your Start Up Forwards Is To Get The Right Help At The Start.

So this person needs to be an all singing all dancing superstar who has the flexibility and the skills you need, in the one role.

The opportunity to keep the original core team as lean as possible is appealing to new business owners, and why not?

If you get the right person with the right skills this can move your business to exactly where it needs to be without employing multiple people (and reducing the amount of time delegating to multiple parties)

This of course, is where the idea for CoStartup & Go originally stemmed from. Offering all of these services in one hit, and also access to individual experts in each area a start up needs help in – now that is Start-Up lean for you!

So What Skills Does This Type Of Operations Superstar Need & What Will They Do?

Understanding  of the overall business plan/direction and how to take it there – knowing how to assess what needs to be done operationally, mapping it out and implementing it.

Previous experience in start ups and project management is a must to be able to run with the demands and changes that a start up brings. They will be given a lot of responsibility to just ‘get things done’ so they will need to have skills in all areas of business.

Projects can range from implementing systems and processes in Office Management, Health and Safety, IT, Finances and HR from recruiting to on boarding and keeping the team happy!

Don’t forget that they will also be the one helping the senior management team keep their investors/board happy. One of the main priorities in any start-up will be ensuring business growth is meeting their expectations, so while the directors need to focus on the business, they will need to make sure they have what they need when they need it and know what is going on at all times.

With a focus on keeping them client / business facing they will need to understand what they have to do and when it needs to get done by and enable the leadership team to look good at all times! This means they may need an understanding of all areas of the business, from operations to marketing to finance, etc.

Essentially they are the ‘go to person’ the absolute lynchpin in moving the company to where it needs to be. The ‘doer’.

At this level they should have a trusty black book of contacts who can assist in all areas of operations. From IT companies to HR consultants to a good handyman; all of whom they have worked with before and can get in at a moments notice and more importantly with a good deal!

What Core Character Traits Does This Person Have?

Entrepreneurialism - A willingness to take smart and timely risks into the unknown and jump in head first

Creativity - Coming up with new ideas without the fear of being wrong 

Agility – Thinking on their feet and quick reflexes to handle problems when they arise

Forward Thinking - Keeping on the pulse of what's happening in the business and in the industry they are working in to anticipate problems and spark up solutions

Strong prioritisation skills - Knowing how to manage people, tasks and project efficiently and calmly under pressure

Comfortable with change – Happy to work towards an ever changing common goal!

Confident in their own ability - Being able to speak up, and knowing when to say YES and NO. 

Where Can I Get One Of These Guys? 

With more and more start ups launching all the time, there is a growing demand for finding the very best core team to get everything up and running.

However the pot luck of finding the person with all of the above skills is very slim. The experience and character traits of this are difficult to come by and in fact are less than 10% of the operational support available in the marketplace.

This is where CoStartup & Go come in...

We have a strong team of operations level start up assistants who can hit the ground running and help move your start up forwards in leaps and bounds. We know what you need and how to deliver it. Seamlessly

INTERESTED?

GET IN TOUCH for your free consultation sales@costartupandgo.com

 

Delegation Is The Key To Growing Your Startup

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As an entrepreneur running your startup, your business success and productivity depends entirely upon you and your decisions. Everything from website design and search engine marketing to business operations and monthly finances is dependent on you

One of the most valuable secrets of highly successful entrepreneurs is actually quite simple: they don’t try to do everything themselves. They delegate their work so they can grow at a faster rate than they could do on their own. But don't just take our word for it - here are 40 highly successful entrepreneurs giving evidence to why they hired virtual assistants.

But for some, it can be challenging to give up control, confusing to know where to start looking for people for your team, and seemingly expensive to hire a full-time employee. 

This is where hiring virtual support from a consultative team can exponentially help your business. The scope of remote working is changing and for many start-up and small business owners, VAs offer lean and flexible benefits. Moreover, company growth comes from more than just diary management and administrative tasks. Having a core support team that can adapt to your needs – whether it’s bookkeeping, social media, IT support, video editing, or event organisation – can help increase productivity and growth in your business, and also offer a better work-life balance for you.

It’s time to get more productive so you can focus on the most important aspects of your business. Here's how you can do it:

Visualise Success & Set Goals

Get clear about what your business goals are and how you want to achieve them. Create solid systems and processes that work for your business. At this point, you can get a better grasp on what areas you will need to invest in for the long term. You set clear expectations about what you want and need and it is easier to bring someone in to help you achieve those goals in a collaborative way.

Let Go And Delegate Tasks, Projects Or Business Functions To Your Operational Support Team

Focus on what motivates you, what moves you, what you started your business for in the first place. When you spend your time doing the things you love in the business, your creativity and great ideas come to the forefront much faster. Then you can communicate to your support team how to execute those ideas, so you can move on to the next one.

Communicate With & Effectively Manage Your Start Up Assistant

Once you have systems in place, consistent communication is key to maintaining an effective and successful relationship with your virtual assistant. Mapping out your goals with your Startup Assistant and then being able to constantly check in with him or her, via email, phone or Skype, sets an expectation for excellence and ensures that your investment in a flexible team is always adding value.

One of the great aspects of CoStartup & Go’s services is our consultative approach to operational support. You will be engaging an experienced team that adapts with your changing business needs.

Get in touch at sales@costartupandgo.com and we can see which package can fit your business needs in a FREE initial consultation.

5 Top Tips To Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

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The biggest secret to an entrepreneur’s success? They don’t try and do everything by themselves. It’s a phrase we've probably all heard before, but often we forget to put it into action.

As you’ve started your business, have you ever felt or done any of the following?

·      Feeling like you are running on empty

·      Feeling overwhelmed

·      Taking your work home with you

·      Decreased Productivity

If so, you may be experiencing entrepreneurial burnout, and if you want to ensure any type of success for you and your business, you should make some changes. Get out of a mental rut by changing your scenery and your normal routine. Change your work environment for a day if you can to clear your head. But most likely, you may need some wider changes like re-structuring your business strategy or expanding your team with virtual support to combat this common pitfall.

Here are CoStartup & Go’s top tips to stop and prevent entrepreneurial burnout:

Re-Balance.

This is and will always be the first step. Taking care of your emotional, physical and mental well-being. The easiest and fastest way to bring yourself back to balance is to get a good night’s sleep and to increase your water intake. Balancing your body can go a long way in helping you become more productive as an entrepreneur.

Get Organised. Get Clarity.

Making time to organise yourself and your business will allow for some much-needed strategic vision for the entrepreneurial journey. What people often don’t realise is that as an entrepreneur or startup, there is so much changeable action that occurs and that your business needs to be ready for. Funding doesn’t come through? Pivot your product or service line. Funding does come through? Ramp up your marketing efforts. Being able to execute your plan while staying flexible is a true key to sustained success.

Schedule Breaks.

For entrepreneurs, we know that the clock never truly stops, and that if you want doors to open, YOU are the only one who can make it happen. But creativity and ideas emerge when your mind is still, when you allow yourself to focus on other things, and when you take some time off. Make it a part of your day to take short breaks to allow your brain to expand and your imagination to wander. And make sure you make a conscious effort to shut the laptop down a few nights and weekends.

Delegate.

If you are wondering how you are ever going to get all your work done now that you are sleeping so much and taking breaks – the answer is easy: Focus your work efforts on the most important tasks that add value to your business. Avoid time suckers and tasks that take up much of your time and energy but in the end, can be done by others. Investing in a virtual assistant is so important as it allows you to excel in the areas that you are best at, and you can outsource and collaborate with others on areas you don’t have time for. But don’t limit your scope here – startups and entrepreneurs can use virtual support for social media, web development, bookkeeping, email management, marketing administration, events management and much more.

Gather A Support System.

Going it alone with an idea and a laptop is admirable, but can quickly get lonely and discouraging if you don’t have a smart network around you. Slowly build a support system around you with people whom you can bounce ideas off, keep you motivated, and at times can keep you accountable. Using a flexible co-working space is perfect for fuelling natural relationships. Check out the options at The Office Group for flexible co-working memberships.

Ultimately, success as an entrepreneur isn’t about the number of hours you put in, but about what you do with those hours. Are you using your time wisely? Why not book a free consultation with CoStartup & Go to see how we can help increase your productivity?

The 5 Types of Mentors for Your Start-Up

Mentor and entrepreneur

Making good decisions comes from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. 

The fastest way to success as an entrepreneur is to fail fast and to learn from your mistakes. To reach even higher levels of success, you should have a voice to guide you so you don’t have to make too many of your own mistakes, you can learn from theirs.

These days mentorship isn’t only about the wise old sage that gives you a map on how to do business. Mentors can come in different shapes and sizes. Here are the five types of mentors your business needs:

The industry guru that provides guidance and inspiration. This mentor is the established professional with years of experience that you can go to to pick their brains and share a coffee.

The networker offers relationships and opportunities that may not be in your industry, opens you to new doors and ideas that you may not have known before and introduces you to people in other fields that can accelerate your growth.

The consultants are specialists in their fields are there to support you whether it comes to marketing, product, business development, operations, finance, etc. You can always count on them to help you make decisions about each aspect of your business with a clear perspective.

The money and investment head provides invaluable insight on how to grow your business and make it profitable, steering you in the right direction and ensuring your business is optimised for revenue and growth.

And lastly it is great to lean on a smart and trusted friend with whom you can bounce ideas, share stories and do a little venting when the occasion calls for it. An impartial ear can help you to clarify your thoughts and gain perspective.

Advice, guidance and a helping hand are incredibly important as you start and continue your business journey. If you need support in your business, contact us now to find out how we can help your start-up.