By: Amy Donohue
Networking. You either love it, or you hate it. Either way, if you are in the cannabis industry in 2018, it’s crucial for your brand or business.
The modern cannabis industry has been built on networking, whether in person at events, or on social media. We don’t have the luxury of being able to put ads all over the place, and to use many methods of marketing. With advertising restrictions on cannabis, you have to be creative on how you spend your dollars, which also equates to time well-spent.
I love networking. Being behind a screen most of the day, it’s the only way for me to meet new people in the cannabis industry. Many people talk about how much they hate it, but it really is crucial if you want to succeed in cannabis.
It sounds simple enough: Networking is a system of sharing information and services among like-minded people.
But how do you start, especially in an industry full of stigma? How do you find others who have the same passion for cannabis?
It could be in person at a local networking event. Most cities now have various events to meet others.
There are several trade shows a month in the industry, too. Some are niche, so do your research before buying a ticket. Trade show life is expensive, so as an entrepreneur, I pick out 3 solid shows a year, and leave room for one more, just in case.
Or, you could be utilizing professional social networks like LinkedIn to get to know other people in your field/industry. Search for groups on LinkedIn with a lot of interaction. I’ve been in one for Cannabis Investors and Entrepreneurs for a few years now and have gotten a few clients out of there.
Don’t discount your LinkedIn network! Use the Published Posts feature to showcase your talent and expertise. When people visit your profile, they can see all of those posts.
Connect with people who interest you or could help your business. Don’t add just everyone. Numbers don’t matter if no relationships are built.
Set goals for yourself for networking, whether it’s online or at an event. Typically, I set up a meeting with a new person before networking meetings. I do this for two reasons: 1. I’m already going, so I may as well kill two birds with one stone; 2. It makes them attend the networking event. Even if they go in, make a round of the room, and leave, at least they did the hardest thing: Showed up.
Send follow-up emails the next day, while everyone is still fresh on your mind. It makes you look like you’re on the ball, too! I have a little trick for those follow-up emails. For the people I speak to in person, I put their cards next to my laptop as soon as I get home from the event. This sets me up for emailing people first thing the next morning.
And, finally, spend your time talking with new people. I do not need to pay $25 to talk to my friends, who I talk to every day. I am there to meet new people, build my brands, and connect those who would work well together.
Do you love networking? Hate it? Need more tips? Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org