In January 2016 we start a series of FREE workshops presented by SCORE and the SBA. This series with take you from start to finish on the process and options available for launching or growing a small business. It is for people looking for information and resources that can help them on their journey through being an entrepreneur. In addition to this ongoing series of workshops SCORE has chosen the BIC as a home for providing one on one counseling. Download the flyer or visit our meetup group to sign up.
We are pleased to announce that EforAll has chosen to make the BIC their home in Fall River. They have become our newest member of the coworking space. I will be working with this program volunteering time as a mentor to help young entrepreneurs launch their businesses and turn their ideas into viable products or services. For more information visit their web site: http://www.eforall.org
Through out the year you will see more programs around helping business development in our area. If you know folks interested in professional development or looking for help starting a business please call or stop by the BIC and we will help direct you to a program and resources that will best fit your needs.
Today we had a kick off meeting for launching a BNI Group here at the BIC. This was well attended by some great leaders from our community. Today's meeting was spearheaded by Clair Rousseau and lead by Brenda Curry. The Bussiness Network International (BNI) organization was started in 1985 to provide a positive, supportive, structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals.
Last year BNI passed Millions of referrals which generated billions of dollars worth of commerce. This is an exciting and vibrant organization and will prove to be a great resource for participating business owners.
If you want to grow your business and want to build your referral network, this is a perfect organization for you to participate in. To find out more you can visit the web site or join us at the BIC for a gathering. Join and keep an eye on our meetup pages listed on the BIC home page for scheduled meetings.
Here are some pics from today's kick off meeting:
This pastweek end I had the great pleasure to participate in StartUp weekend at the new Center for Innovation and Entreprenuership. This was part of SartUp week which is a global initiative to spawn entreprenuership. Learn more about the events and the organization by visiting https://startupweekend.org/
There were some fantastic mentors and innovative students and professionals from the community that participated in growing enthusiasm around entreprenuership. Teams were formed and they each build business concepts that were then pitched to a panel of judges. We even had Fall River Mayor elect Jasiel Correia II as one of the judges.
The winning team built a smart case "that makes your smart even phone smater". They will go on further in the competition but everyone that participated had a ton of fun and learned a lot through this process.
I was a mentor for the event and though I helped out with a couple of the teams I mostly worked with a team of 6 people passionate about growing PRIDE in the city of Fall River and beyond. Our team focused on building a business model around Community Engagement and using technology to collect and agregate useful data for the city, communities within it and tools for attracting future econimic growth. While most of the event took place at the CIE which is a branch of Umass Dartmouth we came over to the BIC Friday evening to brainstorm and collaborate.
Here are some pictures from the event:
Step One: Meeting new people
There are so many ways to network with other people whether it is planned events or you happen to find yourself running into a random group of people through friends. A great networker is always looking for opportunities to meet people because you never know who the next person might be or what they are capable of. This means going to events that are meant for networking. Going to get togethers or parties you might not have been originally interested in. It is okay to feel uncomfortable, that is a natural part of learning how to interact with others.
Step Two: Asking questions/becoming interested
What should you do when you do happen to run into someone new? Many people wait for the stranger to start asking the questions, which rarely happens. To find out more about the individual it is good to ask them questions that align with your interests. I bet you will find something in common with the newly found acquaintance. If you do not find any similarities between the two of you, the relationship was possibly not meant to happen and it is okay to move on, but be respectful at all times. Never burn any bridges because you never know when anyone can become a resource.
Step Three: Trying to create bonds through similar interests
Once you do find an individual with similar interests, continue the conversation in that direction. Try to learn about that person and become comfortable with them so by the end of the talk you feel you have gained insight on their life. Hopefully this process will begin to feel natural after a few attempts and then it will feel much easier to be able to go up to anyone even if they are already engulfed in another group. People enjoy talking to risk takers, the unusual people who take a while to unfold. Do not be that person who just talks for the sake of talking without ever getting anywhere. So boring!
Step Four: Work together
The exciting part is when you happen to meet someone who has similar interests, but is also intrigued in you as well. The questions go back and forth with each person digging a little deeper into the other individual's life. Many times this forms into a bond or a working relationship, if not just a good time. If the connection you guys have feels real, try to get their contact information as well as a reason for why you should meet up again. This could just be for a cup of coffee at the starbucks around the corner or maybe you have a project that you want to try to bring that person into. No matter what, it should feel amazing that you are networking with like minded individuals.
Step Five: Eventually gaining their network
After a while of non-stop networking, you should begin to truly use the relationship that have been created. Yes I said USE. This type of using is for both people to gain experience in the type of project you guys are being apart of. If anything, the person should be honored that you think they are good enough to work with. Over time the bond between you and the people in your new found network will become stronger. By that time new and old friends will begin to sync together to become part of a larger network. Eventually this will lead to great opportunities as long as everyone shares the same vision(s).
Step Six: Repeat
Just because you found one great networking group does not mean the task is over. You have to get right back out there and be looking for other interesting people at the next event. Once projects begin to materialize, you will have a better understanding of what type of people to look for. As long as the networking continues, the ideas and people will always be pouring in leading to better ideas that innovate society.