South Africa

Leveraging the Power of Networking

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Events and Insights for South African Entrepreneurs
This article covers:
Strategies to Leverage Events and Build Your Network
Two Key Events on Funding and Sales to Watch Out For

Building a business can be a lonely journey, especially when looking to scale your operations. The ease comes when you can find community, guidance, and unique industry insights.

About half of the businesses in South Africa attribute the primary reason for their success to cultivating strong personal networks. Therefore as a business owner in South Africa, it’s important to find community of like-minded business people and learn about unique industry insights that can propel your business efforts and thrive in these challenging times.

Attending industry events relevant to your business needs can go a long way in enabling you to network with key industry practitioners, and gain access to information and guidance to support your business.

Like Sandras Phiri, Director of Startup Grind Cape Town said, “Desktop research and data collection from the internet does not replace speaking to real people and this is where the mismatch can come in.”

Strategies to Leverage Events and Build Your Network

Start with Cultivating Personal Networks:

The whole idea of cultivating a personal network as a business owner boils down to building strong social capital. Every interaction should be an opportunity to lay the foundation upon shared values that make it possible to work together, achieve common goals, and breed the potential of obtaining resources,  and useful information.

Katlego Maphai, co-founder of the startup Yoco, explains social capital: “Social capital is the availability of resources through a personal network consisting of family, friends, acquaintances, existing and former colleagues. The system develops over a lifetime and career, starting as early as attending school. I see it as a ‘help option’ that can be exercised at any time to further personal objectives.”

Join Entrepreneurial Hubs:

Take She Leads Africa for example. It is an entrepreneurial incubator aimed at advancing female entrepreneurship on the African continent and the diaspora. This community helps young African women achieve their professional dreams through engaging online content and organizes pan-African events like boot camps or masterclasses.

Being part of entrepreneurial hubs like She Leads, can grant you both exposure and connection with like-minded individuals within the same industry and interests.

Grow Your Social Media Influence and Community:

You can also leverage the use of social media to first build a personal and business brand that can enable you to connect with people who share similar interests. This can then evolve into building a following and a community around both your personal and business brand with whom you can share valuable information, host events, and offer specially curated products and services.

Attend Events:

Let's talk industry events! They come in all shapes and sizes, from conferences packed with experts to trade shows bursting with new products. But whether it's a big blowout or a smaller gathering, there's real value in attending these for you, your staff, and your business.

Here's the deal: these events are goldmines for connections. You'll meet new clients, catch up with existing ones, and get your brand out there. Plus, they're packed with learning opportunities. Think of it as a chance to stay ahead of the curve and get inspired by industry leaders.


Types of Events

So, what kind of events should you be looking for? Here are some of the must-attend events to keep on your radar:

Trade Shows & Exhibitions:  These are your prime spots to showcase your awesome products or services to a crowd of potential customers. Think of it as a giant "look what we can do" party!

  • Workshops: Craving new skills and connections? Workshops are your jam. You'll learn from the best while expanding your network – win-win!
  • Industry Events:  Every field has its own insider events. These are your one-stop shops for discovering the latest trends, innovations, and faces in your industry. Plus, it's a great way to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Conventions:  These are massive gatherings that last a few days, bringing together people with a shared interest, like a specific industry or hobby. Expect lots of speakers, tons of info, and a chance to connect with a huge crowd.
  • Award Events:  Some events celebrate the achievements of businesses or folks in the industry. It's a chance to see who's rocking it and maybe even get some inspiration for your own game plan.
  • Product Launches: This is where companies unveil their latest and greatest products or services. They throw a party to generate buzz and get people excited about what's new. It's your chance to see something awesome before anyone else!
  • Networking Events: Ever feel like you need to expand your contact list? Networking events are designed to do just that. You'll meet new people, make connections, and potentially plant the seeds for future partnerships. Think of it as building your business dream team!
  • Seminars:  Sharpen your skills and gain valuable insights from business experts at seminars. You'll learn new ways to boost your services and sales, all while getting a crash course in entrepreneurship.

Other events are Charity Events and Festivals. Though these events are fun and easily make networking possible, however, they may not always be loaded with special industry know-how or information for your day-to-day business operations. 

Two Key Events on Funding and Sales to Watch Out For

Entrepreneurs usually face challenges in several areas of building their business, and two key areas among others are funding and sales. 

In April, Empowa will be hosting members of the business community in South Africa to learn about and secure funding for their business. Also, the Sales Summit by CADEK Media will be hosting a hybrid event for business owners and marketers on Sales.

These events will be ticketed, and registration will be required.

EMPOWA Entrepreneurs Funding Summit

The summit is scheduled to take place on April 18th, 2024.

This can be your chance to take your business to the next level.

This summit is perfect for you if:

  • You are an early growth and expanding business. 

  • You've been running the show for at least a year and have a solid plan for how you will use the funding. (Heads up, there's an eligibility check, so make sure you check the boxes!)

  • You're an unstoppable innovator with a fire in your belly and a "never say die" attitude. Challenges are just stepping stones to success in your eyes!

  • You're not afraid to take calculated risks and blaze your own trail.

You can read more and register here

Sales Summit

The Sales Summit is coming to Cape Town (April 25th, 2024) and Johannesburg (June 12th, 2024) with a full-day live training extravaganza designed to take your sales team to the next level.

This isn't your average snoozefest conference.  We're talking top sales trainers dropping knowledge bombs, fresh sales strategies to spark new ideas, and the motivation you need to blow past your goals.

Whether you're a seasoned sales pro or just starting out, the Sales Summit is open to all sales teams and business owners, no matter your industry.  This is your chance to learn from the best, network with other sales superstars, and walk away with actionable strategies to boost your sales and dominate the market.

You can register for the Sales Summit in Cape Town or Johannesburg and get ready to transform your sales team into a revenue-generating machine!

In conclusion: Building a strong network is crucial for you to grow your business, and networking events offer valuable opportunities to connect with potential clients, collaborators, and funders. These events can also provide you with fresh industry insights and keep you ahead of the curve.