On March 7, iCampus hosted its first ‘Speed Networking’ event for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) led by The Marketing Team Africa’s founder and Secretary-General of Liberia’s Chamber of Commerce, Stephanie Salamartu Duncan.
The category of MSMEs range from microenterprises (typically 1-3 people) up to medium-sized enterprises (100 - 500 people or calculated by financial assets). In her opening remarks, Duncan noted that while there are many great ideas at the micro-level, too few companies are growing for a few common reasons.
Firstly, people do not present their company in a way that businesses want to buy. Think through the unique value adds of your product or service – why do you want to buy? What does your company offer that others do not? Would you want to spend your hard earned dollars on your own products?
Secondly, master your business pitch. Your elevator pitch is a teaser – a 3-minute sales pitch that does not delve deep into the details but rather introduces you and your company, and also highlights the unique elements of a business. Duncan also asked MCMEs to consider whether they were ready for investment. Being investor-ready means you’ve ticked all the boxes including a ready-to-share business plan, a realistic budget, business cards or contact information, and an online presence via a website or social media accounts.
At the microenterprise level it’s also worth remembering that you are your own business, as you are most likely to serve all the various functions of would-be team members on your own. While you will eventually build out your team, in the beginning you are effectively selling your personal brand. Becoming a good salesperson means becoming a people’s person with good ideas of what work with regards to selling your personal brand.
Your network as your net worth was another valuable lesson. Going to a networking event and immediately finding your friends will potentially prevent your network from growing. Try taking a few small steps to promote your business and that of other women: 1) promote a new friend’s business on your own social media, 2) look for creative and interesting collaborations with complementary companies – for example, a beauty and wellness day, and 3) develop relationships with a mentor who can provide invaluable guidance, as well as a mentee who can bring new ideas to your marketing and product design.
The Marketing Team Africa is a marketing and public relations consulting firm that supports businesses in communicating their services and product offerings and cultivating their brand. For more information on TMT or the next Speed Networking event, contact Stephanie Duncan.