A Guide to Networking at Denver Startup Week

Networking advice for Denver Startup Week events 2019
Denver Startup Week 2019

Are you ready for Denver Startup Week? The weeklong spotlight on innovation in Colorado is kicking off on September 16th, 2019. Denver Startup Week has been known to attract a sizable crowd in the past- over 20,000 founders, makers, and other startup professionals are expected to attend this year. With this many like-minded professionals under the same roof, there is no better opportunity to do some professional networking.

But how do you make the most of your time at each Denver Startup Week event and guarantee you stand out from the crowd?

We’ve compiled the best tips for networking at Denver Startup Week.

Before Denver Startup Week

1. Set Your Goals and Expectations

Whether it’s Denver Startup Week or just an average networking event, it’s important to act with intention. You’ve got to understand what you want to get out of it. 

Imagine the best outcome. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of professional would you want to connect with? 
  • What would you want from your new contact?  
  • What services, contacts, or referrals could you offer?

Types of networking goals to set

  • The number of events you want to attend
  • The number of people you want to talk to at each event
  • The number of business cards you want to give out
  • The amount of follow-up coffee meetings you want to schedule with new contacts
  • The number of people you want to make introductions for

This way you’ll have a clearer idea of your direction and purpose at the events.

2. Choose each Denver Startup Week event wisely

A full week of events means a whole lot of options to choose from. 

The 2019 Denver Startup Week schedule includes every type of event for every type of startup professional. 

Remember to look at your attendance strategically. 

Denver Startup Week into eight functional tracks, to fit various roles within a business:

Denver Startup Week events are also broken up into five clusters, featuring popular topics and themes:

How to choose the right Denver Startup Week event to attend

Imagine your ideal client or business connection, what would they want to attend? Focus on their interests and needs instead of your own and you’ll be more likely to run into the right people at those events.

3.  Do your research

When you have thousands of people to talk to in a short amount of time, you’ve got to be strategic with who you approach. 

Look up each event organizer’s company and dig a little deeper. Check their social media sites to see who’s engaging with their posts. You might come across a few attendees you can make a note of before the event. 

Look into the types of events they’ve hosted in the past or who has attended previous events. Although attendees lists are not often released to the public, doing a little digging on the web may give you a hint.

PEEKaMEET business networking app blog

Or use the PEEKaMEET professional networking app to view users nearby and find out who has checked into the event. Search for the right people in the area who meet your business or career needs and view their digital business card. Now you’ll have a better idea of who to talk to before you go.

During Denver Startup Week

4. Have a memorable elevator pitch

Since there are so many people to talk to and dozens of events to attend, the time you’ll have in each interaction is limited. Make sure you can articulate who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for in a way that’s both clear and concise. 

According to IHire, an effective elevator pitch includes the following details:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Who you help
  • What you want to accomplish
  • A hook in bring people in and make you memorable

Although your time is limited, it’s important to make it count. If someone is trying to connect with you, it’s important that you give them your full attention.

5. Focus on who you’re talking to at Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week networking advice

Avoid checking your watch or looking around the room.

Ask questions and get to know him or her as a person instead of just a potential client.

Showing genuine interest and engagement will likely make you more memorable and more liked.

Denver Startup Week ice-breakers:

  • “What has been your favorite session you’ve attended so far?”
  • “What are you most excited about at Denver Startup Week this year”
  • “What other Denver Startup Week events are you attending?”

Here are some more conversation starters you can use to break the ice with other attendees.

6.  Ditch the business cards and get connected IMMEDIATELY

The person you’re talking to is going to receive possibly hundreds of business cards over the week and your card is likely to get lost among the pile. 

Avoid wasting opportunity (and paper) by finding a way to ensure you are able to connect right away.

 Ask for their email and number at the end of the conversation and save it for yourself with a note about the person. 

Have an email draft prepared that you can add the email and detail soon after.

PEEKaMEET business networking app blog

PEEKaMEET can also be a useful tool to help you organize all your new contacts. Using the app, you can share your professional profile with those nearby. You can also save the new contacts in your own customizable folders so you don’t lose track. Plus, you can chat with them directly on the app to avoid missing any opportunity to connect.

After Denver Startup Week

7. Time to Follow-Up

Networking doesn’t stop when the event ends. Make sure you’re reaching out to those you hope to connect with within the next few days. Your follow-up needs to be personable and engaging. Mention a detail that was talked about during your conversation to remind them of who you are. Ask questions so that they have something to respond to. You can also find more advice on constructing an effective follow-up email here.

Logo image belongs to DSW2019

Whether you’re at a Denver Startup Week event, a different networking event, or on-the-go, PEEKaMEET makes it easier for you to connect with like-minded professionals nearby. Filter and find the right people to help you achieve your business or career goals. PEEKaMEET is free and available on both iPhone and Android. Download PEEKaMEET and start networking today.

Betterish Founder Emily Hope Dobkin on Cultivating Creativity and Connection

Betterish Emily Hope Dobkin Creativity and Community Connection Advice

Arts educator-turned-entrepreneur Emily Hope Dobkin found a way to combine three of her passions: designing creative experiences, community-building, and promoting authenticity over perfectionism, into one “betterish” business. Emily has made it her mission to facilitate meaningful connections among individuals in different communities by providing interactive workshops and programs centered around art-making and creativity. As a community-oriented entrepreneur, Emily understands the power of networking and cultivating connections. She shared with PEEKaMEET her entrepreneurial journey and advice on building genuine connections in your community. 

Where did your business “Betterish” come from?

Over the past 10 years, I’ve always held job positions doing community engagement work for various non-profits: museums, galleries, libraries, marketplaces, and various community spaces.

My background is really rooted in designing creative experiences for people of all ages—I’ve done this kind of work for large events with thousands of people and I’ve designed more intimate experiences where people have more space to become vulnerable.

I’ve designed teen programs focused on arts for social change, as well as a wide range of family programs. 

I’ve been deep into the realms of this community engagement work in cities like Baltimore, Eugene, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and now here in Denver.

Amidst these job positions, I’ve always had my own side-projects. The majority of these side-projects have been some form of art as social practice, and really: using art as a vehicle to bring people together.

When I moved to Denver about a year and a half ago, I was trying to figure out a way to see if I could hub all my side-projects under a big umbrella, and thus Betterish was born.

What is Betterish?

Betterish technically started as a blog. I studied creative writing when I was in college and I’ve always been writing for myself in some form. I realized I wanted to start a blog with this idea of doing things “betterish” —-less pressure to perform to perfectionism and putting emphasis on acknowledging the little things that ultimately have a bigger impact on our lives. 

I also didn’t want it to be just my perspective of doing it “betterish.” So, I invited others to share their stories of betterment as well. I wanted to create a space that really lifted other people’s voices on a range of topics under this “do it betterish” mentality.  

Ultimately, Betterish is about honoring and encouraging people to make better things, better relationships and all around better days. I do this through a wide range of in-person workshops, creative consulting, pop-up events and storytelling. 

At the core of it, it’s about connecting more meaningfully to ourselves and the people around us, and oftentimes our life’s work.

Why is community-building so important to you?

We’re living in a time of great disconnect and divide. And I think it’s so important to bring people together in a way that allows us to make things with our hands and to look one another in the eye.

Particularly in this day-in-age, we can get very distracted by our phones and various forms of technology, so to me it’s become imperative to create spaces where real human connections and conversations can take place. 

Social bridging is extremely important to my work as well: this concept of bringing different groups of people together and bonding through a shared experience. With more opportunities for social-bridging, healthier and happier communities can and will exist. 

What are you most excited about for Betterish?

I’m really excited about taking one of my projects on the road…literally. Last summer, I created “The Meet Cart,” a mobile structure I roll around to facilitate a series of games and prompts that encourage people to meet each other and have meaningful conversations. I’m really excited to start taking this to more places. What I love about it is that it is so versatile: I can take it to a coffee shop, I can take it to the first day of school, I can take it to a bar, a park, a corporate office for a team building exercise— I can take it to so many different places. I’m really excited to utilize it to it’s full potential later this Fall. 

You recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for Betterish. How would you describe that experience?

It was a complete rollercoaster full of learning experiences coming from all directions. I’ve written grants before, but I’ve never actually done fundraising so it was definitely a challenge, but it was a challenge I gained so much from. And in terms of connecting to community, it was all about reaching out to various networks of people from different parts of my life. The value of community really came through for me while crowdfunding. 

There’s so many layers to crowdfunding. You’ve got to come up with a solid pitch, craft a video, create a reward system, and then the whole marketing & communication side of it: there’s a lot that goes in AND comes out from it. 

I really re-learned to value to power of persistence in the process. I obviously believe in this work, but crowdfunding made me realize how whole-heartedly I believe in it. So much that I believed others would believe in me and want to support it financially. That’s hard, and that was big for me not only to hope for, but also pour my energy into. It was really powerful to see that come to fruition.

I feel incredibly fortunate that I made my goal, and am so grateful for the generosity of others in making that happen. 

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs trying to get their foot in the door?

Meet people. Find a networking strategy that works for you. For me, my networking strategy centers around inviting people into creative experiences.

When I first moved here, I posted up (and still do) every First Friday at ReCreative Denver and invite people to make a print with me. Amidst making things with our hands, we’re talking and connecting…and I also collect emails to continue the conversations. So for me, my form of networking is meeting people through printmaking.

When diving into Betterish last year, I made a point of having some kind of networking experience at least once a week whether it was going to a particular event or snagging coffee with someone new. 

I also took a class at Colorado Lending Source called “The Ice House,” which was really formative to my building Betterish, connecting to people here in Denver, and in even calling myself an “entrepreneur.” 

Everyone has their own ways of building their businesses or building their projects. Find a way that works for you, but also find another way that gets you out of your comfort zone. Create a strategy that feels comfortable and manageable in terms of your time & energy, but also balance that out by doing some things that are a little bit more uncomfortable and untraditional of your style. 

What advice would you give someone who’s never attended a networking event before?

Stay open, say “hello,” and be kind. I have a quote on The Meet Cart that says “everyone you meet has something valuable to teach you.” 

Meet as many people as you can, even if you don’t think they’ll directly benefit you in the upcoming months. You never know when that person can help you or support you later down the line. There’s been many instances where I’ve met with someone and then a few months (or sometimes: years) later, I’ve reached out to them for something to collaborate on. You never know when you are going to need the support or skill sets from a certain someone.

Take the time to nourish connections and build relationships. It takes time and effort, but so worth it in the grand scheme of things. 

You can follow Emily Hope Dobkin and Betterish on Instagram, Facebook, or by joining her monthly newsletter.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Birnbaum

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Shoe Designer Leontyne Ashmore’s Advice for Entrepreneurs: How to Find Your Tribe

Leotyne Ashmore Lisbeth Shoes entrepreneur advice

As an Accountant-turned-entrepreneur, Leontyne Ashmore understands the struggles today’s entrepreneurs go through when they’re trying to get their businesses off the ground. Her minimalist shoe brand, Lisbeth Joe, is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo. PEEKaMEET had the opportunity to ask Leontyne about her experience starting a new business and her advice on how entrepreneurs and other small business professionals can network and “find their tribe.”

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today?

I live in Boulder, Colorado and moved here with my husband 5 years ago from London in the UK.  However, I was born in and grew up in Zimbabwe. And when we were in the UK, I loved traveling around Europe particularly the really chic cities like Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Monaco and so on.  So I guess I have a bunch of different cultures influencing me.

When we moved to the US, I had a young child and another one the way, so I decided not to work and dedicate myself to childcare.  But after a couple of years, I got bored and decided to go back to accountancy. During pregnancy, I’d developed Diastasis Rectic – separation of the Abs – and discovered minimalist shoes for remedial reasons.  I quickly became a convert, but when I went back to work I couldn’t find any minimalist shoes that I felt confident in or complimented my outfits, so I decided to follow my passion and created my own. By creating a shoe without compromise, combining function and style.

As a Chartered and Certified accountant, what made you want to take the leap into entrepreneurship?

The biggest thing was I was really passionate about the idea and it just didn’t feel right to not try. Being an accountant helps me understand many aspects of a business, you have an overview of all the different functions because you pay for them all.  But as an accountant, the truth is I am rather introverted, but I decided I should not let that stop me from pursuing my dreams. So it’s really double-sided, on the one hand, I leaped into entrepreneurship despite the fact I’m an accountant, on the other hand, it is really advantageous for understanding the finance side.

Where did the name “Lisbeth Joe” come from?

Lisbeth Joe was my mother’s name.  She died when I was just 17, of Leukemia, but she inspired my fashion and love of style.  When I was thinking about starting this business, and began sketching my first designs, my mind was taken back to my mother again and again.  She used to sew, as her side hustle, her designs were amazing. It was really an easy decision to dedicate the business to keep her name alive.  The other reason for the name is that I wanted to have a name that evoked a high quality, well-designed feel. 

Lisbeth Joe Minimalist Shoes Denver entrepreneur
Lisbeth Joe shoes are bare-foot inspired, balancing comfort and style.

How would you describe “minimalist footwear”?

Minimalist footwear is footwear that allows your feet to move naturally. Reducing the wide fitting, no heel lift, flexible sole.

What has been the biggest challenge in scaling your company?

A few months ago I would have said marketing, but I’ve invested a lot of time in understanding how to market my product.  So right now I’m going to say managing the end-to-end manufacturing process which includes sourcing material is the biggest challenge.  This is the first time I’ve worked in the “physical product” space and I’m rapidly learning so many new different things.

Where do you see Lisbeth Joe in five years?

I’m looking forward to Lisbeth Joe being a profitable boutique shoes business. I foresee stocking my shoes in specialist retailers and selling thousands of pairs per year online. Lisbeth Joe will also be investing in women enterprises through KIVA, and would love to have had at least 50 companies in that time period.

How would you describe an average day in your life?

My average day involves getting up 5 minutes earlier than the kids and we do exercises together,  my intention is to get up before them, but that hardly ever happens. I have dedicated focused and undisturbed work time between 9:15am and 12:45pm. I use this time to do most of my must-do critical path activities and also put out all the fires. Then once I’ve picked up my youngest from school at 1pm and I am working in between playing, refereeing and protecting the house from permanent destruction.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs trying to get their foot in the door?

Carpe diem, just “seize the day”! Make the leap!  You have to ask yourself if you can live without regrets if you don’t take action.  If you will regret not doing it, then work on your ”WHY” as you will need this reminder frequently throughout your journey, to keep motivated.

But before you leap, and this is the double-checking accountant in me, make sure you think like a business person.  If you are not clear on who will give you money for your product and why it’s worth that money, pause and work it out.  Too many great businesses fail because they are serving a market that doesn’t exist.

Networking is often a major contributor to both professional and business growth. How has networking been beneficial to you and your business?

Networking has been great for me, I’ve found my “tribe” and it’s terrific for finding people to collaborate with, now or in the future.  As a direct result of networking, I have participated on panels both at Boulder Startup Week and at Creative Connections. I’ve also received a lot more exposure for my business because of promotions initiated by folks I’ve met while networking.

What’s your favorite way to connect with others in Denver?

As an entrepreneur, its easy to fall into the trap of going to every networking event you can find, say on meetup, and this will tie up the working hours and the family moment you have available.  You could go the other way and bury yourself in work and completely isolate yourself from people and networking.  I have done both at different stages of my entrepreneur journey. I’ve found it’s best to find a healthy balance.

I first discovered this balance when I did the CO.Starter course at The Commons On Champa, a very supportive community with regular events to network at.  I also joined a Heymama Global, which has a Denver Chapter, this forces me to take time out of schedule and go meet new people – like-minded entrepreneurial mama’s like myself, they have online and in-person sessions where I learn something new at their seminar and network.  The SBDC has been valuable because they put on valuable educational sessions with networking thrown in. 

What advice would you give to someone who has never attended a networking event before?

 Think about what you need and from the event before you attend and if its the right one for you. Go in with an ask in your mind, be clear what you want to achieve. For instance, if you are in need of say marketing help, be clear on what kind of help you need, so when you do get into conversation with someone that leads that way, you will be able to articulate what you need and the person may be able to help or effectively pass on information to someone who they know can. 

Also, networking is not really a pitch fest, don’t fall into that trap otherwise you will get sidelined very quickly. Be genuinely interested in the people there and offer help where you can.

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10 Tips For Writing a Perfect Follow-Up Email After a Networking Event

10 Tips how to create perfect networking follow-up email

You’ve attended the networking event, you connected with someone who you think could be a beneficial business connection. You’ve exchanged contact info. Now what?

Don’t let your new business connections fall through. Here are 10 tips for writing and executing the perfect follow-up email for your new networking contact.

Send it sooner rather than later

Wait too long, and you run the risk of them forgetting who you are.

Reach out to them while the previous event is still fresh in their minds. The ideal time-frame in which you should be responding is within 24 hours, according to Balance Careers.

Include a personalized subject line

Writing a Subject line that is attention-grabbing, descriptive, and personal can be tricky. ThriveHive says the best email subject lines deliver one clear message and are around 30 characters long.

Make sure you avoid using spam filter triggers, such as “guaranteed” or “free” or using too many symbols or all caps.

Instead, keep it simple, personal. Make your purpose clear but engaging.

Start with a warm greeting

Manners still matter. Address the individual by their name and include a polite “Hi __,” or “Good morning ___.”

Remember that how you start your email sets the tone for the whole message.

Not including a greeting may make your email look like a copy-paste template.

Business Insider explains what greetings you should or should not use.

Focus on them, not you

Just like Chad Coleman suggested in his previous interview with PEEKaMEET, if you think of your new networking contacts as “prospects,” no one will connect with you.

Go into the email with the purpose of giving.

Find a way to offer them something they need or ask them if there’s anyone you could help them with. Maybe they could benefit from a contact you know or maybe they’d like it if you shared their business on your Facebook page.

Once you’ve helped them, they’ll be more likely to help you.

Mention a memorable detail from your conversation

This way they remember you and they know that you value the conversation you shared.

What to do if you can’t remember:

  • Do some research on the individual or their company- then include a genuine compliment about something you found.

Be conversational

Depending on your previous interaction with them, you’ll understand whether you should speak formally or casually.

Understand your audience and the way they speak.

Although many might not mind, the use of curse words could make you come across as unprofessional and are discouraged from initial email interactions. 

Emojis are also often viewed as unprofessional and professionals suggest you limit your use of them in business communications, as illustrated in a survey by OfficeTeam.

Focus on formatting

Make sure it’s readable and easily scanned. Avoid having a large block of text that may be difficult to scan.

Add line-breaks to separate paragraphs.

Envato Market offers a detailed guide on how you should format your email as well as formatting mistakes to avoid.

Run spell-check

A simple but easily forgotten step. A typo or two can be distracting and could cause you to seem unprofessional.

Grammarly is a great spell-check tool that evaluates spelling, grammar, and word-choice, ensuring that your email is flawless. The program can be added on as a Google Chrome extension for free.

End it well

A CTA, or Call-To-Action, gives the recipient an option to respond. Posing a question at the end of your email warrants a response. Make sure your question is open-ended and could not be answered with a simple yes or no. 

Just like your greeting, your conclusion should also be polite. A good send-off could be “I hope you have a great rest of your week and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Don’t forget to include your email signature

Email signatures are professional as well as informational. They allow the recipient to know who you are when they are scanning the message. It also includes all the necessary contact information that may be useful in the future. 

Envato offers examples of effective professional email signatures.

10 tips for creating effective prfessional follow-up email after networking event

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Herosmyth CEO Chad Coleman’s Advice for Entrepreneurs: The Importance of Storytelling

Herosmyth Chad Coleman Storytelling entrepreneurs

When you meet Chad Coleman and the rest of the Herosmyth team, their passion and generosity is evident. They’re not just digital marketing professionals, they’re your “allies in entrepreneurship” (as they call themselves). Herosmyth was created for the purpose of offering solutions to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Denver. Their new office on East Colfax is a hub of great resources for a company’s marketing needs. From a podcast recording room housed in a former bank vault (unique, huh?) to a full video production and photography space, both of which you can rent with a monthly subscription.

Chad Coleman, the Co-Founder and CEO of Herosmyth, knows how challenging it can be for small businesses to get their feet off the ground and to make their brand heard through today’s noisy digital landscape. In our recent interview with Chad, he explains how storytelling is a key component to creating authentic connections with your audience and about the importance of “embracing the small.”

Tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to Herosmyth.

I started out 21 years ago, one of the early-early digital agencies that existed at the dawn of the internet in ’98. It was an exciting time. At the time, no one had a website or digital strategy. It was neat to be on the first wave of the web. People were like “hey I guess I need a website.” Obviously ever since that initial wave it’s about needing a better website or a different one and people have grown to understand the possibilities of digital marketing. 

I started off doing video stuff. I went to film school. I had a real passion around storytelling. When I was working with these clients from a video prospective back in the day at this agency, cd-roms were a huge deal and the web wasn’t such a big deal yet. This package that we sold in the company always included a video and if you signed up for this cd-rom there would be a video meeting scheduled. At the initial meeting we would ask “what do you want this video to be about?” and they’d say “oh we thought you knew. What should it be about?” Most of the time they just wanted an overview type of video. Through that process, I came up with my own techniques on figuring out-

what is it about the company that makes it special?
What sets you apart?
What should we emphasize?
What makes you different?” 

It was interesting because I came from that film background and was highly focused on video and storytelling but I had to understand the other side of it and I ended up falling in love with the process. I thought it was really neat that pretty much every company I’ve ever worked for or worked with has something unique and almost magical about their company that makes it successful. I fell in love with figuring out what that is and using that as the foundation in the storytelling.

Speaking of storytelling, what is the best way for businesses to use their storytelling?

I think it’s very important that they do, first of all. When you own a business, you’re really focus and it’s really hard to see from the outside to see what the customer sees because you know everything about your business. We tend to get focused on features and benefits. People don’t necessarily respond to that very much. There’s just too much noise in the world for them to take the time to understand the nuance features and benefits that a particular company and a particular industry setting offers. And sometimes it’s very difficult  because your competitors may have the same features and benefits. 

What brands would be smart to do is to really deeply dive into the customer and deeply understand what their customer’s life experience is, what are they going through, what are their challenges and their problems that they have. When you do that, what you’re really doing is positioning them in the center of your story. What you really need to do is figure out this customer- who are they? What are they struggling with? What goals are they trying to achieve?” and then tell a story that places them right in the center and shows them “hey, if you work with us, then you will be successful and you’ll achieve the goals that matter to you.”

The name Herosmyth ties into that because ultimately as an entrepreneur what you have to be is a “hero-smyth”. You’ve got to figure out how to make your customer the hero of this journey that their on and then position yourself as their confidant, their guide, their ally, their sidekick, whatever it may be.

Joseph Campbell came up with this concept of the monomyth and wrote this amazing book called “A Hero with a Thousand Faces.” What he discovered in his research is that most hero stories are actually the same story told over and over again throughout the centuries of humanity. He was actually able to quantify the different steps of this “hero’s journey” as he called it. It’s very powerful because it runs through Christianity, it runs through pre-Christianity, really as long as humans have been talking to you other, they’ve pretty much used this same thing. All the way up into Star Wars- George Lucas was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell’s work and was reading that book when he crafted the original Star Wars. It’s pretty infallible, it works. There’s something in our minds as human beings- stories themselves are how we’ve communicated for over a hundred thousand years. When we hear a story that we connect with and that’s true to who we are, amazing things to happen. We start to get involved, we start to get invested emotionally and the same thing works in marketing.

How is Herosmyth different from other marketing agencies?

Chad Coleman's Marketing Agency Herosmyth in Denver helps entrepreneurs and small businesses share their story.
Chad Coleman’s marketing agency Herosmyth embraces small business and local entrepreneurs

We’ve sort of embraced the small. Most marketing agencies don’t want to work with small businesses, but we’ve built our agency to work with small businesses because of the impact it can have on Denver community. If I can help a local locksmith double his income that’s going to feed into the Denver economy, they could hire someone else or get their kid through college. A lot of times entrepreneurs just need a simple thing done, a simple role”I need a good website for my business” Where in the past there’s really bad solutions for that where they use templates where you end up looking like everyone else, making you blend in with everyone else. We are able to create a website building platform which allows us to create great custom websites for customers that typically couldn’t afford a custom website. There’s a gentleman coming in today to get a sales flyer done. I don’t know of any other marketing agencies in the Denver area where you can just go online and book an appointment and you can come in and work directly with the Designer for 2 hours to get a killer sales flyer. That’s all he needs right now and that’s okay. By embracing those small needs- from a flyer design that takes 2 hours to creating a signup form on your website that can feed into your CRM, those little things can mean so much. We’re not set on how deeply you need to work with us. You might need just that one thing right now, But we’re here and it’s fast and affordable. 

What made you want to focus on entrepreneurs and startups?

There’s a couple different factors: One thing is that the experience of becoming an entrepreneur is something I believe everyone should do because it is the most eye-opening things you’ll experience as a human being. It will test you. It will push you in directions that you didn’t know you need to go and it will teach you what you’re good at/what you’re not good at, it will teach you how to effectively deal with people as you go, understand how the dynamics of that work. It’s probably one of the biggest learning experiences a human being could have. 

I think everyone should do it at one point in  their life. And in fact I feel like everyone will have to do it in the next 10 to 15 years because we are entering the age of automation,  AI, and robotics. There’s studies that around 15-30% of the jobs people are currently doing in America like retails, driving, customer service, are not going to exist anymore in 15 to 20 years. It’s largely what happened to Detroit. People like to think about how the economy collapsing was a big part of it but they were losing jobs to automation before the economy started to collapse. When the economy collapsed in 2008 it actually made those car companies invest in more automation because they knew they had to do things cheaper, more efficiently.

Everyone is going to need these entrepreneurial skills. 

As difficult of a journey of being an entrepreneur is it’s good to have someone to help. So I wanted to help those people and also a company that would have an impact here in Denver. I love this city . I love the community of entrepreneurs we have. And I wanted to build a place that would make it easier for entrepreneurs to be successful. Everything we’ve done is driving towards that goals to make it easier for people to run a successful business.

How would you describe the startup scene in Denver?

DEN Startup Week is September 16-20, 2019 and it focuses on entrepreneurs in Colorado
Denver Startup Week (happening September 16-20, 2019) is one of the largest entrepreneurship events in the country.

It’s a great scene. Denver Startup Week is an amazing event, its the largest entrepreneurship event in the country. I think entrepreneurship is ingrained in the Colorado mindset. I’ve lived here for five years and I’ve been coming out here since the 90s and Colorado has been known for this rugged individualist perspective on things. It’s probably one of the reasons why this is one of the best places for small businesses in the country. We have a ton of businesses here and people willing to make that brave leap and start their own company. I think we have a fantastic scene. I really want Herosmyth to be a part of making that scene even better.

What makes you enjoy coming to work everyday?

The saddest thing to me is when a  great idea dies because a few crucial things might have gone wrong in the beginning. I love that we have this place where people can get the advice and guidance to help them avoid those landmines. I think that’s fascinating and I think we can shortcut people to greater success because we’ve helped hundreds of people so we know we can be a guide to help you and be an expert in a number of different areas, from design to branding and development. We can help you avoid those pitfalls and get you to where you want to be which is a sustainable and successful business.

What’s one piece of advice for Denver entrepreneurs trying to get their name out?

Know that what you’re ultimately doing in the simplest and most direct way is trying to build a community. That’s what marketing is all about, building a community of people who care and align with what you believe in or what you do. Rather than thinking about it in terms of dollars and cents, realize we have to build a community of people who are aligned with what we care about what our purpose is a company. It’s a bit of a mind-shift. You’ve got to be practical too, you’ve got to sell some stuff to survive. But you’ll sell a lot more stuff if you’ve created a community of people who actually care about what you’re doing than if you’re just trying to sell them stuff. Nobody likes to be sold to.

How has networking been beneficial to you and your business?

It’s been huge. It’s how we found initial clients and early adopters. I always tell people that word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing in the world, nothing else can really replace that. And while there’s a ton of things we can do, word of mouth has its limitations. I can only go out and meet so many people today. And entrepreneurs have been doing the work and finding time to network- it’s about finding a balance. It gives you the opportunity to understand more deeply who your customers are, what their needs are, what their struggles are. When you get out there and meet people and you develop a personal relationship because  you’re not going to do business with someone you don’t trust on some level. Meeting people and developing relationships is hugely important.

What advice would you give someone who has never attending a networking event before?

Study up on it. Being an entrepreneur is about life-long learning. There are networking events about networking and how to do it right. There are books written about this. Go in prepared.

 I think it’s about being personable, not salesy. it’s about listening- if you can listen you’ll learn much more and get much further than if you’re doing all the talking. 

Know that you’re there to meet people, not just prospects. If you just think of them as prospects and you’re just there to sell, no on is going to connect with you.

7 Conversations Starters To Use At Your Next Networking Event

7 Conversation Starters to Use to Networking Events

No need to resort to cheesy lines (“how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice, Hi I’m…) These networking conversation starters will make you memorable, flow into the right conversations, and ultimately lead to promising business connections.

1. “What’s been exciting you recently?”

You’ll be met with so many different types of responses. From casual, personal anecdotes (I’m going on vacation next month) to their professional accomplishments (I just facilitated a partnership with a major organization). You’ll get a great sense of who they are and what they value.

2. “What are you looking to get out of this event?”

Sometimes you don’t have time for pleasantries. Get directly to the meat of the meeting and know how you can help them or how they can help you.

Networking Tip: Know before you go. Do your research and see what each attendee does in order to know who you should approach at the event. Thankfully PEEKaMEET allows you to view the profiles of attendees who’ve “Checked-In” to the event in the app.

3. “What restaurants in town have the best Happy Hour deals?”

It’s easy to talk about places in the area. Everyone has a favorite bar or coffee shop. Asking for their suggestions or suggesting your own will lead to an easy conversation as well as provide you with a topic to touch on when you follow-up (“I tried the place you told me about and I loved it. Thanks for the suggestion!”)

4. “I’m new to the networking scene, do you have any tips on how to work the floor here?”

Sometimes it’s beneficial to play the newbie. This question could motivate the other to offer advice or relate with you if they’re uncomfortable as well. It could also lead to discussing why each of you came to the event in the first place.

5. “Did you attend the ___event last month?”

Think of a memorable networking event you’ve attended recently. Was there an interesting panelist? Was it hosted at a fun venue? Was there a lot of attendees?
There’s always a chance you’ve crossed paths with someone previously even if you don’t realize it.
Talking about a different networking event is an easy conversation starter that can lead to you two finding commonalities.

Networking Tip: Be sure to connect with the person ASAP. And no, not by handing them your business card. Make sure you’re both able to contact each other the following day.

The PEEKaMEET app allows you to get connected immediately. Plus you can save their contact info in a customizable folder. Download the free networking app today.

6. Are there any upcoming events you’re planning on attending?

Similar to the previous question, asking about their upcoming plans may hint to you what they’re looking to gain from these networking events.  It could also set you up for an easy follow-up (Looking forward to seeing you at ___)

7. Are there any common misconceptions about your job?

Not only are you asking them about what they do, but you’re framing it in a way that’s memorable and thought-provoking.

PEEKaMEET allows you to network anytime, anywhere. No business card necessary. Filter through like-minded professionals in your area and connect with the right people, right away. Download PEEKaMEET today.

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