Since Globify.me is focused on the tech sector, the majority of people that I meet are involved in startups in one way or another, and of course the majority of entrepreneurs that I meet are fascinated with San Francisco. There is no doubt that Silicon Valley is the center of the universe for tech startups, with the amount of money available for almost any type of tech venture. I agree that there is a certain allure to Silicon Valley, but what continues to surprise me is the pedestal on which Silicon Valley startups sit. Of course, with what seems like an endless amount of money pouring through the ecosystem, the companies based there have an obvious advantage when it comes to scaling. What most international entrepreneurs don’t realize is that there is such a large concentration of startups that for every international success story there are hundreds of failures. So in fact, there is no quality prerequisite for being based out of the Valley. In fact the majority of ideas that I came across were not rocket science and did not plan on changing the world…although those do exist (i.e. Moon Express, SpaceX), but that’s a different story. With some commitment, hard work and persistence I believe that anyone can show up in San Francisco with nothing and build a great network. Unfortunately there are currently no online tools that would effectively allow you to build your network before you arrive. There are definitely great benefits of having a network in San Francisco, which include access to money, info about trends, potential competition, potential partners, and team building. So here are my tips for building your network in San Francisco:
1) It’s Going To Take Time: Don’t expect to have a break through on a two-week visit… unless you are already connected.
2) Get Out Of The House: Sitting on the phone trying to book meetings will only get you so far. People want to meet you and there are plenty of events to attend. You’d be amazing whom you might meet at an event. I should also add that you should focus on events where you will meet the people that you want to meet. Many of the events are filled with aspiring entrepreneurs like yourself. Here is some helpful reading to help you network.
3) Get Your Pitch Ready: Have a 30 second pitch and 2 minute pitch ready. More importantly, get ready to change your pitches to adapt to market trends and competitors. There are also many pitch competitions that you can enter to gain a larger audience.
4) Help People! Don’t just take take take, try and help people the best you can. Then don’t be afraid to ask for help in return when the time comes.
5) Find A Base: Whether it is a coffee shop, co-working space, incubator, or accelerator it is important that you surround yourself with other entrepreneurs with similar interests that you can interact with and that can make introductions for you (Google it, there are lots).
6) Use Available Online Tools: There are great online resources that can help you network while you’re there. Here are some examples:
- The websites of the various co-working offices.
As you can see it is not that complicated. The toughest thing about it will be to find reasonably priced accommodation, and to taking the leap! Just make sure you think about what you want to get out of your trip then go full steam ahead!
Alex Mason, MBA