31 of the Best Networking Questions

31 of the Best Networking Questions

The best networking questions can be tough to create, but these are vital in getting what you need out of your next conversation.  Networking is one of the most important factors when trying to create unique and powerful connections in your community.  Reaching out to people and asking them to grab coffee takes guts, but its totally worth the effort.  Prepare some unique questions and you’ll always have something interesting to talk about, it doesn’t take much time to write down 5 to 10 questions that may be relevant to your contact.  Preparation will show that you know what you’re talking about – and you’ll get some great tips that you can leverage to make positive decisions in the future.

My networking experiences have generated serious opportunities for my career and in real estate.  Interesting people know interesting people and you’ll never know the potential until you ask.  I’ve created my own list many times of the best networking questions – it’s paid off 10x.

All it takes is a simple email to your contact, ask them if you can buy them coffee or lunch, pick a spot and spend 30-45 mins.  Give them a mini agenda of your networking questions before you arrive, this will give them some prep time to think about your questions.   You’ll get some great answers that should be more than a “shoot from the hip” answer.

Read through the questions below and take some notes for your next networking event.  Go for it and move to action.

Networking Question Ideas

  1. What is the single biggest success in your career that has come out of your startup?
  2. Why are you an entrepreneur?
  3. What are the top five things that you would tell a new entrepreneur?
  4. How did you get started with your first business?
  5. What do you think of the startup community in the area?
  6. What are the top 5 areas that you will focus on this year?
  7. What problem is your business or product solving?
  8. How do you structure your development roadmap?
  9. What would you do differently at the beginning of your startup, knowing what you know now?
  10. What are your top leadership qualities?
  11. How will you define success for your business this year?
  12. How will you define success for you this year?
  13. What is the most fascinating piece of the technology that your business has created?
  14. Did you create a business plan before launching your business?
  15. Is your business planning to release any “game changing” technology in 2013?
  16. How many employees do you have?
  17. How many employees will you be adding in 2013?
  18. What is your elevator pitch?
  19. How is you target customer and why are they buying your products?
  20. How does your business convert customer feedback into future product innovation?
  21. Do you like using the word “innovation”?
  22. What are your top three favorite characteristics of your employees?
  23. What makes your business successful on a daily basis?
  24. Where do you want you business to be in five years?
  25. How does your business give back to the community?
  26. If your business  could only do one thing this year, what would you do?
  27. What is your favorite startup failure?
  28. How has failure shaped where you are today?
  29. How have you managed through failure?
  30. Are you still working on your original business idea?
  31. How has your business morphed since you wrote the original business plan?

5 Ways to Get Things Done – The Difference Between Ideas and Action

5 Ways to Get Things Done.

I want so much more out of my daily life. So much opportunity to grow, build, and help people – it becomes overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start. Sometimes figuring out where to start is exciting and allows me to take part in new opportunities that I would have otherwise never have been able to experience.

My experience includes:

– Being one of the first employees at a successful Saas startup sold for $110M
– Managing a software product with 1000 enterprise customers
– Being part of one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world
– Starting a real estate investment company during the crazy days of 2009
– Launching a number of small online ventures (these are mostly to keep my mind creative and nimble)
– Building and selling a job board to popular industry blogger
– Purchasing and managing an existing online business that generates revenue from subscriptions and one-off sales.

Each of these experiences started with fear of the unknown and many thoughts that revolved around failure. Most of the “fear of failure” thoughts had to do with wondering what other people will think of me if I crash and burn a new venture. At times, I find my identity in what people think of me versus believing the truth about who I know I am. I continually remind myself that I live to serve other people and my ultimate goal isn’t to win everything. My ultimate goal is to make people around me successful and help them move forward.

I’ve also had some new ventures not work out as expected. I try not to call these failures, but learning experiences and “paying tuition” to the School of Hard Knocks. I’ve learned a lot about myself when going through the decision making process around laying a new idea or venture to rest. Its tough, but completely necessary when viewing everything through entrepreneurial lenses. It can be very fulfilling to “fail fast, fail often” – this is the only way to create a product or service that others are willing to pay for. The best way to stay motivated when thinking about potential failure is this: “fail until you don’t” – if you’re innovative, talk with potential clients, think about how to keep shipping product, you will eventually find something that sticks.

While not all of these were ideas failures, some never really had the opportunity to succeed…I become board with the idea or realized I didn’t have time to pursue it. Many times I start something and realize that I have a better idea – the first idea or opportunity fades away because I choose to move on. I’ve learned that moving to action too quickly can be tough because it can be easy for me to leave projects unfinished. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is common with entrepreneurs – its easy to keep moving forward and leave half baked ideas in the dust. Life’s too short to focus on something that doesn’t fit your passions or create excitement when you wake up in the morning. I’ve had to force myself to focus on quality ideas and work to complete them.

I have big goals for myself….and I usually accomplish them when I put my mind to it. A visionary at heart, I don’t care much for the details so I push myself for big accomplishments. These accomplishments don’t just happen – actions need to be taken, risks managed, and fear overcome. Dealing with fear of the unknown and pushing ahead to get things done defines the daily tasks of any entrepreneur. Its a constant mind game that needs to be

1. Trust
Trust is huge when dealing with fear of starting something new. Entrepreneurs need to trust people around them, trust themselves, and be confident in the direction they have chosen.

2. Identity
When building a company or joining a new team, your Identity is very impactful to everyone you will work with. Knowing who you are and what you believe will help you deal with fears of failure. Usually, fear of failure is just a lie that needs to be shut down. Move forward with what you’ve been called to do and be strong in your identity. Don’t let other people tell you who you are or where you should get your worth.

3. Passion
Passion about new ideas, brainstorming, love of new things, building companies, and growing teams is exciting for entrepreneurs. Keep momentum going by staying focused on your passions. Don’t let fear take you off track and over analyze situations. Go for it and start taking action – you’ll never regret starting something new – you never know until you take the first step.  Move forward and get something on paper, make it happen and you won’t have any regrets.

4. Network
Your network is major aspect of helping you move past fear and get to action. Stay close to people that will encourage you, guide you, and help you navigate the trials of life. Close friends and colleagues will get you through tough times that require hard decisions. Listen to mentors- they will see things from a different perspective and can provide guidance that is extremely valuable. Don’t live in a vacuum, let others into your life.

5. Focus
Overcoming fear and moving to action takes serious focus. Don’t let fear of failure cause your focus to slip – make goals each day and get them done. You’ll have a million excuses as to why something won’t work out – dig deep and take action. Its a unique ability to take an idea and turn it into a real company.

Overcome fear and don’t let it cause you to be stagnant – take the challenge and move to action. Your identity isn’t what other people think or say about you. Know who you are and help other people along the journey. I challenge you to step out of normalcy, think differently, impact people for good, and use your skills to create something that leaves a legacy you can be proud of.

Entrepreneurship is a great adventure – overcome fear and move to action.