10 Terms to Know Before You Walk Into a Room as an Entrepreneur
I still remember walking into my first networking event. Desperately wanting to get the word out about my newest project, I walked into the luncheon, wrote my name on a badge in shaky black marker… and then hung out at the back while everyone else chatted the afternoon away. I think I spoke to one other person the whole time, and it was to tell them where the washroom was – a detail I knew with certainty because I kept rushing to a stall to give myself periodical pep-talks.
Looking back, a large part of the problem was the complete terror of looking stupid. I was really, really nervous someone would say something in… business words… and I’d have no idea what they were talking about. I wrote a blog about dog walking, I wasn’t a Rockefeller.
But an entrepreneur can’t let intimidation hold ‘em back from spreading the word about their business. Everyone starts with a blank page.
You created your business because people need it. So if you suffer from the networking jitters, here are a few terms to arm yourself with the next time you find yourself in a room full of potential customers or collaborators.
- Bootstrapping: Starting a company with very little capital (money). For an entrepreneur, that may mean sleeping in a hostel or on a friend’s couch while on preliminary business trips. Or eating Kraft Dinner until you turn orange.
- Cross-promote: When two parties enter into a mutually-beneficial marketing campaign. An example would be bloggers who write posts for the each other’s website. Both get exposure to a larger audience at no cost. Cross-promotion can also mean when one company uses multiple marketing channels to get a message across – like posting the same message on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Freemium: A freemium offering is when a company offers their product at no cost to the consumer. This is done in hopes that the customer will see the value in the product and want to pay for the added features a more robust version would offer.
- Influencer: People with large amounts of social media followers who are trusted to provide advice on which products to use. Influencer marketing involves partnering with an influencer to promote your product to their audience – a great alternative or complement to social media ads.
- Low-hanging fruit: In small businesses, this term refers to tackling the goals which can be attained with little effort before jumping into the more difficult tasks.
- Onboard: In e-commerce, the word ‘onboarding’ is used to describe the process from when a customer first discovers your website, to when they’ve become a fully registered or paying member. It can also be used to describe how you train a new employee.
- Social proof: This is a “psychological phenomenon” used in commerce that theorizes when a person is uncertain or insecure about how they’re supposed to behave in a situation, they’ll likely choose to follow what they see others doing. For example, if a woman needs to buy a dress for an event but isn’t sure of the attire, she’ll likely opt for a little black dress or something she’s seen at an event similar to the one she’s attending. We’re pack animals, we tend to all stick together.
- Thought leadership: Establishing yourself or your company’s leader as an expert in the industry you belong to. Example: Ben Zifkin, Hubba’s founder and CEO, speaks at tech and commerce events throughout North America, sharing his ideas on the future of e-commerce.
- User experience: How a customer feels while interacting with your product. Used most often in relation to apps or e-commerce websites, user experience (or UX) design takes into consideration customer’s needs, wants, emotions, and technical requirements while creating a new product.
- Virality: How likely a piece of content – most often a digital video, image or message – is to be widely and rapidly spread to a large audience.
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