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5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Startup Open House

Are you excited for Startup Open House Toronto 2017?

We’re very proud of our workplace at Points and can’t wait to open the doors of the office to all you beautiful SOH attendees.

Startup Open House is a fantastic opportunity for you to see what working at an innovative startup is really like. It’s also a great chance to connect with Toronto’s top entrepreneurs.

But with so many awesome things to see in such a short time, you need to make sure you get the most from your evening. Here are our top five tips for getting the most out of Startup Open House 2017, whichever city you’re in.

1. Build a Path

Unless you have a teleporter, you’re not going to be able to visit every company. So, first you need to sit down and answer this question:

“What ONE THING do I want to get out of Startup Open House?”

You may be looking for a new career opportunity. You could be looking to grow your personal network. Maybe you just want to nose around your city’s most innovative workplaces.

Whatever it is, write it down. Do a little research on startups you’d like to visit and decide which top 4 or 5 startups will best help you reach your goal. Then use Startup Open House’s Path Builder to map out your journey between each one.

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Plan your time and route, and you’ll have more time to enjoy all the fun!

2. Plan your time

When you’re building your Path, be realistic about how much time you can spend in each startup. Even if your top 4 or 5 startups are reasonably close together, you will have a better time if you plan how long you want to spend in each.

Try to visit the startups you most want to see first, in a sensible order. You may find you only spend 10 or 15 minutes in one startup, but get caught up in the fun for a couple of hours somewhere else. Leave yourself room to be flexible so you can do this without pressuring yourself.

Remember that you will be making your own way between each office, and you’ll need to account for that. If you can, try not to leave more than a 5- or 10-minute walk between businesses. The time you spend travelling is time you could be exploring!

3. Be ready to network

Don’t forget that Startup Open House isn’t only about seeing the way a top startup works, it’s about meeting the people who work there too.

Even if you’re only along for the ride, remember that you have a great opportunity to network – so be ready for it. If you have business cards, bring them. If you don’t, perhaps consider getting some made.

You could try making a digital business card using a tool like BVCard that you can quickly email or message to people. At the very least, make sure you have your LinkedIn profile up to date.

And even if you’re not looking for a job, you may find it worthwhile to create a Jobbio profile, SOH’s official job-seekers partner.

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Our Pointsters will be looking just as pleased to see you – say hi!

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up

Walking into the offices of successful startups can be daunting, but there’s really no need to be shy. We’re super excited to meet you, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or strike up a conversation. We’d be disappointed if you didn’t!

It can often help if you have a few general questions planned or an area about which you’d like to know more. That way you already have an idea of what you want to talk about.

If there’s one question you should ALWAYS have a concise answer for, it’s the inevitable, “What do you do?”. Whether you’re a student exploring your career options, or an entrepreneur yourself, you should always have a short, powerful answer to this question.

It could be an ‘elevator pitch’, it could be your personal mission statement. Try to think of ways to warm up the conversation and make yourself memorable. Just as long as it isn’t, “Uhh…I’m a {enter your job title here}.”

5. Remember to follow up

One of the biggest sins of networking (and we’ve all done it) is not following up… or following up two or three weeks later when you’ve long been forgotten.

Whether you’ve collected business cards or email addresses, don’t leave them decomposing in your bag. Take them out when you get home and send off a note to everyone you connected with.

It doesn’t have to be much. A simple, “It was great to meet you, I’m looking forward to speaking to you more about X” will suffice. You’ll make yourself stand out, and your new contact won’t be confused when you contact them later.

Final words of advice

We asked our lead man for the evening, Product Manager Gordon Tang, for his top tip. His advice was: “Make the most of your time; there’s always something unexpected and awesome to learn about each startup when you visit them in person.”

You’ll always get more from an event like Startup Open House when you’re prepared. Take some time today or tomorrow to sit down and figure out what it is you really want to achieve. Then you can spend the evening doing more of what Startup Open House is all about – exploring!

For more information about taking part in or attending Startup Open House Toronto, please visit https://www.startupopenhouse.com/event/toronto-2017.

 

 

 

 


Header photo: Brendan Church. All other photos by Pointsters with their permission.

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