1) Surround yourself with the right people
When starting out in business, especially when you are still at school, knowing the right people and having the connections are very hard to get hold. Surrounding yourself with people that believe in what you do helps you to build a solid foundation for your network. As a young guy starting out there were a lot of people looking to watch you fall and make mistakes, people will look to bring you down and tell you, you can't do this or that. By having a good set of mentors or business professionals on your side they will help you stay focused, introduce you to the right people and help you to build your brand and business. Take yourself to local networking events and make yourself know to the local business community.
2) Make yourself relevant
Relevance is key. You need to put yourself out there and not expect people to just come to you. If you have something to say then make yourself known to the relevant people in that field. If you don't put yourself out there then no one will know who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. In business, if you just sit back and expect things to just happen, the chances are someone else is going to come along and do exactly what you wanted to. So taking charge, putting yourself out there and making yourself relevant will really make other business professionals know you are there to do business and not to just waste time.
3) Get Endorsements
If you can get high profile businesses and people to support and endorse what you do, that will stand you in great stead to being taken much more seriously as a teen. For me, I partnered up with multiple blue chip companies to help put me in a position that made other professionals see that I was serious about what it was I was doing. Getting good mentors that are of high profile and highly regarded in the business community is also another great way to be taken seriously. I was fortunate to gain a few high profile businessmen and women to mentor me whilst on my business journey.
Confidence is key - If you are not confident in what you are doing then no person out there is going to believe in what it is you are trying to achieve. Having a clear vision and knowing what you want and how you are going to achieve it is a great way to make people you want to talk to listen to what it is you have to say. For me, confidence in the way I approach people and say what I say has played to my advantage as it makes a teen entrepreneur appear a lot older than they actually are ( which isn't a bad thing!).
5) Put your money where your mouth is
If you say you are going to do something, do it. Don't be one of those businesses people that say all sorts of things and end up not following through with it. For me, I set targets and deadlines to play to. Credibility is so important when you are in business so don't say you are going to be able to do something when you know it probably won't happen. For me, when I started out last year I set a target to inspire over 6,000 young people to take up an apprenticeship or go into business, one year down the line we hit 8,5000 young students all across the UK. This for me showed that putting your money where your mouth is and saying what you are going to do really goes a long way and people really take note of it.
One of the most frequent things I get asked from many youngsters is how do you successfully network a room of business professionals and walk away having made a ton of useful connections and business links. Here below are my 5 key steps to networking and how it has helped me to get myself know in the business community.
1) Have a strategy
Having a strategy is key to networking. You need to know why you are there, what you want to achieve from being there and most crucially who is going to be there. Many of us all lead very busy lives so it is important to not waste your time. Know beforehand if attending this particular event is gong to be beneficial for you. You need to have an action plan on what you want to get out of it. Maybe you want to land yourself a new contract or meet new people? Just make it worth your time because otherwise, you could be better off spending your time elsewhere on more important things for your business.
2) Reach out beforehand
If you are taking yourself out of the workplace or attending a morning or evening event it would be wise to research on who is going to be there. Look at who the speakers are or check the delegate list beforehand. Once you've done that, reach out to them on all the social media channels that you can. Drop them a note on LinkedIn or tweet out to them. By doing this it makes it much easier for you to introduce yourself once at the event and it will only take up a couple of minutes of your time.
3) Elevator Pitch Have your elevator pitch at the ready. Being new to the business world it is crucial to grab the listeners attention straight away. Like you, they are more than likely there to make new awesome connections as well. So keep it short and punchy and get straight to the point. I always aim to get them pulling out their business card within the fist 20/30 seconds of meeting them. That way you know you've made them curious to find out more. 3 key points to cover in this are; who you are, what you do and why you love it.
4) Follow Up
Follow ups are probably one of the most frequent things many people miss out and yet it's one of the most important things to maintaining your business connections. Just under 50% of people will only follow up once after meeting up with that particular person. As a result on average, only 3% sales are made. The more and more times you follow up the more they convert into sales. The theory goes, only 30% of people follow up twice resulting in 4% sales. 12% of people follow up three times resulting in 13% sales and only 10% of people will follow up more than 4 times resulting in over 80% worth of sales. This is because, during that time, your potential clients are beginning to build up the trust and loyalty so that they then have the confidence to buy into what you are offering. I like to call it polite persistence.
5) Business Cards
Having good quality business cards are probably the final last touch to mastering the arts of networking. We’ve all come across those flimsy business cards that always end up scrunched up or thrown to the bottom of a wardrobe. Remember, when you are out networking you are representing your brand and professionalism, especially when you are a teen entrepreneur. Investing into this will help you in the long run as people will remember you and will more than likely hold onto it rather than a poor quality one. Whatever you do don't write your details on the back of a piece of paper, the chances are it's going to get thrown away.
We are making the pledge to inspire, engage with and raise aspirations to 5 million young people all across the UK by 2020.
We all know that the careers advice and guidance in schools and colleges is not up to scratch, everyone keeps banging on about this very issue but we see very little progress being made to tackle this.
As the corporate world continues to thrive with opportunities for young people the educational system somewhat seems to be continually failing by not correctly advising young people about what options are available to them after they have completed their secondary education.
Many careers advisors have never actually experienced the corporate world and most of the time have no idea of how the world of work actually operates. It is my belief that we should be bringing businesses into schools and colleges so that young people are learning directly from business professionals as opposed to the same old, outdated and out of touch systems that are still in place from 50 odd years ago.
I myself would have loved the opportunity to have done an apprenticeship but unfortunately, I did not know where to turn to or had the correct and proper information to get hold of. I ended up not having a clue what to do so continued on with my studies at sixth form.
This is what inspired me to set up my own company at 16 to tackle this very issue. I didn’t want any other young person out there to be in the same position as I was not knowing what to do, what career path to go down and the wider issues of not being job ready.
Two years on, through my company Young Professionals UK, we have worked with over 50 schools and colleges across the UK, inspired over 20,000 young people and have a network of over 60,000 young aspiring professionals. As well as this we have had great support from many companies across the regions we operate in and I am very proud of what we have achieved so far.
Something needs to change and soon. I want young people to be coming out of school having a good idea of what they want to do, having a great skill set that makes them employable and having the confidence to say that I am worthy of this job. So reading this, if you are wondering how you can get involved? Simply say yes. Say yes to being responsible for helping to inspire and raise aspirations to millions of our UK youth by giving them the opportunity to showcase themselves to you.
We would love you to be apart of what I feel will be one of the greatest social movements that we will see in the provision of advice and guidance given out to young people.
A 17-YEAR-OLD entrepreneur says he could not be happier after 500 students and 20 employers attended his own skills event at Derby's Roundhouse.
Dan Miller organized the event after raising thousands of pounds through sponsorship deals.
He pulled it off in just three months – despite being in the middle of his A-levels.
A TEENAGE entrepreneur is behind a new skills conference in Derby that is set to attract hundreds of students. Seventeen-year-old Dan Miller, founder and chief executive of Young Professionals UK, is organising the event to link youngsters up with businesses.
Dan Miller is a very impressive young man. At17-years-old, the Derbyshire born entrepreneur has already secured support from big businesses and aims to inspire young people. He spoke to Liz Cartwright about A Levels, Dragon’s Den and his future
Dan Miller is thought to be Derby's youngest MD at 17.T The business Young Professionals was set up by Dan when he was 16. He is asking why the Government is not doing more to encourage young entrepreneurs set up their own businesses.
DAN Miller is on time, looks smart and has a firm handshake. At 17, he is quite the businessman. His chequered blazer and purple shirt ooze proficiency, while his immaculate black shoes veto any assumption I'm greeting an amateur.
A TEENAGER from Derbyshire has set up his own business offering careers advice to students, as he feels schools fail to provide a good enough service. Dan Miller, 17, was able to launch Young Professionals after securing sponsorship deals with a string of businesses.
At the Nottingham City Business Club's latest monthly lunch, the 86 year-old son of the club's founder and former president, John McMeeking, met its youngest attendee to date, 17 year-old entrepreneur, Dan Miller.
At the Nottingham Means Business Lunch today I met Dan Miller – a 16 year old in a hurry! Dan has set up a network called Young Professionals – which he is launching at Antenna on 30th June 2015.
Motivated sixteen-year-old Dan Miller, is planning to inspire other students in Nottingham during a business event set up through his own business forum: Inspiring a NEW Generation (ING), later this month at Antenna.
On 30 June 2015 Nottingham Means Business (NMB) was proud to support the inaugural Young Professionals event at Antenna in Nottingham.