Show And Tell

Networking

With luck, inventors might meet a few key contacts interested in taking their product forward into the marketplace. But many other people can also be helpful. For example, Kim met marketing people for several consumer-product companies that were interested in mountain biking. These contacts couldn't directly help Kim, but that doesn't mean they weren't worth a follow-up call. How can they help? First, they can be ongoing advisors for Kim's products and features. Second, they can offer Kim advice on how to market his product most effectively. And third, they may be able to offer Kim some fund-raising suggestions.

Look at every person you meet at an invention show and ask yourself how they can help you. Be sure to take down the name of anyone you meet who is in your industry. A salesperson at a bike shop, a bike repair person, or even a bicycle manufacturer's sales agent are all possible connections to other contacts who might be able to help Kim get his product into stores.

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Show And Tell.

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