Maybe you're a part of a startup trying to start to build up your network. Or maybe you're an older company looking for a fresh new perspective. Either way, you've probably gone on more coffee dates than you can count, trying to find the perfect partner for your company.
So, how do you find that dream date?
First, you've got to put yourself out there. Go to a bunch of different networking events- but not any events. Find the ones that interest you and align with your company's mission. That way, you will be able to find like-minded people you can bond with easier. (Maybe you'll even enjoy the event itself too)
Second, make the first move. Now you have all these business cards from different networking events. Don't wait for the other person to reach out to you first. This is 2017- anyone can make the first move. Email your new potential network people. Make sure you're genuine in your email. Talk about something you thought might interest them or maybe mention you'd enjoy talking more about a previous talking point. No one likes a generic email. Most importantly, be sure to end it with a direct question, so that they're prompted to respond.
So now that you've found some people to go on coffee dates with, it's time to get ready for that date! Be sure to set a definite time (a Google Calendar invite never hurts). Also, do a little bit of background research on the person you're about to meet so you have some talking points. Most importantly, just be yourself! The perfect partner for your company should be able to work with you and you should be able to work with them as they are.
Now go out there and network!