• Futurpreneur(s) and partners

Meet Strangers & Grow Your Business

Futurpreneur | November 4, 2014

Christopher Kelly, Owner, Sandler Training, Futurpreneur Canada Mentor, ckelly@sandler.com, Toronto, ON

I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news is simple. You can participate and get involved in your choice of more than 200 Canadian based events taking place during Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 17-23. You have a whole week to “get out there,” which is something many of my clients tell me they want to do, since it relates to their business growth. Global Entrepreneurship Week is your opportunity to hang out with other like-minded people, trade some valuable business tidbits, and grow your network. This is good news!

Suppose you’re thinking of “getting out there” during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the bad news isn’t so simple. When I was young, my mother said to me on several occasions, “don’t talk to strangers,” “speak when spoken to,” and “respect your elders.”  I’m not sure if you heard flavors of these when you were growing up, but you may have. This leads to the bad news – you’re like me, most of our caregivers didn’t sit you down on our eighteenth birthday to tell us we can NOW talk to strangers (especially regarding to business growth), also, they didn’t tell us that we might have to initiate speaking in order to be spoken to, and they certainly didn’t explain, “you are an adult now and you can view yourself as an equal to the other adults you encounter, regardless of their business title.”

Oddly enough, because my Mom (sorry Mom), never told me about all of these new realities when I turned 18, sometimes the “pre-18 protective Mom” would come with me to events that are similar to those being offered during GEW and I wouldn’t come away with the results I envisioned. I would fall short of things like meeting new people, prospecting, networking, booking meetings, or asking for referrals. I felt like the events weren’t the right ones, didn’t have the right people, or I’d tell myself that the event was sub-par. For falling short, I put the blame on my Mother?


  1. Identify and book in your calendar at least two events/activities you’ll invest your time and effort in during GEW.  Don’t “unbook” them or “miss” them, or be “too tired” to go to them.
  2. Leave your “pre-18 childhood advice” at home.
  3. In going to these two (or greater) events, have a plan.
    – What outcomes do you want? (meetings, referrals, conversations)
    – How many strangers will you want to initiate a conversation with at each event?
  4. Prepare and rehearse how you’ll talk about your business. Let me suggest that how you talk about your business should be relative to the strangers you’re speaking with; it shouldn’t be self-centric. Make sense?
  5. Learn something; take note of it and of course, action it.
    – Sounds easy, I know.  It isn’t.  Keep a ‘hot list’ and prioritize it. Choose one or two things you can improve on or change. If you’re gutsy, meet someone new at the event and tell them and create a new accountability partnership.
    – Also, take note of when you feel uncomfortable during your stranger meeting effort. You know, when you get the butterflies in your tummy feeling? If you get that feeling, well done!
  6. Debrief on your GEW results and make the necessary adjustments to your growth behaviors, attitudes and techniques.
  7. Go and grow your awesome business.  You deserve it.