There are on-going plans to start Huzaq Café in London, United Kingdom. Currently, I am relying on my mentor, Mr. Ahmed Razak, who is also my uncle. Mr. Ahmed will be of great help as he is professionally a sales and marketing director. Besides, he has started a well-doing electronic shop in the city. Other personals networks that will be of great help for the project include Aabdeen Abdala and Mohammed Ali who have been my friends from college. The two will assist in mentoring in the new business. One aspect of importance in this venture is mentors who according to Patton and Marlow (2011) opens doors for business and provides entrepreneurs with great resources, information, advice, and other contacts.
This course will be of great impact as I have attained significant skills in entrepreneur. For example, I am carrying out information interviews to not only explore my career but for networking purposes. Secondly, I am applying business and networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Ghezzi et al (2016) explain that business and social networking sites are essential in opening doors for ventures by joining relevant groups, through individual connections, and identifying persons in my network who can boost my business. Martinez and Aldrich (2011) explain that professional online networking site helps individuals to form relationships with individuals who are in their field. This will be of great help in identifying new leads, identification of best practices, new trends in the coffee industry, and attain personal practical solutions.
Short-Term and Long-Term Professional Goals
The core networking goal for Huzaq is for the venture to succeed by learning from professionals and personal networks. Currently, my major network is personal networks. I will use family and friends (my networks) as the stepping stones to attain my long-term professional networks.
Non-business acquaintances, families, and friends will help the business to get more clients. They will build referral networks that will help in building the business’s resources. One short term goal for the business is to build a support community. To build a support community, I will make contact with individuals in the coffee industry. This will be attained by applying both professionals and personal networks. Veit et al (2014) defines a community as a group that shares trends, cultures, or opinions. Building a support community means that a group formulates who will share similar interests with Huzaq which in turn will promote the organization.
The second short term goal is to build the Huzaq’s profile. A strategic plan for the company will be created for the next seven days. Eisenmann (2013) explains that a strategic profile includes the products and services that a business offers and the future plans for a business. Huzaq plans to grow organically where it will expand and acquire new customers and resources over time naturally. The first step in formulating a business profile is formulating an organizational strategy that will comprise both short-term and long term goals. This will lay the foundation for the company’s vision and mission. After formulating the organizational strategy, a strategic profile for the company will be created which will be attained by conducting a SWOT analysis.
Huzaq requires to find and win in the coffee industry. One long-term goal is to come up with a winning strategy for Huzaq at the backbone of its business plan. The first step in this goal is a past analysis of the coffee house industry. For example, there are new trends like superfoods (lucmo, turmeric, maca, and medicinal mushrooms) which are taking businesses to the next level. Other strategies in coffee houses include nitro coffee, goth latte, egg coffee, and blue pea flower coffee. To find and win in the coffee house industry, there is a need to explore the successes and failures of competitors. This will be attained through professional networks in the industry that will provide information on some of their successes and failures in the industry.
The second long-term goal is to build a knowledge and expertise base. This goal will be facilitated by professional networks. Eisenmann (2013) explains that professional networks help in identifying practical solutions to possible problems. For example, associating with the professional network will help in identifying best practices in the industry and business world in general.
Advantages of Networking
One benefit of using networking to attain these goals is that it will increase my general skills, abilities, and knowledge. Every business person is likely to face varying tribulations and tests and professional contacts may assist to get around such issues. This is because the experience is the best strategy in exploring challenges and professional networks may guide throughout the challenge. The second best is the benefits of mentors in building the company’s profile. These are individuals who are willing to see the business grow and will guide in every step of the business from inception to its growth, during challenges and in celebration moments.
While building the company’s profile, networking will heighten brand awareness of Huzaq, products produced and sold in the business. This will be of benefit to help meet my KPI targets. For example, there is a need to set targets on gross profit, costs of goods and sales. Networking is likely to build confidence where during the start of the course, my network confidence was low but through interaction with other professionals, I will be comfortable to communicate and find and win in the coffee house industry.
For the networking plan, I will employ Cross and Thomas’s (2011) four actions plan. The plans consist of four steps: analyze, de-layer, and diversify..
The first step is to explore the individuals in my network. Some of the elements to consider include their location where Cross and Thomas (2011) states that one should consider whether they are within the company, unit, or the team. Other elements to consider are the benefits of their interactions, and whether they are energizers or not.in my network, I will analyze if the people, see opportunities during challenges, are committed, and trustworthy. Networks to avoid include the de-energizers who miss commitments, quick to critique individuals rather than ideas, points obstacles quickly and unable to create opportunities. I will then classify my network regarding their benefits they provide in terms of work/life balance, a sense of worth, personal support, personal development, political influence and support, and information. This will evaluate whether the network is increasing my abilities or not.
Decide which relationships to back-away from by eliminating all individuals who swap my energy or the de-energizers. This is followed by evaluating which class has more individuals, which should be followed by identifying the person who has too much of me through geography, hierarchy or function. Is this healthy or not? This will be promoted by writing down three expected business results and identifying which individual would help in each result.
De-layer is a strategy to create a networking room and calls for the next step to fill the room with the right individuals. Diversification will be facilitated through the use of worksheets. To start with, I will categorically list the six classes identified above and fill personal contacts who can fit in each category. These may include colleagues who are selfless, energetic and positive. The second aspect of the diversification process is ensuring that the network meets my professional and personal goals. For example, Huzaq is planning on four business segments: affluent locals, students, tourists, business persons, and travelers in the city. The network will be diversified to include all the five segments.
To fully implement the networking plan, I will join a mastermind group which will be a peer to peer mentoring applied by the group members to solve issues through advice and input from other members. One of the goals for the networking process is forming a community support group which in this case will be attained instantly from the mastermind group. The second implementation procedure is identifying more mentors in the coffee houses industry. With my current network, there is a need to fill the networking gaps by attending more events organized by my personal and professional networks to meet more contacts. The third implementation strategy is to attend start-ups training that is available within my vicinity. In the trainings, I will meet with other people within or outside my industry. Learning from other entrepreneurs starting their business will be of great help. Attending a startup networking event particular in my field facilitates effective communication skills and will be a learning area where I want my business to go. There is an online platform where like-minded individuals meet like meetup.com which includes startups events. I will connect with people through social media and in particular LinkedIn and Twitter.
The last aspect of a networking plan is to ensure that I utilize my contacts as much as possible. I will assess if the networks attained can be used in different spheres. For example, the identified political sphere may have contacts that can be of benefit I personal development. The second form of assessment is to identify which network provides more benefit than others. If relationships without sufficient yield will they benefit is I put more energy.
Cross, R. and Thomas, R. (2013). A Smart Way To Network. Harvard Business Review.
Eisenmann, T. (2013). Managing startups: Best blog posts. ” O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.
Ghezzi, A., Gastaldi, L., Lettieri, E., Martini, A., & Corso, M. (2016). A role for startups in unleashing the disruptive power of social media. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6), 1152-1159.
Martinez, M. A., & Aldrich, H. E. (2011). Networking strategies for entrepreneurs: balancing cohesion and diversity. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 17(1), 7-38.
Patton, D., & Marlow, S. (2011). University technology business incubators: helping new entrepreneurial firms to learn to grow. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 29(5), 911-926.
Veit, D., Clemons, E., Benlian, A., Buxmann, P., Hess, T., Kundisch, D., … & Spann, M. (2014). Business models. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 6(1), 45-53.Veit, D., Clemons, E., Benlian, A., Buxmann, P., Hess, T., Kundisch, D., … & Spann, M. (2014). Business models. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 6(1), 45-53.
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