How to grow your startup based on “Word of Mouth”

This week the members we talked to were Jyrki and Ville, co-founders of Brella! Together, with their team in Finland, they are creating an online platform that is aiming to change the way we network during events. So far, they have partnered with big events all over the world and they have a personal collection of more than a thousand business cards from all the events they attended. If that wasn’t enough, word of mouth is their main customer acquisition channel at the moment. This blog post is going to go through the most important takeaways from our conversation last week.

The company has its roots in Finland, where the first versions of the product has been built and now they are aggressively targeting their largest target market, the US. Once they started their operations in San Francisco - CA, they chose StartupHouse as their working base because of its community and events startup related. Even so that they were the winners of our last StartupHouse Battlefield, which is a free pitch competition for early stage startups that takes place here. As the price, they got a free month of membership. Check out that event and many others in our calendar by clicking here.

  1. Don’t lose your time, focus

Our life changes constantly because of people we meet on the way. So we’d better know the right people. Jyrki and Ville believe that networking is not being done the right way nowadays. There is a limited amount of people you can meet at the event. It would be great if we could meet everyone, but since we can’t, try to focus on the right people. That will make your networking more efficient.

2. The “help first” mindset.

In an event (or any networking space in general) a lot of people are seeking for the prize. However, with nothing to offer it gets very difficult to connect with people. So, before anything, try to find the value you have to offer to them first. Once you know what you can offer, try to find people that need that. Try to find what they are looking for. Manage the conversation to make it interesting to that other person. Networking is about creating meaningful relationships. Strong relationships.

In Ville's words: “All the businesses are run by people just like you and me. If you don’t know the right people, you are out of business. Being able to have the right people around you is essential. That is the most important asset you can have.”

3. Listen, be interested, ask questions, be genuine.

Once you focus on the right people and understand the “help first” mindset, the next step is to try to make a strong relationship out of that connection. You can do that by trying to find an emotional touch point.

Being genuine may be the most important lesson in terms of networking. People can easily read each other’s intentions. That is called emotional intelligence. So be yourself. As simple as it sounds, that is not an easy task, though. That requires practice.

Connecting with other people is about the passion and value you provide to the conversation. If you show that you love what you do and that you have a genuine interest to help the other person, those connections can create strong relationships. Bare in mind this key questions: “What do you have that will make other people remember you?”, “How did you make the other person feel?”

4. Conclusion

Platforms like Brella will help you with the first step, but the rest is all up to you. If you have any questions for them, feel free to come over to StartupHouse and meet them in any of our very frequent networking meetings. Access Brella for more information and good luck!

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