Apr 5 2012

LetsLunch launches SMART group lunches with proprietary technology.

You asked, we listened.  LetsLunch now supports Group Lunches!

At LetsLunch, We have BIG ears. No Seriously. We do. We listen to your whispers before they become too loud.

Since the launch of Letslunch, we have been big fans of one to one lunches as it really gives each letsluncher the opportunity to connect and build meaningful business relationship and grow your network. However, the opportunity of meeting with multiple awesome letslunchers  at the same time is too enticing for many lunchers. That is exactly what we have for you today! The simplest & the most advanced way of setting up group lunches, with a touch of a button, ever built. Till now, LetsLunch has redefined the one to one networking space. Now, we are giving you a sure shot turbo charged way of developing meaningful relationships with Group Lunches. Here is how it works:

1.     Choose the table size and the restaurant name where you want to organize the group lunch. That is all you need to do!

We don’t take a cut from the restaurants so you can lunch on the cheap.  After all, it’s YOUR Group Lunch.

2.     Once you create the lunch, we will automatically notify all the awesome letslunchers near to the restaurant about your group lunch.

Groups help you meet people with similar interests and you can leverage the LetsLunch community to full potential.

Maximize your lunch ROI and meet several new people with similar interests.
Meet other awesome Lunchers with similar interests and connect with popular communities such as Hacker NewsFounderInstitute, or Online Marketing.

Join a Group or create your own

 


Create a group meal:

Choose a restaurant, table size, and date.  Leave it to us to invite other nearby Lunchers.  There is no need to worry about the menu, or pre-pay before the meal their share at the restaurant.  We do not take a cut to keep your cost low.

 

Start a discussion

Get to know your fellow Lunchers and engage in conversation online, before the meal begins.

    

 

We will continue adding awesome new features for our growing LetLunch community and appreciate any feedback or ideas you might have.  In the meantime, happy lunching!

Sincerely,

Team LetsLunch

 


Feb 16 2012

HackerNews goes offline via LetsLunch

This is the second article in a series outlining the new features released as part of LetsLunch 2.0. In the previous blog post we talked about introducing two people. Here we introduce the ‘Groups’ feature.

 

The ‘Groups’ function on LetsLunch.com allows users to create a group for people to join who have similar interests and networking goals. It skips the steps of composing request emails, checking calendars and locating lunch venues. Just create a group like the ‘Hacker News Group’ and set up a lunch event entering the time, date, location and a description letting the users know why they should have lunch with you and others. Up to 4 people can RSVP themselves to the group lunch event created by you. These groups are a great way to exchange ideas and check on lunches taking place near you. Just like the discussions on Hacker News are more serious and less provocative, similarly LetsLunch group lunches might be small, but the discussion doesn’t get drowned out by the presence of too many people. And as professionals of similar interests get together, the discussion won’t get diluted.

What are the benefits of ‘Groups’? Most networking events don’t provide the intimate, face-to-face interaction required to build trust with other business people. Networking events like meetup provide only the first step, i.e. exchange of business cards, after you have sifted through the many networkers with different goals and introduced yourself to someone you don’t know. It is then your job to follow up

and set up a meeting in person, which in itself requires phone calls and scheduling a convenient meeting time and place.

The Hacker News Group created on LetsLunch.com is meeting on Feb 21st 12 noon at the Grove Cafe, the first group lunch via LetsLunch.com for all you hacker news enthusiasts out there.


Feb 9 2012

Are you a super connector?

There are some people who don’t seem to realize that networking is really about building and maintaining relationships with other business people and not just having a Rolodex bulging with business cards. The key to developing business relationships is to have two way communication utilizing every tool and opportunity to create interaction, be it through your web site, email, newsletters, customer surveys, online message boards and blogs. However nothing quite beats meeting someone face to face. Communication in person is a much richer experience.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do you procrastinate over sending out follow up emails or just feel it’s a waste of time? Do you hesitate in introducing contacts to  each other fearing that the relationship won’t be beneficial to you? Do you assume that your contacts will think you are using them for business?

It can be hard to break through the shell of fear and hesitation of being a super connector. But once you shatter it, the possibilities are endless; the experience can be rewarding and vastly expand your sphere of opportunity. And it doesn’t take much time  to get the ball rolling.

James Altucher quite nicely describes how you can become a meta-connector in his article ‘The 9 skills needed to be a super connector’. Introducing two other people who are great connectors is an excellent way of increasing your own circle of connections. Introducing two people who can be mutually beneficial is another great way of super connecting. You might not get immediate results by introducing two people over lunch apart from a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but in the long run, having been the catalyst for something good, you increase your chances of a return favor.

Get going and apply the 9 skills needed to become a super connector. Professionals are always willing to engage with new and interesting people who can add value to their network. So shake off the fear, the assumptions and the hesitation and get connecting, super connecting!

At letslunch we are launching a feature called “Introduce two people for lunch” with just the name and email id’s of two people you want to meet – setup a lunch for them.

For Anne one of our user wanted to setup a lunch between two people she thought should know each other. She filled out the info and an email went out to both the people about the intro lunch.

So start intro’ing people and pay it forward!

www.LetsLunch.com


Feb 8 2012

Introducing LetsLunch2.0! New Look and New features

LetsLunch.com is now a year old! We have come a long way in the past year, launching in Italy, New Zealand and India. To mark the occasion, we are releasing LetsLunch 2.0,with glossy profiles and new features to make networking over lunch more rewarding.

In the last few months we have incorporated recommendations from LetsLunch users and added some new features which we will explain in separate blogposts.



		
		
		


 



Jan 21 2012

Tell us why you love us and you might win a ThinkBook

Fist of all, a very happy new year to you.
We at LetsLunch have been very busy with working on bringing you LetsLunch 2.0 in the next few days. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, we are collecting some positive feedback that will help generate some buzz leading up to the launch. If you love LetsLunch, please tell us the reason here on LoveThiz. It is as simple as sharing a tweet on Twitter. The most creative five kudos will win a copy of ThinkBook. Please don’t forget to follow @_letslunch on Twitter so that we can DM you if you are one of the winners.
Here are the steps:
2. Choose @_letslunch as the Twitter handle
3. Say why you love us
4. Click on “I LoveThiz” button to share your love on Twitter
We will be watching every single entry!

Jan 20 2012

How to Take your startup international with zero budget

LetsLunch  launched in Italy with explosive media coverage! We had mentions on national television, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Millionaire Magazine, and received thriving social buzz all over Italy.

Here is the repost from our Guest post at business insider http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-take-your-startup-international-without-breaking-the-bank-2011-12

Here are the lessons from our experience.

Sometimes you get overwhelming demand to launch your startup internationally. Postpone it!  Do not attempt to launch at a location foreign to you until you have gained traction in one city/country, and thus, avoid the hassles of extra paperwork, managing human capital, exploring the unknown territories, etc. But startups are all about exceptions and breaking the status quo, sometimes you should and can launch internationally in the early stage of your startup. The biggest challenge is how to handle paperwork and risk trusting people who may have the potential to ruin your startup with a badly managed launch.

Note: I am not advocating that you should launch internationally and lose the focus locally. However, I am talking about the possibility of adding 2 extra work hours a day and result in having a great international launch under your resume.

When a potential country has lot of cultural fit for your product, you will definitely receive a lot of inbound requests from people there interested in helping you bring your startup over.

Don’t dismiss any of those emails and requests.

At this moment, check for two things from these individuals…1: Altitude and 2: Attitude

Altitude is pretty easy to gauge. I used a template of 5 questions to ask [mostly from Paul Graham's essays] and emailed every one of them saying we would love to have them get involved.

  1. Any ideas to help users find us?
  2. Why are you the right person to do this?
  3. What’s your marketing plan with targets, goals, and deadlines?
  4. What are the promotional strategies you have in mind? PR campaigns ideas, community outreach, manage local social media, etc.
  5. Will you be recruiting people to work with you and then manage them?

Ask those questions nicely and the response you get will give you insights on how smart they are. They need not give you all the perfect answers but it will give you an idea of how they think and if you can work with the person. Later on you can throw in your own plan, insights, and guidance accordingly.

Now is where their trust towards you comes into play. You trust them to launch and execute your business abroad, and they agree to be temporarily working without pay and taking the risks is necessary. This type of deal will only be accepted by those who believe in your idea enough to take the risk. They’re the cream of the crop. You wouldn’t have this luxury if you are funded and are paying someone to do it. The strength of their belief in your vision will not compare to the person who passes the test above.

Once they pass these filters, it’s the time to discuss money, bring in paperwork, title task, ect.

I always tell them that we can do a simple revenue sharing agreement for that market, consider legal paperwork, register the local company in the situation of earning more than 100k revenue abroad, or discuss the potential of local investors coming in.

After this, give them a business card, company email, access to local social media accounts, and setup the first goal. For us it was 2000 signups before the launch through our coming soon page. That will be the end of most of the work for you and from now on you just need to email them about their progress [not of signups], watch for local media articles, and mid way through the progress, come up with an official launch date. Only do this after you’ve seen great progress, otherwise inform the country manager that you might not even launch and the shared effort will bring nothing if it doesn’t meet the launch goals.

Once the rubber meets the road and you see the progress.

Motivation slightly goes down here so i often send couple of videos (ABC by Alec Baldwin) and have them look at eveything top down : why are we doing the startup> to make a million dollar> how do we get it-by having 100,000 paying customers> how do we have those customers by having a million non paying customer> how do we get them> …..

There are various things you can do to keep them motivated, top down analysis, bottom down, beginners eye, going fast vs going in the wright direction, short terms vs long term > 10,000 ft view vs daily grind.

Have them also work on getting additional people involved to delegate some work and gain new leverage.

When we were launching in Italy we had 4 people working for us. They even found an incubator who agreed to give them an office space. Thanks to the booming incubator culture you will be able to find one in every city of the world. And the smaller the scene, the more the help they will provide.

If you follow the above and with a bit of luck, you will have a booming launch. Now the work will start post launch towards reaching those xxxxxx no of users. Whatever your goal or the revenue may be.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-take-your-startup-international-without-breaking-the-bank-2011-12#ixzz1k20s1oZj

 


Jan 20 2012

LetsLunch Lands in Italy

For every US based plea to launch in a new city we received requests to expand to Italy, London, Hong Kong, and everywhere in between. How were we supposed to launch globally on a lean budget? How were we supposed to learn about these international markets when we barely had the resources to cover several US cities? This is when some of those international.

What will be our first stop on this world tour?  The wine-rich shores of Italy, where business lunch meetings aren’t just standard, they’re part of the culture.  Italy is the land of two hour lunches where relationships get started and business deals are made.  We couldn’t have asked for a better petri dish to test our service on the international scene.  We couldn’t have asked because you asked us.  Of all the suggestions we received for places to grow, Italy was the resounding winner.  Countless visitors and fans have been begging for a launch in Italy and some evangelists have even partnered with us to make this dream a reality.  They’ve also helped us get covered by Italy’s tech media   The buzz has been remarkable.
Check out http://www.LetsLunch.com/Italy.

Oct 6 2011

LetsLunch Networking Tip #3: Rapport First Ask Second

A guiding principle of being a good salesman is to focus on building rapport with your prospects.  Having strong rapport increases the likelihood they’ll buy your product especially when they feel a connection they don’t have with another salesman.  Building rapport is part of the game and it’s also critical to networking.  Each time you meet a new contact you are creating a relationship.  If someone doesn’t feel a connection with you they’ll be less willing to help.  This is why you should focus on fostering each relationship before asking for anything.  Here are some tips for building rapport with your lunch match and other people you may network with:

  1. Find a Common Interest.  People connect with someone who shares a similar interest whether it be cartoons, sports, video games, tech innovation, sailing, or brewing beer.  We tend to like people that are similar to us which makes feeling a connection that much easier.  Discussing your shared interests will help make your next lunch and future interactions flow smoothly.
  2. Repeat, Approve, and Relate.  Most people like to know the person sitting across the table is engaged in the conversation.  You can show you’re listening by briefly summarizing what they said (repeat), make a suggestion that you agree (approve), and relating it to a personal experience (relate).  This strategy can be very effective at showing you’re engaged but it can also come across as a little fake when overused.
  3. Don’t be afraid to Swear.  The LIGHT use of curse words can set a casual mood and make it easier for your lunchmate to relate.  Guy Kawasaki covers this in his most recent book, Enchantment, and recommends you: swear infrequently, when you can’t control it, when the audience supports it, and if you keep it tame.  He also emphasizes that swearing can be a huge risk so look for cues from your match before dropping a shittake…definitely avoid the F-bomb.

Above all else, be yourself.  People find it easier to relate to someone who is genuine.  Feel free to share your rapport building tips in the comments and help us improve the networking experience with your tweets and shares.


Oct 5 2011

Networking in multiple cities made easy: New Feature

After a week off from the blog we’re back!  Not only are we back to blogging, we’re back to turning out some great new features:This week’s new feature will simplify scheduling lunches in multiple cities by allowing users to maintain several radii or “Lunch Zones.”  Users can now create and update a maximum of five zones under the “Lunch Settings” section of the site (that’s new too).  This has been one of your most requested features as people utilize LetsLunch while traveling but hate constantly changing their zone.  Simply name the zone, enter your target zip code, adjust the bars, and click the save button.  You can also designate one of your zones as a Default for scheduling on the go.
Create Multiple Lunch Zones in your Lunch Settings
Now you’ll be able to select one of your zones during the scheduling process based on where you’ll be.
LetsLunch Scheduling
Be sure to let us know what you think about the new feature and don’t forget to schedule your next LetsLunch.

Sep 22 2011

LetsLunch Networking Tip #2: Bird in hand worth two in the bush

Now more than ever, you should be working to expand your professional network by attending meetups, pitch events, and scheduling LetsLunches; but what about the network you already have in place?  Maintaining a robust network is as equally important as building one but most people leave the new relationship as a simple invitation to connect on Linkedin.  You should never overlook the network you have in place as a source of new opportunities but avoid being that “friend” who only calls when they need something.  Here are some tips on ensuring your network is always operating at full capacity.

  1. Be visible and relevant.  Frequently update your social profiles, tweet on a relevant topic, blog, and even consider producing a quarterly personal newsletter.  Being consistently visible to your network increases the likelihood of your contacts offering suggestions or providing opportunities.  Be careful not to over share as some people will lose interest or miss your important updates which could do more harm than good.
  2. Target individuals.  Make a habit of contacting and following up with a specific number of contacts per week.  Being visible is great but being personal is invaluable.  Having direct contact by phone or email lets you connect directly with the individual and makes them feel more obliged to help you.
  3. Give, Give, Give.  Michael Roderick, a NYC LetsLuncher, blogs on business strategies which includes his G.A.T.E. strategy where the G stands for Give.  Always look to suggest connections, potential partnerships, or new job opportunities that will benefit your contacts.  How often do you come across jobs that you aren’t qualified for but you know someone who’d be perfect?  Not only does this help your contact but it also shows your potential employer that you have the company’s best interest in mind.  These gestures will build rapport with your contacts and will make asking favors easier in the future.

Frequent contact is a key to maintaining a strong network which is ultimately the difference between success and obscurity.  Feel free to share your thoughts on maintaining your network by leaving comments below.