The Importance of Networking for Entrepreneurs and How It Benefits Their Business
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Most successful small businesses have one thing in common, they’ve created a strong professional network allowing them to thrive and grow. As an aspiring entrepreneur, networking is crucial for getting your business off the ground and for its future success.
Making valuable connections through networking can help you gain business advice from experts, receive referrals and grow your customer base. As a novice entrepreneur, you might be unsure about how and when to network. This article explores how to create and maintain your network and the benefits it will have for your business.
Join an Entrepreneurs’ Organization
These organizations aim to provide like-minded entrepreneurs with a platform to connect. Additionally, attending seminars gives you valuable insights regarding starting and running a business.
As these organizations have thousands of members, it is the perfect place to find yourself a mentor. Every successful entrepreneur has always had a mentor(s) to guide them regarding the intricacies of a business and navigating through bottlenecks.
Prominent organizations to join include:
● Business Collective
● Young Entrepreneur Council
● Founders Society
● Global Entrepreneurship Network
Attend Networking Events
● World Business Forum
● Wall Street Journal Business Conference
● Harvard Business School Global Networking
● Accelerated Global Connections
In addition to attending major events, aim to take part in numerous local networking events as well. Major events allow you to meet and interact with reputed professionals in the industry. But, the connections you make at local events are the ones that will help you create a strong support system for your business. These include professionals from fields such as public relations, manufacturing, supply chain, news, and more.
Utilize Social Media
Jess Creatives points out that platforms such as LinkedIn have made it extremely easy to network with people. With a simple search, you can find numerous experts in your industry to connect with. While sending an unsolicited message might sound daunting, you will be surprised by how open people are towards connecting and giving advice.
Additionally, top industry professionals understand the power of networking and have harnessed it to grow their businesses. While starting out they would have done the same thing you are doing now. So stop contemplating and start reaching out!
Invest in Business Cards
Business cards are an incredibly useful tool when it comes to networking. Not only do they provide a simple and efficient method of passing your contact information to someone you meet, but they also help create a favorable first impression that can set the stage for future business interactions. Additionally, having the ability to clearly state one’s title or area of expertise on a card is an invaluable asset and can be used as an effective conversation starter when networking with potential partners or employers. When creating business cards, you can use an online tool that lets you adapt templates to add your own images and text. This may help you create an eye-catching and memorable business card.
Networking has changed a lot over the past few years, thanks in part to COVID. Using technology, such as tablets, smartphones, and computers, to stay in touch with like-minded business professionals has become the norm. Scheduling a Zoom call or attending a Skype meeting happens every day for many people, so it’s important to harness this technology when you can.
Now’s the time to invest in a new tablet or computer (one with a good webcam) and a pair of headphones or earbuds that cancel noise and come with a built-in microphone. These are the essentials for conducting business through video conferencing and chats.
Benefits of Networking
Here are the top benefits you will reap once you have created a strong pool of connections:
● Business Opportunities: People you connect with could become your next business partner, supplier, client, or mentor. Each of these will have an immense impact on your business, which without networking, would not have been possible
● Referrals: As a business owner, having a network of other businesses that bring you leads is a cost-effective and reliable pathway to build your consumer base. Additionally, you can create brand ambassadors from customers who deeply connect with your brand and mission.
● Mentorship: Are you struggling to secure funding or create an efficient supply chain? According to Network Wise, a mentor can help you find solutions to these problems and gain insights on dealing with future difficulties.
● Connections: Do you have a list of people you can call in time of need? With networking, you can build connections whom you can reach out to for advice, assistance, or chat about new ideas.
As reported by the National Law Review, after putting in the effort to build your network, it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with your connections. Reach out to your connections once in a while, send them articles you feel will be of interest to them, and if possible, arrange a time to meet in person. If a connection has helped you in time of need, show your appreciation by sending a gift with a handwritten note. And most importantly, be of assistance when someone reaches out.
Networking is a constant activity all entrepreneurs partake in. The benefits provided by it outweigh any other activity as it has an overreaching impact on your business as a whole. Developing good networking skills can take time, but the important part is to put yourself out there and make yourself recognizable in the business world.
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