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Whether you’re already on your entrepreneurial journey or just starting, you need to know how to network. Learning to use networking to your advantage is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. There are many reasons to do this, but the most important of them all, perhaps, is to keep your business from failing.
Why is networking so important? Well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found approximately 20% of all small businesses fail within their very first year. To avoid becoming another statistic, it’s essential to do as much as you can to keep your business flourishing and relevant even before you set it up. An excellent way to do this is to network.
You don’t have to go to all the networking events and spend your time at every professional conference that rolls into town to network effectively. Instead of going out to every event, I target spots depending on where the type of people I want to associate with will be present. Don’t just meet people; that can be a waste of time. Meet the right people, and you’ll see the right results.
Expanding your business
Before your business takes off, networking can help you get to where you have the right team for the job. After all, you want to surround yourself with people who are not only a good fit, but also have the same goals and aspirations as you do.
When I started Ecom Automation Gurus, it was crucial to have a team that was a proper cultural fit for the company. But it was also essential to have a team that was the right fit for me personally. So, it was important not to waste my time networking with just anyone — purposeful networking should be the aim here.
Even if you’re starting as a one-person show, you’re eventually going to get to a place where you want to have your business grow with you. Hiring from a network of people you know, and building and fostering partnerships with people you already have a rapport with can be invaluable to the success of a business.
Finding new partners
Sure, networking can help you find the right team for the job, but do you know what else it can help you do? Partnerships, resources and funds. That’s right — networking can take your concept from idea to business just like that. With a more extensive network of people either in the same business or similar businesses, you have more access to things that can help you grow and prosper.
A person you met at university can become your new investor or your buddy from that professional conference can help you get in the room with a new client. Targeted networking is a great idea, but also remember that everyone you’ve ever met has the potential to be part of your network. So, don’t be afraid to build on and leverage these connections right from the start.
Have you ever wished you could bounce all your brilliant ideas off of someone who would just “get” them? Nurturing the right kind of network is just as important as building one, and it’s essential to learn how to do both to be an effective entrepreneur and leader.
You can feel like you have an excellent idea and wonder why it hasn’t worked out for you. In this situation, your network offers you the ability to take those ideas and transform them into tangible business options with a higher likelihood of delivering results. When you talk to other professionals in your field, you may realize how little you need to switch around or tweak to take your idea from good to great.
As I found even before I started Ecom Automation Gurus, speaking with people who share the same intellect and vision can help you grow and flourish.
Becoming more visible
When you network effectively, you become more than just the face of your business. As an entrepreneur or even a would-be-entrepreneur, you know that it’s always best to stand out for what you can offer rather than simply one thing you’ve done.
With a network of people you regularly connect with, you can become the go-to entrepreneur for new ventures in the pipeline and have new and exciting prospects open up for your career.
Remember that none of these advantages will come to fruition if you network ineffectively. One way to do this is to start with a light conversation. Talk about what you do, what you want to do and your specializations — remember to exchange contact details and then stay in touch.