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Whether you’re already on your entrepreneurial journey or just starting out, you need to know how to network. Learning to use networks to your advantage is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important of all is to keep your business from failing.
Why is networking so important? Well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that about 20% of all small businesses fail within their first year. In order not to become another statistic, it’s important to do as much as possible to keep your business thriving and relevant even before you’ve got it up and running. A great way to do this is through networking.
You don’t have to go to every networking event and spend your time at every trade conference that comes to town to network effectively. Rather than going to every event, I choose locations based on where the type of people I want to connect with are present. Don’t just meet people; this can be a waste of time. Meet the right people and you will see the right results.
Expand your business
Before your company takes off, networking can help you find the right team for the job. After all, you want to surround yourself with people who are not only a good match for each other, but who also have the same goals and aspirations as you.
When I founded Ecom Automation Gurus, it was crucial to have a team that was culturally a good fit for the company. But it was also important to have a team that suits me personally. Therefore, it was important to me not to waste my time with any networks – targeted networking should be the goal here.
Even if you start out as a one-person show, you’ll eventually get to a point where you want your business to grow with you. Hiring from a network of people you know and building and maintaining partnerships with people you already have a relationship with can be invaluable to a company’s success.
Related: Effective networking requires mastering these 5 skills
Find new partners
Sure, networking can help you find the right team for the job, but do you know what else it can help you with? Partnerships, Resources and Funds. That’s right – networking can take your concept from idea to business just like that. With a broader network of people working in either the same business or similar businesses, you have more access to things that can help you grow and thrive.
Someone you met at university can be your new investor, or your buddy from that trade conference can help you connect 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 those connections from the start.
Have you ever wished you could let all your brilliant ideas bounce off someone who would just “get” them? Maintaining the right kind of network is just as important as building a network, and learning how to do both is important to being an effective entrepreneur and leader.
You may feel like you have an excellent idea and wonder why it didn’t work for you. In this situation, your network offers you the opportunity to turn those ideas into tangible business options with a higher probability of delivering results. If you talk to other professionals in your field, you might realize how little you need to change or tweak to take your idea from good to great.
As I found out before starting Ecom Automation Gurus, talking to people who share the same intellect and vision can help you grow and thrive.
See also: 11 networking tips when time is short
become more visible
When you network effectively, you become more than just the face of your business. As an entrepreneur, or even a budding entrepreneur, you know that it’s always best to differentiate yourself by what you offer, rather than just one thing you’ve done.
With a network of people you connect with regularly, you can become the entrepreneur of choice for new ventures in the pipeline and open up new and exciting prospects for your career.
Remember that none of these benefits will materialize 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 keep in touch.
See also: How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth