There might not be one distinct key to success, as every CEO of a successful business can offer startups a different game plan. Nonetheless, navigating the world of business solely on internal capabilities is nearly impossible.
Some say that it’s crucial to make valuable connections and build relationships. While it’s good advice, it can seem easier said than done.
This article will discuss why networking is important and provide practical ways for you to do so.
Benefits of networking
Whether you’re an extrovert or someone who prefers to trust your own judgment and keep to yourself, being open to new experiences and approaches is essential. Networking should be on your entrepreneurial to-do list, and here’s why:
- Business exposure: By sharing your brand and offerings with a diverse network, you increase your chances of being noticed, which can lead to new opportunities and increased brand recognition.
- Learning from others: You can gain valuable insights, best practices, and lessons from peers who have faced similar challenges or achieved success in their respective fields. Learning from others can help you avoid common pitfalls, make informed decisions, and continuously improve your business strategies.
- B2B (business-to-business): B2B relationships often open doors to new markets and customer segments.
- Connect to potential investors: Networking events and platforms are frequently attended by potential investors, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and other sources of capital. Building connections with these individuals can be instrumental in securing funding for your business.
You can also achieve these things without necessarily actively networking. However, it can take much more time and work to do so.
Industry events and conferences occur periodically, and simply attending these gatherings without making an effort to network can still be beneficial. It allows you to showcase your expertise and increase your exposure by making others in the business world aware of your presence.
“In industry events, you can seek help, offer advice, or share your insights with others. Many of the people you interact with may naturally approach you in the future,” explains Kristijonas Zibutis, a co-founder of Joggo at Kilo Health.
Use social media effectively:
Some say we are fortunate to live in the digital age, especially if you’re not into in-person networking. This is where LinkedIn and other social media platforms come in handy.
However, just having a profile on LinkedIn, for example, isn’t enough. You should actively share your expertise, create posts, and connect with other entrepreneurs. This makes reaching out simpler compared to in-person events, where you have to impress people on the spot.
Join a community:
These communities offer a wealth of resources, including access to events, educational opportunities, and discussion forums where you can ask questions and get advice.
In addition, it’s a good way to boost your credibility and gain recognition in your industry. To get the most out of being in a community try to get involved by volunteering, speaking at events, or starting conversations.
“When you meet other successful business people, remember that you are one of them. You’re not just a random person who happened to get into the event by luck; you’re an entrepreneur. Don’t let any imposter feelings hinder you from making the most of your interactions.”, says Mantas Kondratavicius, the co-founder of BommeranGo at Kilo Health.
Build relationships with your customers:
Building relationships with your customers can enhance retention and increase exposure to other potential clients. You can receive valuable feedback and be referred to their network.
Simply having a relationship with your customers based on trust and reliability can result in a lifelong partnership. Take the time to listen to their needs, respond to their requests, and treat them as individuals rather than transactions as much as possible.
Now that you’ve got the hang of the basics for networking, it’s time to dive in and start building those connections for success. To keep it simple, just make a plan and be yourself, genuinely looking to help others. You’ll be amazed at the impressive opportunities that’ll come your way in no time.
And don’t forget about following up after a networking event – it’s important for growing relationships and closing deals. Shoot a quick email or a message on LinkedIn within 24 hours of the event to keep the connection alive. Drop a friendly note, express your interest in getting to know them better, and suggest how you can move forward. Keep it informal yet professional, so it sparks their interest in exploring potential business ideas together.
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