What Networking means for Startup Founders

What Networking means for Startup Founders

Networking is essential for startups because it assists them in locating potential customers, clients, and partners. The more people they interact with and the larger their network, the more likely they are to discover new business opportunities.

Meeting new people at networking events is a great way to start as it comes with the B benefit of access to potential customers and business partners. Even so, as your business grows, networking will become more difficult. The key is to use networking as a business tool and as a means of expanding your business.

What exactly is Networking?

Networking is the practice of establishing and maintaining relationships with others in order to reap the benefits of those relationships. You can participate in a variety of networking events, including conferences, social media events, and other networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Networking Has Many Advantages

As you network with people, you get to learn about their interests and how they intend to use your product or service. The more information you have on people, the more likely it is that you will find some of them as potential customers and business partners.

Securing support for your venture through mentorship is a critical component of networking. Mentors obtained through networking will most often have far more experience in your industry – something from which you can learn. These mentors are usually industry leaders, which means you may have access to even more networking opportunities as a result of this connection.

Networking with other professionals in your industry will help you gain exposure to a larger audience, developing a strong network will give you more leverage with investors. The high-quality connections you make while networking may attract a potential investor to invest in your startup. Without these connections, it may be tougher to convince investors that you could make a return on their investment.

But the challenges with Networking are …

Networking necessitates interaction with other people, particularly new people, and striking up a conversation with a stranger can be difficult. You’d have to think about what to talk about in order to keep the other person engaged in the conversation.

Another challenge is the fear of rejection. You may feel that some people are uninterested in conversing with you or, worse, are rude to you. While the latter rarely happens, some people you try to talk to may be uninterested. They may be trying to talk to a specific person or may not want to speak at all and so only respond in monosyllables, which makes it difficult to carry on the conversation.

A good conversation is wonderful, but only if it leads somewhere. You may come across people who ramble on about everything under the sun, or you may also be a rambler!

So, how should you network?

Referrals are the best and simplest way to meet new people. Stay with the people you already know and who know the people you want to meet. You will almost certainly be welcomed if you are introduced through them or join in on their conversations.

Social media is an effective way to get to know important contacts better without the pressure of a face-to-face meeting for which you may be unprepared. Seek out like-minded or key contacts you’d like to get to know better through Linkedin, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Start a conversation with them by commenting on a link they posted or responding to a comment they made. 

When networking, make sure you’re not doing all of the talking. Being a good listener is the key to being a good conversationalist. If you ask another person for advice or an opinion, give them the opportunity to offer it and tell you. Alternatively, they may be looking for you to add value to their work. If you do all of the talking, the other person may get the impression that you are uninterested in what they have to say and are unsure what action to take with the information you have provided.

Read our article on Conversation Intelligence and Startups

One goal of networking is to tap into the network of the people with whom you are meeting. Each person you meet will know another 50 – 100 people, and if you can get introductions to some of these contacts, you will quickly expand your network and your chances of making a very valuable connection. Inquire with your contacts if they can recommend a professional organization or give you the names of some people you should be speaking with.

Create a reason to keep the relationship going if you want to build a rapport with another person. If you read an article that adds to a conversation you had at a networking meeting, save it and send it to them with a brief note about what you found interesting and how you believe it will benefit them. Find at least two or three occasions per year to reconnect with members of your network.

These simple steps can help you avoid Networking problems.

You’re having a chat with someone who doesn’t appear to be interested in having a conversation. They respond in monosyllables, making it difficult to carry on the conversation. According to research, some people dislike networking because they feel compelled to respond.

Knowing that some people feel uncomfortable talking, try not to ask them too many questions so they don’t feel interrogated. Tell them a little bit about yourself instead.

Speak to them about a specific business issue and solicit their feedback. Asking them a specific question will encourage them to open up and will show the impression that you value them.

If the conversation deviates into unrelated topics, gently guide it back to the primary topic. Keeping it specific will actually enable you reconnect with that person later on that subject.

Building a network should be all about cultivating genuine, caring relationships, so always do your best. Keep in mind to say “thank you.” Thank your connection for the information and see if you can assist them in any way. Share whatever knowledge you believe will be beneficial to them and make notes on what you learn about your contacts so that your future correspondence can be more personalized.

Networking should not be about asking people for jobs; in fact, you should never ask someone for a job when networking. You can seek out information that will help you in your job search. Your main networking goal should be to establish a relationship so that when a potential opportunity arises in the future, your contact will be willing to refer you.

In Conclusion

Business networking isn’t something you do after your company has reached a certain level of success. It should also happen during the planning and startup phases of your business to make the process of launching your company much easier. Networking is a great way to find new customers. You can hone your communication and marketing skills, which are essential for any startup business owner, as well as get involved in your community and industry, which will raise awareness and visibility for your startup.


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