All great businesses, including those created by legendary entrepreneurs, involved a slew of other individuals without whom the company would not have expanded to its current scale.
A strong network can provide critical opportunities, information, and support that can make or destroy a business, and a strong network can be regarded as an entrepreneur's most valuable asset. Maintaining contacts, having a prepared business card and pitch, being confident and curious can help you build a network that opens doors and supports your venture.
A strong network can give you the following benefits:
Members of your network may be interested in or know someone who may benefit from your product or service.
Investor relationships might help you obtain the financing necessary to establish and grow your firm.
Entrepreneurs with experience can offer guidance based on their achievements and failures.
Having a supportive network comprised of folks who have already made the journey might be critical to ensuring a successful business journey.
The following is the summary of are five networking strategies and techniques to improve your networking experience.
Find the suitable networking event
Nowadays, networking possibilities abound if you know where to look. Numerous networking events and groups, both in-person and virtual, are structured around shared interests, so you should consider looking for individuals who share your interests to maximize your efficiency.
Industry sector, Geographic location, Demographics, Company stage, Alma mater, Desire to learn about a topic, and lastly, Personal and professional interests are critical elements to consider while attending a networking event.
These elements may overlap to create more specialized networking groups from time to time. For example, The Gathering Spot connects Black entrepreneurs in major US cities, while Women Who Code is a global networking association for women in computer science.
It is prudent to look for networking opportunities both in-person and online, and LinkedIn is a highly beneficial platform for establishing contacts and communicating with individuals in your sector. Certain networking groups provide assistance and events both in-person and virtually.
Best Pitching Practices
When you meet new people in the context of business, you must be prepared to communicate your firm and its value simply and adequately. Consider preparing various versions of your pitch: a one- or two-sentence version, a one- or two-minute version, and a three-minute one. At a crowded, bustling event, you may only be able to utter one or two sentences; if your counterparty expresses interest, you can provide further information from your three-minute version.
It may be appropriate to begin with a one- or three-minute pitch in a more casual setting or if you already have someone's full attention. Practice pitching frequently to ensure that you're prepared for any networking opportunity that presents itself.
Lead with Self-assurance and Passion
The urge to develop a mutually beneficial relationship is at the heart of every networking opportunity. Consider this question with each new contact: "What can I learn and gain from a friendship with this person?" This approach encourages you to listen carefully to what they have to say and use your time wisely. The other person is likely to ask the same question. Confidence in your business idea is essential when you want to show how much value you could add to a relationship.
While relationship-building is far more sophisticated than determining what each party will benefit from, leading with both confidence and curiosity can free up time and energy to pursue mutually beneficial connections.
Exchange Business Cards and Maintain Contact
You never know when a networking opportunity will present itself; it could be when you wait in line at a store, on public transportation, or while meeting a friend of a friend. Carrying business cards is a convenient approach to network in everyday life and increase brand exposure. When it's appropriate, ask other people for their business cards as well. That way, if you have a meaningful conversation with someone, you can follow up, keep the conversation going, and maybe even build a stronger relationship.
Take the time to maintain your relationships
Making an initial connection does not ensure a long-term relationship, as networking is not simply a "set it and forget it" activity. If you desire to keep a relationship, you have to invest time and effort into maintaining and growing it. There are many ways to improve and maintain relationships with your contacts.
You can inquire about their well-being via email, text message, or phone call, meeting your contacts for coffee or meals regularly, sending holiday cards and greetings for special occasions, attending their activities and asking them to yours, asking them questions as they occur, or simply forwarding them information or opportunities that you believe they might be interested.
While these may appear simple, they demand time and effort and demonstrate that the relationship is valuable to you.