For anyone who’s stepped into the business world, networking holds a special place because it allows people to discover new opportunities and increase their self recognition. For entrepreneurs, networking carries even more importance because it essentially opens doors for businesses to grow.
Networking can benefit entrepreneurs in several ways. One of the most common ways that networking helps is the opportunity for funding. An entrepreneur with strong connections in the business World can find the necessary funding for their business idea much easier and that kind of advantage can take you very far in the start-up environment.
But funding is not the only purpose of networking. If you can achieve building an effective network for yourself, you can find clients for your business, get advice from industry experts or enrich yourself with brand new ideas. In any case, networking is an irreplaceable part of an entrepreneur’s life.
In this article, we provide you with four effective strategy points to build and strengthen your network as an entrepreneur. These are not definitive methods but instead starting points for you to find your best strategy for networking.
1. Define Your Audience
As an entrepreneur, you need to know who your target audience are so that your business progresses well. The same applies in networking as well, you need to think about who you’d like to connect with and why.
You can filter your target audience with location, industry, title, educational background or lifestyle. Once you have a clear vision of how you’re going to build your network with what kind of people, you can evaluate your methods.
If your audience has a common area of interest, you can search for events in which those kinds of people come together. In the post-pandemic era, online conferences can also be one of your options to broaden your network.
LinkedIn and personal acquaintances can come in handy as well because you can meet the exact person you’ve wanted to.
If you can define your potential networking environment, you’re going to be able to take clearer steps in building your actual network. Meeting new people is nice, but networking needs to be a little more purposeful than that.
2. Prepare Your Demo Kit
After you decide who your people will be, you need to prepare for how you’ll present yourself to them, your demo kit in other words. A demo kit is a little conversation bubble that includes a short description of you, your business, what your vision is and your purpose. Meeting a person is the first step, but you have to be prepared with a smart demo kit so that you can actually connect with them.
To build your network, you need to appeal to others with your ideas and offer them an exciting business opportunity. But, in a networking event, there is rarely enough time to have a detailed conversation with people. Therefore, keeping your demo kit ready can help you to build your network in a short but effective way.
3. Trust Your Work
People will believe in your business ideas if you trust yourself in the first place. By having your idea turned into a business, you already showcase a certain level of confidence but, to build a network, you also have to trust in the future of your business.
When engaging in a conversation with a person that you want them to be a part of your network, you need to be able to explain to them why they should be interested in your business and how your company will benefit them. To get your message across, you have to show a confident demeanor.
One thing you should be careful with is being honest at the same time. Having confidence doesn’t mean you’re presenting your idea as a flawless project. You’re not selling a product. In fact, you have to display an open attitude and state your business’ struggles or shortfalls. If you can show people that you trust your idea despite its flaws, it will earn you extra points in the networking environment.
4. Put the Effort in Your Relationships
Let’s say that you attended an event that caught your eye, met a couple people and even were able to make them interested in your business. That’s an accomplishment in itself, but your true shift starts after that point. You need to sustain your relationships.
If you act careless with the contacts you’ve made, there’s a really high chance that you will be forgotten; because after all, out of sight, out of mind. Therefore, try to keep a regular conversation with your people, get involved in their projects and business ideas and keep them updated about yours.
By putting effort in the relationships with your network contacts, you can create new opportunities for yourself and ideas, while widening your perspective. For an entrepreneur, maintaining a strong network is key to success.