Networking For Entrepreneurs 101

A critical part of any business – particularly startups – is learning how to effectively network. A strong professional network can help you leverage everything from new solutions for persistent business problems to word-of-mouth recommendations that can boost brand awareness.

Networking Events

The trick with networking is to become proactive, which means taking control of the situation instead of simply reacting to it. Networking requires going beyond your comfort zone and challenging yourself. The best networking events for startup companies will help expose you to other founders and entrepreneurs who are (or have been) in the same position as you are now. Everyone is there for the same reason and it is a great place to network, build relationships and work on your communication and networking skills. Identify networking events that pertain to your industry

“Set a goal to meet five or more new people at each event” 

Offer Your Help First

Many individuals will approach others seeking answers to their own problems or challenges. However, one of the best ways to form meaningful, productive relationships is to ask questions and discover how you can provide value to them when you meet people. Ask what you can bring to the table, and share helpful tips with others. Don’t expect anything in return. When you provide value, it’s much more likely to be reciprocated. Cold email contacts suggesting ways that they can make more sales. Make introductions to people who you know can help your contacts. Share what’s been working in your business and encourage colleagues and contacts to try it. This is how you get people’s attention, command respect, and encourage others to proactively try to help you.

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