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NETWORKING TIPS AND STRATEGIES FOR ENTREPRENEURS



Kirjoittanut: Frida Ateh - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Blogiessee / 1 esseepistettä.

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KIRJA KIRJAILIJA
Frida Ateh
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

Networking is valuable for any business professional, especially entrepreneurs. When starting out, an entrepreneur’s network helps open doors to critical opportunities, knowledge, and support that can be the differentiated between a venture that succeeds and one that fails. Networking, broadly defined as the process of building and nurturing professional relationships. It has the following tips 

  1. Find Your People

Networking opportunities are everywhere if you know where to find them. There are a host of in-person and virtual networking events and groups based on common factors. Consider searching for others who share your: 

  • Geographic location 
  • Industry 
  • Demographics 
  • Startup stage 
  • Alma mater 
  • Desire to learn about a specific topic 
  • Personal and professional interests 

These categories may overlap to form more niche networking groups. For example, women who code provides an international networking community for women in computer science. Another group, the gathering spot, provides support and opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to connect in select US cities. 

Search for both in-person and virtual networking opportunities. LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for identifying connections and interacting with others in your industry. Some networking communities offer both in-person and virtual support and events. 

  1. Prepare Your Pitch

When meeting new people in the context of entrepreneurship, you must be able to describe your business and its value clearly and succinctly. preparing multiple versions of your pitch. one or two sentences, one minute long, and another that’s three minutes long. At a crowded, busy networking event, one or two sentences may be all you have time to say. If a person’s interest is piqued, you can offer more information from your three-minute version. 

If the setting is more casual or you already have a person’s undivided attention, leading with a one- or three-minute pitch may be best. Practice pitching often so you’re ready for a networking opportunity any time it strikes. 

  1. Lead with Confidence and Curiosity

At the heart of every networking opportunity is the desire to form a mutually beneficial relationship. With each new contact you meet, think. “What can I learn and gain from a relationship with this person?” This mindset not only prompts you to listen closely to what they have to say but also be purposeful with your time. The other person will likely think the same thing: “How can a relationship with this person benefit me?” Confidence in your business idea is crucial for communicating the potential value you bring to the relationship. 

In addition, building relationships is far more important than simply determining what each party will gain, leading with both confidence and curiosity can enable you to spend time and energy finding mutually beneficial connections. 

  1. Carry Business Cards and Follow Up

You never know when a networking opportunity will arise—whether it’s in line at the grocery store, on public transportation, or meeting a friend of a friend. Carrying business cards is a quick way to network in everyday life and spread awareness of your brand. Where appropriate, ask others for their business cards, too. That way, if an interaction is meaningful, you can follow up, keep the conversation flowing, and potentially build a stronger relationship. 

  1. Dedicate Time to Maintaining Relationships

Networking isn’t “set it and forget it”—making an initial connection doesn’t guarantee a lasting relationship. If a connection is one you wish to maintain, dedicate time and effort to preserving and growing it. 

Some examples of ways you might maintain a relationship include: 

  • Asking how they’re doing, via email, text message, or phone call 
  • Meeting for coffee or meals periodically 
  • Sending holiday cards 
  • Attending events, they’re hosting and inviting them to yours 
  • Sending articles or opportunities you think they’d be interested in 
  • Asking them questions as they arise 

 Conclusion 

A strong network is one of an entrepreneur’s most valuable assets. By being prepared with a business card and pitch, remaining confident and curious, finding networking opportunities that fit your niche, and maintaining relationships, you can create a network that opens doors and offers support as you grow your venture. 

 Source 

Networking for Entrepreneurs: 5 Tips & Strategies (hbs.edu) 

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