Tampere
26 May, Sunday
15° C

The library of essays of Proakatemia

The Power of Networking in Entrepreneurship



Kirjoittanut: Aileen Marie Flores Nunez - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.

KIRJALÄHTEET
KIRJA KIRJAILIJA
Super connector
Scott Gerber & Ryan Paugh
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 8 minuuttia.

The Power of Networking in Entrepreneurship 

 

Introduction: 

 

Stop collecting those business cards and do the right networking, make connections, and build real relationships! 

 

Some years ago, when I was working as Sales and Logistic Support Manager for a Lighting company in the Middle East, every time I have a meeting or attend an exhibition or training, I would be back to our office with my bag or pocket loaded with business cards. From those business cards, yes, I had the chance to contact a few but not everyone. So, most of those cards were simply kept in my drawers and thrown out after some time. What was I doing at that time? It is quite a shame that at that point, I had not known how real networking should be and realized the significant value of having that great networking skills.  

 

Even the basic form of a business, networking plays a big part in the business process. From start-ups to big companies, networking is considered as an essential tool for business success. Networking is powerful, when done in the right way and you have a deep real understanding of how it works especially in this competitive business world, it a sure way that it will contribute an amazingly benefits to you, your career, and your business.  

 

One of the points from the book Superconnector by Gerber and Paugh, is to ditch the old ways of networking! No more collecting business cards like a robot. It’s about real connections in this info-packed world. What we mean by real connections is about cultivating meaningful relationships, sharing information, ideas, and knowledge that lead to creating opportunities. It is about a highly effective way to grow your business and give support and valuable impact to your contacts. Building business community with the intention of creating mutual value. 

 

  

To understand better real meaning of networking, it is important to have an understanding about the different types of business networking, explore some ways to create and maintain a strong network, and explore the importance of networking for entrepreneurs. 

 

What is business networking and how does it work? 

 

Business networking, or networking opportunities, refers to the process of establishing and nurturing relationships with professionals who share common interests, goals, or industry affiliations. It involves actively seeking opportunities to connect with others, both online and offline, to exchange information, collaborate, and expand one’s professional circle. (Nextford University 2023). It is about maintaining positive relationships with clients and other professionals in your industry. Keeping a contact list can help you share essential information, updates and developments, and business goals to your network. Business professionals intentionally seek opportunities to expand their connections for a beneficial network. Networking can cover a wide range of activities like business events, industry associations, forums, social engagements, and others.  

 

Business networking works by emphasizing the importance of relationships to establish mutual beneficial opportunities. It is a give and take relationship. Today’s networking is about building trust and adding value. By creating strong connections, you can exchange ideas and insights, share business experiences and strategies, provide advice, keep updated with the current trends, and gain a wider business perspective. Networking can lead to new partnerships, collaborations, new business venture opportunities, and potential growth in your business.  

 

 

 

 

Types of Business Networking (Nextford University 2023) 

 

Business networking can take various forms, depending on your preferences and goals. Here are a few common types of networking: 

 

  1. Professional Networking 

 

This involves engaging with like-minded individuals within your industry or profession. It includes attending conferences, joining professional organizations, and participating in industry-specific networking events. Professional networking allows you to establish credibility, gain visibility, and build relationships with peers and influencers in your field. Professional network relationships can help you advance your career. It is a two-way relationship. You need to offer something and gain in return.  

 

 

  1. Social Networking 

 

Social networking focuses on building relationships in more informal settings. It includes attending social events, community gatherings, or even using social media platforms. Social networking provides an opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and expand your network beyond your industry. Being able to expand your network can bring you surprising benefits, as social networking activities become socioeconomic opportunities.  

Social networks allow limitless opportunities to connect with others who could be sharing similar interests with you. It is about finding your people and building your tribe. 

 

  1. Online Networking 

 

With the advent of technology, online networking has gained tremendous popularity. It involves utilizing digital platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and online forums, to connect with professionals worldwide. Online networking offers flexibility, convenience, and the ability to reach a broader audience. 

This is particularly useful for entrepreneurs who run online businesses, since they can still operate their business in-between networking events, with minimal interruption.  

 

For introverts, online networking is most preferred. They will feel the ease of connecting with others, especially strangers. With online networking, it uses the same principles of traditional networking with the use and aid of digital tools and no actual face-to-face interactions. However, with online networking, it may take longer to build the following. Building bridges takes effort and time.  

How to Create and Maintain a Strong network? 

 

Building a strong network needs purposeful efforts, an amount of time and authentic connection. 

 

 

Be Genuine 

 

Fake? No way! Be real you, be yourself. The key to successful networking is authenticity. You cannot fake your relationship for a meaningful networking.  

Be sincere with your mutual business interest and objectives. Develop your visibility and credibility, do not immediately jump off to profitability to right away. Emphasize that trust and relationship building are critical before yielding any results. 

 

 

Look For the Right People 

 

Look for your people and build your tribe. Stay in contact with professionals who can provide the interest and help that you need and in return you can also provide your support, advice and the information that can benefit them in return. People who vibe with your wavelength will be the people who can cheer for you and help you soar high. 

 

  

Attend Networking Events 

 Events like conferences, training, seminars, social gathering are opportunities for you to meet variety of key contacts and expand your network. Be able to prepare your information that you would like to highlight about yourself and your business, your company and your interests that you would like to gain from that particular event. Make the most of these events to engage in meaningful conversations and making valuable connections. Be a supper connector or if not find that linker -the so called relationship wizards in the business. 

 

Utilize Online Platforms 

 Social media and professional networking sites provide you to connect worldwide. Cultivate your network as it is profoundly important to maintain beneficial connections, engage and be active. Make the best of these platforms to leverage your network. 

 

 

Offer Value 

 Networking is not only thinking about what you can get but also what you can offer value to your connection. This is the law of reciprocity in networking.  Do not expect immediate returns when you give, patience is the perfect rhythm to cultivate the culture of trust, partnership, and collaboration.  Author of the book Networking is not Working, Derek describes in his book, he had a revelation one day when he realized that regardless of how much he read about great networking tips, he felt like he was spending far too much effort attending events and making cold calls without getting many tangible results in return. Derek realized that the answer to making more connections was right in front of him: his existing clients. What if, rather than spending all his time trying to attract strangers, he spent most of his time focused on finding ways to help his clients grow their businesses – a favor they would return? (Forbes 2014). 

 

Be Proactive 

 After joining events and having connections, stay updated with your contacts were filed of activities is. Ping or send them short messages or email to stay in touch in a professional context and get an update of their professional lives which enhance your connection. Let your relationship bloom and flourish by being proactive. 

  

Networking is Important for Entrepreneurship 

 Entrepreneurs have unique challenges and opportunities in the business world, for this reason, networking is a crucial thing to be investigated mindfully for entrepreneurs.  

 

Access to New Opportunities and Generate Business Leads 

 Networking provides you with the access to expand and explore opportunities for you. With networking, you can meet your key contacts that can leverage your business activities. They could be the new clients, investors, partners, mentors, or supplier whom you can provide you with the needed information, strategies, and new business ventures. For starting entrepreneurs and small business owners, networking can bring tons of opportunities that can open new doors for development and growth in your business. In business-to-business (B2B), networking with others can help identify new business opportunities where an increase in business profits relied on the patronage of other company. 

 

Learn Industry Standards 

 Making contacts and building connections can provide you with a better understanding of the strategies, practices, knowledge, and insights about your industry. Entrepreneurs and experts who have been in the same field can share valuable information with you. This saves you so much stress, avoid their previous mistakes and you will gain a better idea of doing things in your field. 

  

Identify Trends  

Nowadays, trends come and go fast. Staying connected with your contacts can keep you updated with new ideas and information about any latest innovation and development. This enables you to keep track and adapt to any changes and updates in the market which would influence your decision making toward your business. 

  

Increase Brand Awareness  

Through networking, you can share your ideas and strategies with other entrepreneurs that let them understand your brand mission, vision, and values. By doing so, it can enhance your brand visibility within your business circle and establish your reputation and credibility which can eventually bring in new business endeavors. 

 

Gain Different Perspective 

 There would be oceans of ideas and viewpoints out there on how a particular task is done. Talking, listening, and sharing different insights from different experts and professions can provide you with a better selection or idea how to the process to bring improvement for your business. 

 

Building relationship  

Entrepreneurs need to build meaningful, valuable relationships that can bring entrepreneurial stability and growth. They stay with people who share the same aspirations about their business. However, building relationships with the people that are not in your circle could also bring new perspectives and information that can in some ways better your business activities. 

From the book of Superconnector, Gerber and Paugh emphasized the Art of Selectivity, a well-honed ability to define which relationships matter most for you and decide how you will maintain them over time. 

 

 

 

Develop confidence  

At some point, networking is so overwhelming and can lose your focus. But when networking is done in the right amount and way then it can help you build your confidence. You can trust your strategies and potential which can increase your business’s development. 

 

Support System 

 With networking, you can identify and lean on your contacts who could be your support system. Entrepreneurship is said to be a lonely journey. However, if you make use of your contacts and connections intently then there is no reason you cannot reach out for support and help when you need it.  

 

Challenges in Networking  

When networking is not properly understood and experienced then you will not be able to reap the benefits of it. Here are a few things to keep in mind so that your networking activities can help you more than just a waste.  

 Time and effort in networking are invested to attend events, engage others, and make follow up. So, take note that huge time and effort are needed to be able to establish meaningful and purposeful relationships. 

 Many find networking overwhelming and creates anxiety, and this is true. If you are feeling the same, start with a smaller crowd or meet 1 or 2 people at an event until you get used to it and adapt to the networking process.  

 As mentioned, time and effort are your prime investment for networking. Please bear in mind that networking does not always yield immediate returns. It can take some time and even years to be able to gain its benefits. 

  

Summary 

 

Right! Networking is a powerful tool for business growth. It can provide immense benefits for entrepreneurs to engage and share information, insights, strategies, knowledge, and others. Regardless of what type of networking you are doing, it is all the same having contacts and building relationships for the purpose of having benefits to your business and at the same time provide and contribute support for their business growth. Thus, networking is a mutual relationship that aims for development on both ends. With networking, you need to invest time and effort and be authentic in building meaningful relationships. Networking brings tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs leading business success. Once networking is understood well and done how it should happen then it will yield enormous result for your career, business, and your company. Let the power of networking work for your business. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:  

 

Coburn, D.2014. Networking is Not Working. Idea Press Publishing. USA. 

Gerber, S & Paugh, R. 2018. Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships that Matter. Da Capo Lifelong Books. https://www.mentorist.app/books/superconnector-stop-networking-and-start-building-business-relationships-that-matter/ 

 

Glassman, B. 2014.Forbes. Networking is Not Working: The Secret to Making Meaningful Connections. Read on 25.11.2023 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2014/05/05/networking-is-not-working-the-secret-to-making-meaningful-connections/?sh=3d8240754878 

 

Indeed Career Guide. 2023. What Is Networking in Business?  

(With Tips and Importance). Read on 15.11.2023 

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/networking-in-business 

 

Nextford University. 2023.  

Power of Networking in Business & Entrepreneurship – 10 Tips 

Read on 15.11.2023 

https://www.nexford.edu/insights/power-of-networking 

Post a Comment