As an entrepreneur, you rely heavily on your contacts and network to help grow your business and get the word out about your services or products. It's no secret that networking has been a helpful tool for business owners since the beginning of business owning itself.
While networking has always been around, how we network has vastly changed with the evolution of technology and the speed of word of mouth. Yet, while new concepts have been introduced, the importance of networking has remained steadfast and is often crucial to the success of a business. So how can you improve on a method as old as time?
Networking can be an effective way for any career to catapult because it forces you to put yourself out there and start conversations with others in the professional world. While it may make sense right off the bat to network in your career or when beginning your business, there are significant benefits beyond promoting your new products or services:
Talking openly about your company and your vision will allow others to become interested and financially invested in your company. When your passion and ideas come together, they can motivate others and spark interest. Investment and expansion opportunities come from having those conversations about your great idea.
In a time of technology when texting has replaced a good old-fashioned phone conversation, it can get easy to be complacent in your informal communication skills. Networking requires professionalism as you represent your company, ideas, and career. Speaking with others who are like-minded and even further into their experience can allow you to grow and learn better communication skills. Not to mention, networking can be nerve-racking as you often speak to strangers. The more you network, the more confidence you gain.
Networking and meeting new professionals allows you to think outside the box. Opening conversations up about your business, its challenges, and triumphs will enable others to give you their perspective in an organic way. Stepping outside of the situation through another professional's eyes will provide you with clarity in a way you hadn't been able to gain clarity before.
Sharing ideas and passions while networking is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Have you ever been in a room full of passionate individuals about their industries, business, and ideas? It's electric! Nothing can compare to the adrenaline you get when you connect with another entrepreneur with a vision and the passion to hit the ground running.
Now that you are excited and see the value in entrepreneurship networking, it's time to perfect your networking craft.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to networking. You can find in-person events or online entrepreneurship networking communities like The Shift Spot. The most significant benefit to a virtual community like The Shift Spot is that you do not have a geographical constraint. You can meet and bounce ideas off entrepreneurs and experts globally. Another huge benefit of an online community is the ability to access the resources when it is convenient for you. As an entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate and wear many hats. Being at a networking event at a certain time of the day isn't feasible. The Shift Spot records and archives events are ready to be viewed whenever you have time.
The relationships you make with experts and other entrepreneurs while networking are invaluable and need to be nurtured like any other relationship. Maintaining those crucial relationships will come in handy when you need someone to talk to or feel stuck or unmotivated; when it comes time for a referral in your industry, it's more likely that your name will be mentioned.
3. Attend Networking Events
What you put in, you will get out. When it comes to online entrepreneurship networking communities, you must make sure you put in the effort. No one will force you to attend live events, join in on the conversation or access important information. But, if you want to better your business, you have to show up and put in the effort just as you have for your idea and business.
A huge part of networking and business success is finding a mentor. A mentor has much more experience and has been through the challenges entrepreneurs commonly face. A mentor can lead and guide your journey as you build your business and help you grow the right way, avoiding significant snafus that can be detrimental.
5. Get Involved With Likeminded People
Getting involved with like-minded people will keep your passion strong and allow you to relate on a level your friends or family may not. It takes a particular, driven person to start a business from the ground up, and you must surround yourself with the same driven individuals to keep that mentality strong.
There are many ways to research the best entrepreneur networks, and you should ask yourself what you're looking to get out of an entrepreneur network when you begin searching. When it comes to online communities like The Shift Spot, we make it a point to help entrepreneurs find balance. We want to teach young and experienced business owners how to run a business and not have their business run them. We are a network that believes you shouldn't have to choose between a successful business and a successful life. So you can have your cake and eat it too. Check us out here.
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