Every startup founder has to network if they’re going to succeed, particularly face-to-face networking, which 85% of businesspeople prefer. When you establish your company you have nothing and nobody. No one knows your name and you have nothing to build up. Business is not about what you know it’s who you know. Any startup founder worth their salt has to make connections if they want to avoid wasting money on marketing.
This guide is going to show you some of the reasons why the right networking skills can completely turn your business around.
Get the Right Talent for Your Company
Networking can introduce you to new talent. You may need a programmer to build your website or a sales manager to begin building up your sales team. Most of the time, the best talent isn’t acquired through scouring the job websites. You need to look further away than that by getting to know the right people.
Hot talent tends to be snapped up behind the scenes. These people never have to post their resumes online because they have already been headhunted.
Discover New Strategies
Do you know how strategies like the moneyball method spread?
Business friends told other business friends about it. Through networking, you’re going to find out new tips and tricks to help you build your business. If you want to make your startup the best place to work in your town, you need to stay on the cutting edge of things. You need to stay ahead of the competition, and for that you need exclusive information gleaned through networking.
Open Up New Opportunities
Ever wondered how people picked up those new projects or how they won that new contract?
It’s because they knew the right people. They built up their reputation through talking to the right people. Once you know one important person, they will introduce you to other important people. It acts like a mushroom cloud. Use your networking skills to build your web of contacts and they’ll introduce you to brand new people.
You never know which doors are going to open when you become known to the business community.
Develop Your Skills
You can take formal classes and courses to improve various business skills, but sometimes it all falls to knowing the right people. Developing your skills will enable you to keep getting better as an entrepreneur. But that can come from a tip from a person you met.
For example, let’s say you made friends with a local B2B sales firm. You become friends with the CEO and he visits your place of work. He sees how you do things and he notices where you’re making a major mistake. Simply through pointing out such a mistake you’ve rectified something that’s costing you money.
Don’t underestimate the educational benefits of knowing the right people.
Sometimes you just need someone to chew over a business problem with. Making friends with people who understand where you’re coming from can make you see problems in a different way. They may suggest solutions you’d never before considered or they could simply provide you with a friendly ear.
Support is essential in the world of startups, so make sure you invest time in getting it.
How Do You Begin Improving Your Networking Skills?
It all begins through putting yourself out into the open. The reason why a lot of entrepreneurs fail to network is because they feel nervous about it. They don’t believe people are going to want to get to know them, and so they stay at home and avoid networking entirely.
The only way you’re going to improve your networking skills is through putting yourself in as many different places as possible, both online and offline. Focus on building relationships and concentrate on treating the people you meet as friends, not as opportunities.
You’re not there to take advantage of anyone. You’re there to forge relationships and you’re there to provide as many benefits to others as you’re getting back.
Last Word - Networking is a Constant
The biggest networking mistake startup founders make is they only network in short bursts. They attend a few business conferences when they establish their companies and then never again. Networking is a constant and you shouldn’t stop doing it.
When you make those friends you need to stop them from getting stale. As the market changes, you need to keep increasing your contacts list. As you can see, there’s always a reason to network.
How will you begin networking today?
Why Every Startup Founder Needs Networking Skills (HuffingtonPost.com)