Successful Networking Tips For Early Stage Entrepreneurs
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
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Robert Kiyosaki's words suggesting that one's network determines their net worth are celebrated worldwide for a reason. As much as they hold true for the western society he belonged to, they apply equally meaningfully to every other corner of the world.
Networking is an exercise that can never be overrated, irrespective of one's business stage or industry niche. Every intelligent entrepreneur understands the significance of successful networking and the multifold advantages it can bring. Moreover, networking as an exercise doesn't have to be restricted to individuals belonging to one's core business field. Being a part of a diverse, well-connected community has it's own advantages and can be a blessing in many ways.
"In our journey, we met with two individuals from the finance field, who we ended up calling our mentors. We were able to gather really valuable tips on financial planning from them that helped us come a long way", shares Chetan Khaitan, founder of Toolsvilla, an online portal for machine tools and equipment. Chetan's primary niche clearly doesn't have any overlap as such with the financial industry, but powerful networking was one of the meteoric forces that helped him reach closer to his goals.
Much like Chetan, many entrepreneurs understand the need to network meaningfully in their early stage. While it's easily understandable that networking is a blessing, many newbie entrepreneurs struggle to go about the same effectively.
To that resort, Entrepreneur India spoke to Devika Majumder, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Youngpreneurs, India. Her venture, Youngpreneurs, a youth academy and think tank, seeks to connect education with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and ensure that the country nurtures a bunch of enterprising youth.
As an individual equipped with superlative networking skills, a part of her success is amplified due to her mastery of the craft. Here are some of the helpful tips she shares for early-stage entrepreneurs -
Visit Networking Events
Networking events are a great place to meet and engage with people from the industry. While there are many virtual modes to network today, the traditional networking field of participating in industry events and meets can never get outdated.
However, to successfully spend your time in building some real connections, there are a few things one must be cautious about.
Devika recommends, "Don't go into these with the mindset of collecting business cards or handing them out. It is not a game of sheer numbers." She emphasizes the importance of building a lasting impression so that when one actually connects at a later date, the other individual recognizes and responds. She shares from her experience that it's good to show interest in the other person, to begin with and end the conversation on a note to keep in touch with an expression of readiness to help if the person may ever need.
Follow A Personalized Approach
If we revisit Maslow's theories, we'll be able to recall the different layers of human needs, one of them being, recognition and self-actualization needs. No matter how accomplished one may be, honest appreciation and recognition always contribute to this psychological need. Hence, it's a good idea to adopt a personalized approach when it comes to reaching out to others, as it's far more likely to be successful in being paid heed to.
Devika recommends to all young entrepreneurs, "Do your homework on 'well networked' people. Reach out to them and let them know that you are inspired by their work or any project that they are working on and that you want to add some value."
Develop The Right Attitude
It's very important to realize that successful networking is about building long-term relationships and not chasing shortcuts for temporary personal gains. This is a fact that often gets missed out even by seasoned entrepreneurs; leave aside only rookies in the space. When it comes to networking, most people forget to think about what value they can add and pounce straight away on what value they can derive. This one attitude is something that dampens the whole spirit of networking itself. Devika opines, "The key element in any kind of networking, be it virtual or in person, is to ensure that you are not going in with an attitude 'What's in it for me'?" She feels one must always have the attitude to give out, as go-givers are truly the ones who make it happen. This, of course, necessitates an understanding of relationship quotient, wherein genuineness and sincerity play a pivotal role.
To summarize, successful networking rests on the pillar of cultivating meaningful interpersonal relationships. Anyone who steps in with the idea to get before giving is likely to not benefit from the exercise at all. After all, it's what you sow first that you will reap later.