Networking on the Net

Learn how to utilize the Internet as part of your networking strategy.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to - producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.
VIP Contributor
Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: What do you see as effective strategies for further facilitating business networking using the Internet?

A: The short answer is that it's a great way to communicate with people, but it's not a panacea to solve your networking needs anymore than it will solve all your advertising needs.

The Internet is an excellent vehicle for networking via bulletin board and chat room communities. These communities allow people to connect on a regular basis, exchange information and ideas and get to know one another a little better. In addition, staying in touch via the Internet has no equal. I've found it to be a very powerful mechanism for regularly connecting with people with whom I already have a casual relationship. That's the key--that the Internet is a great tool for staying in touch with people you've already established a connection with. Granted, you may do some business with people that you've met on a Web community. However, for the most part, people do "repetitive" business with people they know and trust. Sure, I've seen some business relationships begin, develop and prosper via the Internet, but I've found that most repetitive referral relationships start through personal contact and are maintained via Internet communication. Nothing beats good old-fashioned face-to-face networking to start the process of building a relationship and trust.

A couple years ago, I wrote the forward to the book Internet Prophet by Mary Diffley. In it, I stated that we don't live on Little House on the Prairie anymore, and today's frontier isn't in the West, it's on the Net. We live in the Internet age, where change seems to take place at light speed. If you're in business today, you definitely need to be on the Net.

The Internet simultaneously flattens the communication hierarchy while broadening people's access to ideas, information, products and services. The Internet is to the world what the printing press was hundreds of years ago. It is to the world what radio and television were only decades ago. The Internet has opened doors and opportunities in a way beyond anything that has preceded it.

In only a few short years, an entire technology, vocabulary, culture and marketplace has been born. Cyber entrepreneurs, customers and a whole new economy have evolved at such a blinding speed that it's no wonder so many business owners are at a loss about what to do and how to do it when it relates to the Internet and their business.

Understanding e-business fundamentals, creating an Internet business plan, developing and marketing a company's Web site and understanding how to network on the Internet are all new concepts for today's business professional. Those businesses that neglect to consider these issues today will most surely be a casualty of this new technology tomorrow. But more importantly, those businesses that do consider these issues today will be the success stories of tomorrow.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Entrepreneur Store scours the web for the newest software, gadgets & web services. Explore our giveaways, bundles, "Pay What You Want" deals & more.

Latest on Entrepreneur