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Networking for Dummies: How is it Beneficial for Entrepreneurs For every entrepreneur, regardless of their stage it is important to network and take home notes on their idea

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Every other start-up event these days has one essential element written as a part of the agenda - networking. Lunches or High Teas are no longer just that, they are coupled with networking for entrepreneurs to interact with not just their peers but also mentors and investors. Most entrepreneurs are even known to attend long, boring sessions at events just so that they can sneak in a moment or two with an investor or mentor.

For every entrepreneur, regardless of their stage it is important to network and take home notes on their idea or how they work. Entrepreneur India spoke to founders of start-ups about why networking is essential and how is it beneficial.

Build Your Business

To grow your business, you need to have advice from not just within your time but also outside of it, for you to understand how you can further scale your company. Muheet Mehraj, co-founder, Kashmir Box believes that businesses these days are all about communities. According to him, it is one of the basic To Do's for businesses. "Networking not only helps you to build your business by meeting more prospective clients, BUT also helps you to stay updated on what's happening in the market, solutions that can help you improve the throughput of your organizations etc," said Mehraj.

Networking if done right is as good as having quality advisors on board who help you to look and if need be evolve your business model as well.

It is also a platform where you can represent your company and its ideologies, believes Sandeep Madhavan, co-founder of Sportobuddy. It enhances your business prospects and boosts your company's presence in the industry. "Networking is a golden opportunity that every entrepreneur must actively participate in. It sure has helped me a lot and I believe it has given me the insight to run my business," said Madhavan.

Learn From Your Peers

Beyond mentors and investors, when you are at events, you get the chance to meet your peers from the start-up ecosystem. Meeting people from the same community helps you put together ideas to grow your business. And if you are in luck, you might even find a well-wisher, who shares constructive criticism with you.

"The power of networking is quite strong, more than what we can imagine. Especially for an entrepreneur, networking is an opportunity where one can ideate, create and interact with like-minded individuals," said Mahadevan. He added that networking is as important as any other activity in your business.

The Different Types of Networking According to the Stage You are In

While it's true that regardless of the stage you are in, networking is an important element of your growth strategies, however the way you network changes according to the stage. Smeet Gala, Founder and CEO of WorkAMP spaces shared the following insights about how networking changes according to the stage.

  • For early stage entrepreneurs

Networking is extremely critical for entrepreneurs at any stage but especially if you are an entrepreneur and are the founder of an organization. Networking comes in different categories and should be taken very seriously at an early stage. In the initial stages, you believe that your product is amazing however; it may not be at times. At that point, it is important to meet potential customers as well as investors to see if they see merit in the idea as much as you do. "You have to then consistently meet new people and see what they are upto so that you can understand the feel of the entire ecosystem. You want to know what the market sentiment is," said Gala.

Gala is of the idea that to network on a daily basis, co-working spaces are the best. In the early stage, co-working spaces are the most apt and suitable. These spaces are very focussed on networking and events, creating value for the entrepreneur. "It's a great idea to get in touch with their community managers, who can introduce you to companies and then also be a part of their events. Recognise which stage you are in, then try and meet people from other stages because you would want to know how to get there," he said.

  • For late stage entrepreneurs

Even though you have reached a certain stage of maturity with your start-up, it is still critical to go out and meet potential mentors who could possibly be on your advisory board. "You need experts who can see your company and have an unbiased view to share valuable insights with you," said Gala.

For companies that are already on the path of being a full-fledged organization, with systems in place, the employees know what they are doing, the founders still need to interact with people from the industry. "Then you will get a fair idea of which direction your company is headed with inputs especially from experts who are in the industry who run the whole game," he said.

Sanchita Dash & Vanita D'Souza

Sr Correspondents, Entrepreneur India

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