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Five Rules for Building Strong Connections Having a great product just isn't enough. Ultimately the people you know will make the difference in your business success. Here's how to find them.

By Katie Rossomano

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most entrepreneurs know networking is important, but they may not realize just how crucial it is to the success of their new venture.

"Building a network helps entrepreneurs get their product to market and get the right people in place," says Alice Heiman, networking and sales expert and author of e-book Connecting Your Way to New Business. Heiman suggests five basic rules for building a trusted network that will help your startup succeed.

1. Start early. "Start building your network when you start building your product," Heiman says. Developing, creating, improving and finally perfecting your product or service is important, but entrepreneurs can become so focused on making something people want that they forget to make personal connections. "If you focus in on just that product, you're missing the opportunity to start building your network," she says.

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