The entrepreneur starting a business is extremely busy. Inspired by the dream of
escaping the 9-5 work week, it is common for entrepreneurs to put in 100+ hour
weeks during the startup phase. Every effort is made to ensure a profitable business
in the future–from creating a catchy name to building the perfect product to
orchestrating an effective marketing campaign. But in this flurry of activity, there is
a strong propensity to forget something extremely important: building business
relationships with other people.
This tendency is further encouraged by our notion of the “lone ranger”
entrepreneur. The concept of a person building a successful business alone is held
in high esteem by society, yet dangerously unrealistic. Entrepreneurs who build their
businesses with assistance from others are far more likely to succeed than those
who attempt it alone. For this reason, it is imperative that entrepreneurs work on
building relationships with people who can help them.
As an entrepreneur, here are some of the reasons you need to be networking:
Networking gets your name out
Spend some time preparing a 30-second “elevator pitch” you can use when talking
to people. For a startup business, it’s essential to get people talking about your
product. You can start building this buzz by meeting influential people and talking
to them about the product or service you offer. They in turn will tell others. People
are more likely to refer friends to someone they know personally.
Networking can build your reputation
Become known as a knowledge broker, and you’ll soon be recognized as an expert
in your field. Every time you offer advice and solutions for free, you’re building into
people who will spread word about your business in the future.
Networking develops new business ideas
Talking with other small business owners is a powerful way to fuel innovation. As
you talk with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners you can learn about
new markets that have potential, and come up with ideas you wouldn’t have thought
of on your own. Many a new product, service, or market began as a person-to-
Networking helps you find joint venture partners
Joint ventures are a powerful means of doing business. Each party contributes
something that the other doesn’t have. If you socialize with the right group of
people, you will find great partners for profitable ventures.
Networking lets you learn from others
As you begin to mingle with other professionals, you will glean tips on how they
became successful in business. Often some of this information can be more relevant
than what you would read in a book because it’s localized information. Talking with
someone else often gives you insight into an area that you wouldn’t have thought
about by yourself.
So entrepreneurs, as you work on building your business, don’t forget to build
relationships with people. They could become future clients, colleagues, and
mentors. The knowledge and opportunities you gain will make it well worth your