Blog

  • Networking Skills in Entrepreneurship

    No man is an island. The same can be said about entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses and achieve success.

    Approximately 95% of professionals believe that face-to-face communication is vital for long-term business. However, 38% of them find it challenging to stay in touch with their network, even though they know it’s important. It may seem overwhelming and nerve-wracking to put yourself out there, but networking is a sure-fire way to increase opportunities, learn from industry experts, and promote your business.

    This article will tackle why networking is a must-do for entrepreneurs and which skills you need to create a great network of people.

    What is Networking?

    Networking involves establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with other people⁠—be it social, professional, or artificial. A strong network is an invaluable resource that will enhance every aspect of your business and life. When you’re connected with the right people, you open yourself up to the following advantages:

    • Practical and insightful advice from seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals
    • Emotional and moral support
    • Clients and referrals
    • Funding and investments
    • Access to resources

     

    How to Build Your Network

    In-Person and Virtual

    The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to stay at home and rely on online platforms to keep in touch with our loved ones and colleagues. As restrictions have been gradually being lifted worldwide, entrepreneurs are realizing the benefits of both in-person and virtual means of meeting new people.

    If you prefer to make connections face-to-face, search for conferences and workshops in your area. Approach others with a smile and an interesting story. You may also consider joining clubs or associations.

    If you are attending a virtual meeting, make sure that your camera is on and that you articulate clearly and concisely when speaking. Look presentable and full of life and enthusiasm. You can also expand your business network by following people on LinkedIn and other relevant social media channels.

    Essential Networking Skills

    Not everyone is naturally charming and sociable. Fortunately, effective networking is something you can learn over time. Here are the essential skills you need to develop so you can leave a lasting and positive impression:

    Authenticity

    Authenticity isn’t necessarily a skill you can acquire. It speaks more about your character and personality. To present yourself as genuine, don’t get down to business right away. Start the conversation with a friendly exchange, not with a negotiation. Behind that smartly dressed person is still a human being with personal interests and hobbies. Treating someone like a friend increases your chances of that person helping you and wanting to be part of your network.

    Confidence and Curiosity

    Confidence is key when looking for investors, hiring employees, and generating leads. You have to believe in your business and what it can offer. When you have complete faith in your abilities and the potential of your business, it will be easier to communicate the value you’ll bring to the relationship. Plus, you will sound more convincing and reliable.

    With each new contact you encounter, ask yourself what you can gain from a relationship with this person and what you can give them in return. Remember that networking is forming mutually beneficial connections, so stay curious. Listen actively and build on what the other person is saying. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in them.

    Planning and Preparation

    When you finally transition from pleasantries to business talk, be prepared to describe your business and its unique value proposition in a succinct and compelling elevator pitch. Expect questions and ready your answers. Always carry business cards so people would know how to reach you after the event or the interaction.

    Consistency and Follow-Through

    Making connections is only the beginning. You must dedicate time and effort to preserve your relationships. People tend to get distant without periodic check-ins and even forget they interacted with you. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation. Persistence and consistency demonstrate that you are serious about collaboration.

    Network Like a Pro

    As an entrepreneur, I gained plenty of experience through various projects and opportunities made possible by my solid network. My areas of expertise include business planning and development, leadership and management, forex trading, and commercial awareness. Throughout my career, I have developed many friendships and connections that push me to be the best version of myself. You too can take your business to new heights when you surround yourself with the right people.

    To learn more about me and my work, visit my website’s homepage.