Starting your own business can feel weird at times. It is a very lonely, and brave position to place yourself in when you first set things up, but the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners are those who have surrounded themselves with knowledge, expertise and immersed themselves in the right networks for their industries and target markets.
Once you’ve set-up the business networking is vital, no matter what you are selling. So what are the main steps you can take to ensure you make the right friends and connections to ensure your start-up is on the right track to growth and success?
Don’t be Afraid to Find a Business Angel
You’ve started a company because you believe in the product or service you are selling, but don’t let allow your lack of knowledge and understanding of how a business runs put you off at the outset. Business angels are individuals or organisations who have the know-how to help set you in the right direction for where you need to be.
Having a mentor can take a few forms, they may want to just offer advice on a regimental appointment basis, or invest in your company and offer insight and guidance, as well as access to other investment opportunities, workshops and expert advice.
There are never too Many Events to Attend
Wherever you are based, or whatever industry you are in, there are countless networking events, exhibitions and conferences to attend. At first don’t be afraid to branch out and attend as many as you can handle. In each city and region there will be business events that can secure you inside information on local funding and staffing opportunities so take advantage and look for ways to improve your business. The same applies to industry specific events; these are where you’ll find out how to grow specific to your product or service.
You just never know, that talk you were thinking about missing might just hold the golden nugget of information that could kick-start the idea you’ve had brewing for a while. Or you may miss out on meeting an important investor or supplier, or that first big client. Don’t be shy; get into networking in a big way as soon as possible.
Make the Most of Social
Online is obviously much easier to get involved with, and cheaper. So mix and match your networking with offline and online opportunities. Comment on posts by influential bloggers, share posts on your Twitter and Facebook accounts, like and encourage debate within important trending topics or important groups to your industry or local economy.
The more active you are online, the easier it will be for people to get to know you and in turn, to promote you when you have proven your capabilities. Writing your own expert insights and see how your networking has helped spread the word.
The main thrust to networking as a start-up business owner is to just be open and willing to try everything. Don’t say no to anything at first because you never know what could come of that next coffee morning, Twitter hour or business conference.