Networking Tips for an Entrepreneur
Networking is essential for any entrepreneur. It allows you to build connections and share experiences. You can find others who are experiencing the same situations as you, and allows you to help them in return. In addition, building a network of support is helpful when you are the one running your business.
Where to Network
Business Assistance Services – Many counties and states offer business assistance services. These groups can help you to meet others. These might be people who work for the group or who are helped by it.
Meet Ups – While this is not as plentiful, some cities offer meetups where groups of entrepreneurs can get together. These might be social or for ideas. However, either type is beneficial as it can allow you to make connections.
Business Organizations – Chambers of commerce and other groups may offer chances of networking. For instance, my local chamber of commerce has a membership organization for local businesses. These businesses then have the chance to network among each other at events. In addition, they all have their name printed in a directory. This allows any member of the organization a way to contact others that may be able to help each other.
Conferences – Conferences are the classic event at which to network. I wrote about my time attending a women’s business conference. This allowed me to make ample connections with other entrepreneurs in the city. I found that this was actually just as valuable of a result as what I learned from the speakers.
Online – Networking online can be very beneficial when you work for yourself. It is usually cheap and readily available. Many Facebook and other social networking groups exist that you can join. You can also make connections by commenting on people’ blogs and directly contacting them through email. Most people are very open to connecting with others.
Best Practices for Networking
Give, Don’t Just Take
Networking is great because it allows you to learn from others. However, it shouldn’t just be you receiving from others. You should find ways to assist others that you network with.
Have a Takeaway
We all know business cards are commonly used in business settings. However, if you are purposely networking, you should be sure to have a takeaway. The most common is business cards, though you can also use a small pamphlet instead. The key is to have a physical object that people can take back and look at.
Networking is key to an entrepreneur. It allows you to build connections and learn from others.