Consider spider webs. The spider is an intelligent species and has a design sensibility–some spiders actively decorate their webs with their silk designs. This, in turn, attracts prey instead of the spider actively pursuing it.
We’re not here to convince you that you must create a network similar to that of a spider–that would be impossible.
Instead, you can learn from the spider’s vision and utilization of skill to build entrepreneurial networks. Similarly, by building each part of your network consistently and efficiently, you can grow your community and give shape to your entrepreneurial journey. Here are some things to keep in mind while connecting with other entrepreneurs who may or may not be operating in the same industry as you:
Sure, no one knows your business like you do. But that also comes with hindrances. Sometimes, you can be so deeply invested in something and “inside the box” of your thinking that your rationale can be blurred and romanticized.
By talking to other entrepreneurs, you’re not reducing the amount of time you can spend building your startup but instead investing your time by learning from the experiences of others who may be veterans in the industry you’re working in or entrepreneurs in other industries. When you’re actively networking, don’t be afraid to share information about your business, even the struggles or issues you’re enduring. Being able to connect and problem solve with other entrepreneurs could help form a stronger bond.
Doing Your Research
It’s important to be thorough. If you’re going to a business event, for example, and there’s an investor you have been keen on talking to or a connection you want to build on, it pays to be well-researched and know their background. This allows you to ask specific questions and find a topic that’s common and interesting, rather than asking banal questions about “what they do” that they’ve probably heard before.
Doing your research enables you to know exactly what benefit you can provide each other, but by showing a genuine interest in their background, it becomes easier for them to trust you and build a relationship rather than just a business connection.
Being Active On Social Media
Most individuals globally have a second identity today–their digital identity. It’s no secret that social media is the lynchpin in most successful businesses today since brands also develop their own identity and value system and portray it on social media to increase brand recall and ownership.
If you’re just starting or are somewhere along this journey, it’s very valuable to use business networking sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc., to connect with entrepreneurs and other professionals. These platforms are slightly different from traditional social media since they’re focused on the job market more than social dynamics. Use these platforms not only to research and find prospective partners and collaborators on your venture but also as a means to hone your identity through posts detailing your experience.
Apart from the above advantages of connecting with entrepreneurs, networking helps you navigate your mind towards a growth mindset. Talking to other entrepreneurs can give you that solace that you’re not the only one on this journey and open your eyes to avenues for your startup that you would have never thought possible.