Networking is tough for a lot of people and we get it! You have a busy schedule and you’re trying to balance everything from your family’s healthy dinner to the next important milestone for your business. We get it! But there’s a huge value in putting yourself and your business out there. So, we’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to network, just for you.
1. Word of mouth referrals.
If someone has met you they’re more likely to refer you to a friend or client seeking the product or service you’re offering. Likewise, if someone comes across an opportunity that would fit your work they’re more likely to send it your way. This is one of our favourite reasons to network because it also helps to build partnerships and relationships within your industry and there’s huge value in a vast, connected ecosystem.
Stuck in a rut? Go out and meet people! Hear stories about how other people are making it through to success. Listen to the often strange and twisted paths people take on their entrepreneurial journeys. You’ll feel more confident when you’re faced with a problem, that if they could do it, so can you.Reasons to #network: You'll feel more confident when you're faced with a problem. Click To Tweet
3. Practice your elevator pitch.
If you have a very technical product that needs a lot of explaining, networking is a great opportunity to figure out exactly how to pitch it to someone with no background knowledge in 30 seconds or less. Practice makes perfect! Then, ask for feedback, if you want to communicate better with your customers, listen to the folks you’re pitching to. Don’t forget to return the favour! Always listen to the person you’re networking with so you can…
4. Help someone else.
The best piece of advice we’ve ever received was to go into networking events with the question “what can I do for them?” versus “what can they do for me?” Instead of trying to sell your own product, listen to the other person and understand their work. Puzzle pieces will start to fall into place. You’ll see yourself working with them and you can make suggestions about how you could add value to their work. Hey! You’ve got yourself a partner! Okay maybe that’s a little optimistic but it made the networking process a lot easier, right?
5. Find yourself a mentor.
Getting started as an entrepreneur is difficult and often times no one has any idea what they’re doing (psst… you’re not alone!). While you’re developing your business in the early stages or even in later stages, be on the lookout for mentorship when you attend networking events. Chances are, someone, somewhere, has already had the same problems you’re having and will have excellent solutions you can use. Your new mentor will likely agree that this is one of the best reasons to network.
6. Find coworkers.
Just because you run your own company doesn’t mean you can’t have coworkers anymore! With co-working spaces and groups available, you can still go into the office and have that much-needed brainstorming session about a new service you’d like to offer. Meet coworkers at networking events and give yourself the opportunity to work with people instead of on your own in a silo.Just because you run your own company doesn't mean you can't have coworkers anymore! Click To Tweet
7. Get to know your market.
There are an infinite number of networking events out there. While an event about crowdfunding may not be where you’re at in this moment with your business, it may offer the chance to meet people who are interested in your product or service. And you may learn something new too! Networking events give you the chance to interact directly with your potential customers, to ask them important questions that will validate your product in the marketplace. By interacting with your target market you’ll better understand what your customer wants from you.By interacting with your target market you'll better understand what your customer wants from you. Click To Tweet
8. Learn about new trends in your industry.
The internet is a great tool for learning, but not everything on the internet was created with the intent to educate. Meeting people at a networking event can help you filter out the noise and get to the heart of the new trends coming out in your industry. This will allow you and your business to be nimble and agile, a great quality for an entrepreneur with goals to grow fast.
9. Become well known as a thought leader.
The more you connect with people the more they’ll look to you for guidance on your topic of expertise. They may ask you to speak at an event or write a guest blog, giving you a platform to develop your business and help elevate your brand further. This type of acknowledgement becomes invaluable as you seek out investors or prepare to hire key roles within your organization.
10. Be in a room with people smarter than you.
They say you should never be the smartest person in a room because that means you won’t learn anything new. This is especially crucial for entrepreneurs who have a thirst for the next development in their product or service. One of the best reasons to network is to give yourself the opportunity to soak up the new information your peers can give you to make your business and yourself even better.
Still have cold feet? Well next time you come to a ventureLAB networking event, ask for Emily. She’ll introduce you to a few people and before you know it, you’ll be networking like a pro! Because you never know, you might just meet that one person that could change your life!
What’s your best networking advice? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @ventureLABca.