In the world of entrepreneurs, networking is absolutely necessary. Without contacts, follow the right path is highly difficult, not because the lack ability to do so, but because professional connections are essential. Growing up as an isolated entity in today’s society is almost impossible, much more when it comes to digital environments like we have today.
That is why I always recommend to consider networking as part of your business strategy to make your project grow. In other words; as communication is considered an inseparable part of the business plan, networking should be part of the overall project strategy. It is one part, as another ones, of the plan that we shall follow to seek success as entrepreneurs.
When practicing networking, we must avoid making some common mistakes. The most important is solved taking seriously this activity and not relegating it to the background. The next mistakes will find the solution in our organizational capacity. The first thing is to know how we can take advantage following an appropriate networking strategy. Having contacts will guide us and help when needed.
Once you have the contacts, you need to look for events that are held around your professional sector and that could be interesting for you. Make a list with them and think if they worth it. Bring business cards and deliver them to the professionals that could be interested in your professional services. The second step, after the event, is to keep active contact to get beyond a chance meeting.
One often mistake is to meet a professional during an event and not to maintain the relationship. My recommendation is always to keep in contact after the event, to reinforce that presence, either by email or by following he/she on social networks, especially through LinkedIn. Only by doing so we will strength good business relations in the future.
Moreover, it is useless to have hundreds of contacts if we do not keep an updated database of them. In my opinion, the best way to do so is classifying them by business sector. For this we have several tools but, again, for me, is LinkedIn the most comfortable way to managing my schedule professional sector and categorize contacts.
Another aspect that we must consider is that not all in business relationships is based on monetary exchanges. Sometimes, establish a connection with other entrepreneurs can approach investors, suppliers and contacts that we would not have otherwise. As networkers, we must have an open mind to any business proposal that we may receive.
Usually, networking is a “long-distance race”, a walk through a long avenue with bus stops in which we get valuable contacts for our agenda. It is not a race to compete by physical strength, but a challenge where intelligence and the use we make of it is part of the results.
Author: Emilio Márquez