Lesson #2 : ” Your network is your networth”
“Network, Network and Network”. This is one of the most important “Must Have” traits for an Entrepreneur. Right from the time, you start conceptualizing your start-up, you should start networking. This job is never ever over. One should enjoy networking. I have personally learnt a lot from meeting entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and people from different walks of life. Each one of them have influenced me in some way or other in this journey and I am thankful for the association. One can never be sure where the connection leads to or possible synergies. One should be open to learn from all sources.
How do you network ?
- Attend start-up events, forums meetings, trade shows to get to meet like-minded people, entrepreneurs.
- Attend your school/college alumni meets/reunions.
- Connect with people you are out of touch with and tell them about your new venture.
- Follow people’s blog and connect with them.
- Attend Campus events.
- Social media platforms like LinkedIn & Twitter offer an excellent forum for connecting and growing your network. Just ensure that it just doesn’t stop at being a basic connection. Know more about people you are connected in your network.
What do you expect ?
- One can’t have an agenda on what one should expect when networking.
- The goal should primarily be “learning”, “exchanging notes”, “exploring possible synergies” and “helping others”.
Develop your network :
- Do not stop at one meeting with just exchange of cards. Take it to next level. Visit them at their office to learn more about their venture.
- When they progress, take time to congratulate them on their success.
- Keep them posted about your progress as well.
- If you come across someone who could help them, connect them.
Taking networking to next levels :
Be part of diverse networks (mailing list of different entrepreneurial groups) to be plugged into activities.
Be part of professional groups :
- Be part of professional Entrepreneurial networks like TiE. Attend their events, Workshops. That gives you immense knowledge and get a chance to meet the “Who’s who of the Industry” or the people who have done it. I have personally benefitted a lot from TiE Workshops and Forums.
- Be part of professional business groups like BNI, where networking and business connections are taken to different levels.
In Summary :
- Networking is for mutual synergy. Help out others first before you ask others for help.
- Build trust. What you contribute to the network matters more than what you take out of it.
In conclusion, it’s the quality of your network that matters and differentiates you. Invest in and build your network every day.
This is the second part of a series by the author. Find the first part here.
[About the Author: Shashi Bhushan is the Founder & CEO of HealthMacro Technologies. He plunged into entrepreneurship to explore his dream of building something that touches people’s lives. HealthMacro were TiE’s Anthah Prerana 2013 winners. He can be followed on twitter at @ShashiBhushanHR]