A successful startup to most aspiring entrepreneurs means having a great idea, pitch and business plan. A critically important aspect that is easily overlooked is the ability to network and connect with other individuals. Aspiring entrepreneurs should understand the importance of creating a network and know how to do it effectively, eventually creating relationships that can be relied upon for mutual benefit.
The creation of the network
Although aspiring entrepreneurs like yourself have busy schedules and responsibilities to keep up with on a weekly basis, this should not be an excuse to prevent you from forming a network. The creation of a network needs to be prioritized and incorporated into your routine as much as possible. When trying to connect with new people, you must attend some events. This will increase your exposure in the community, plus it takes your mind off the daily routine.
Events can be found through different mediums. Meetup.com is a social networking platform that enables people to find like-minded groups to meet offline. I would also suggest to search for local events and sign up for newsletters from different organizations that could host events. One of these events that you should consider attending is Venture Friday hosted by the Rebel Venture Fund. This event happens on the last Friday of every month, and allows you to meet entrepreneurs, angels, investors, and members of the Las Vegas community. Check the calendar on our website to get more information on the next upcoming event.
Once you figure out the information for events you need to attend them often. The best way to get better at networking will be by practicing. The more people you talk to and the more events you attend the easier it will get. When interacting with others for the first time you should be attempting to learn more about their goals, problems, and aspirations. Instead of asking for something, offer them your help if you can provide it. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. For example, a simple introduction to a person you know can help the person you just met would have a deeply positive impact on their life. Add value to their life so that later on they can help you in some way.
When you meet someone at an event make sure that you have some way of contacting them after. Get their business card, phone number, or LinkedIn information. Make sure to contact them after the event to continue the conversation. After this you should reach out to them to maintain the relationship. Minting the relationship is key to having a network that is useful. You want to create deep relationships that can be mutually beneficial and reliable for both parties.
Do not limit the amount of people that you are connecting with. Strive to meet individuals from diverse backgrounds, different occupations, and unique interests. Having different people to connect with enables entrepreneurs to have a variety of inputs, that can get you thinking in unconventional creative ways. This can help you solve a problem you were having or even give you a groundbreaking idea that can put you ahead of competitors.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits associated with networking. Through effective networking, you can meet future mentors, fellow entrepreneurs, business partners, and even potential investors. These individuals can and will help you achieve some of the goals you have for the startup that you have created or want to create. Mentors will use their wisdom and knowledge to help guide some of the decisions you make. Other entrepreneurs will have been in the same position you are in. They will be able to provide advice as well as mental support, you will know that you are not the only one going through the entrepreneurial grind.
While networking, you might meet someone you really want to work for you, because of their personality and drive they might be a valuable employee in your company. Additionally, someone can become a business partner that will help you form a strong team to take your idea forward. You also might meet a potential investor that is interested in you and your startup. When investors put their money on the line they are taking on lots of risks. One of the most important things they look at is who the person or team running the startup is. They will be much more comfortable investing in your company if you already have a network that supports you and can attest to your personality and passion, as opposed to being someone that nobody knows.
Networking can help you create relationships or contacts with people that live all around the world. This is significant for any entrepreneur who has a product or idea that they want to show the world. Different continents, countries, and states have different rules, regulations, and customs that need to be taken into account when trying to target a certain market in a specific location. Lots of time can be saved by relying on your contacts and asking them for feedback on the idea that you have. Maybe there is a certain regulation or barrier to entry that you had never thought of. This type of help could save you lots of time and money in the long run.
These are just a few benefits that can help you turn your ideas into multimillion dollar businesses. Having a network will help you achieve previously unachievable goals. We have all heard the old saying “It is not about what you know, it is about who you know.” This is just as relevant today as it has been in the past. Try to genuinely add value and help others and the impact on your life from the people that you have helped will benefit you in the future. Get your LinkedIn profile started, attend events, meet new people, and be ready to embrace success!
About the Author
Brian Garrido was born in Los Angeles, California, but grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a first-generation college student attending the University of Las Vegas, Nevada majoring in finance with a minor in global entrepreneurship. Brian aspires to start his own business and go to graduate school after his undergraduate studies to continue his education and attain an MBA.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.