One of the most impactful things you can do as an Entrepreneur just starting out is networking. In this post I take a look at what networking is and why you should get out of your comfort zone and talk to some strangers.
What is Networking?
I like to think of Networking like the internet (because I’m a nerd). The internet would be nothing without a system of computers working together (clients and servers). Networking as humans is similar. Each time you do some networking, you’re adding more “computers” to your network.
More contacts to your address book. More people you can help, more people who may one day help you.
Should I go to Networking events?
Now we’re still in a COVID world, so this post is all written assuming the event you’re going to has been setup as safely as possible. If you’re vaccinated and boosted, even better.
I’m a big big fan of networking events. I’m quite the introvert though so I find it hard to kick up a conversation at the type of events where there’s stalls and merchants.
I’m much more comfortable having a chat over a beverage and picking up a business card and reaching out via email afterwards.
To this day, I’m still friends with Dat (on my left) and Emanuel on my right (and yep, my bald spot has only got bigger).
What are other ways to Network?
Early in the days of Zero BS CRM (now Jetpack CRM), I often took face to face meetings with customers if I could. We’d meet for a coffee (if we were lucky enough to be in the same locale). I even managed to connect with a customer for dinner, when in Toronto.
These meetings not only helped develop my network, they gave me actionable, real feedback from people using the product.
I still hold these connections to this day – if I didn’t have those meetings my network would have been that bit weaker, and the product that little bit less informed.
It doesn’t have to be face to face either. You can send a follow up email to customers offering a 1:1 video call, to have a chat and build those connections. This is something I also did recently where I chatted with around 30 users of our product to get feedback, help out where I could and just listen to their stories.
What did I want in return? Nothing I did it to help learn more about the people using the product. In turn they may be more likely to stick around or recommend us to a friend.
The likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN are still incredibly useful. If you connect with the right people you’ll be growing a network of people you may have never met or even taken a call with.
Then when you come to share your news or any milestones you may even get a comment or two throwing congrats your way.
Do you need a product to start?
Absolutely not. You don’t need a product to start networking, once you know your target audience you can start with the social networks to help build up an initial following.
Then if you do decide to launch products, you’ll have an instant tribe of people who are keen to see what you’re doing, what you’re produced and hopefully you’ll be able to impact them in new ways.