Reality is that no matter what sort of entrepreneur you are you will need relationships, and in turn you will need to network to build and maintain those relationships. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established one the spare time that you spend on nurturing relationships with people will matter. So, with that in mind we compiled some thoughts on how to best build up your entrepreneurial network.
See also: 5 Imperatives to Boost Entpreneurship
People like people who have similar interests to themselves. These sorts of people are easier to relate to and this makes it easier to build a network. Figuring out from the beginning allows you to build an understanding with people. Perhaps you can grow with people with similar industry orientated growth approaches or who are at a similar stage of their business life to you. By finding people with similar mind-sets you can bond and help each other to grow and this will in turn have a positive impact on your business.
2. Originality Counts
A lot of people believe that being an entrepreneur requires you to portray a slick appearance. This sort of generic approach will result in you pretending to be someone else and isn’t ideal. The best entrepreneurs have their own personalities and leave an impact on people.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that it’s better to try and give people what they want than take what you want. This will mean they are likely to remember you and this will make for long term success.
3. Touch Points
Throughout your efforts you’ll meet loads of people that work in and around your industry and many of these people will seem important. However, you need to prioritise.
It’s a lot better to create quality relations with the top 25% of people you meet than sparse ones with 80%. After you meet people why not send them a personalised message via LinkedIn or drop them an email or tweet. This provides you with contact and makes you more memorable and is a strong starting point. Relationships lead to PR opportunities, are the perfect way to get in touch with influencers and to make more of yourself in your industry. There is a good blog interview here on how to make more of these touch points.
Starting your own personal blog helps you create a personal brand. People want to know what thought leaders in an industry think and if you blog about your industry that will place you in the top echelons of your area. Use your blog to represent you and showcase your thoughts. Blogs with loads of unique content and thought leadership are valuable and make you a go to person in your industry. This will in turn help you build more relationships.
5. Be Local, but Think Global
Being local and working with people in your immediate area will help you get a voice on the ground. Try cementing relationships at Chamber of Commerce meetings and local events. It’s these efforts that make you more memorable and that allow you to move from small to large. These are the building blocks and foundations that will help take you a long way.
6. Include People
You should include people in everything that you do. If you’re lunching out, then make sure to eat with someone. This provides you with the opportunity to connect with others at all stages of your day and provides you with more opportunities to make more of your efforts.
See also: How to Network if you Hate Networking
As you may gather from the above, being an entrepreneur is a long term game of relationships. Success takes time, effort, patience and a balanced effort. So, don’t let pretension or shoot from the hip decisions get ahead of the long term on your ascendency to the top.