Tips for Building Your Entrepreneurial Network
Although they are surrounded by staff, many entrepreneurs feel alone. However, those who have invested time in building a professional network often find a thriving community of like-minded individuals with that they can work and share their experiences. These are tips for building your professional network.
Become a Professional Organization Member
Most industries and communities have professional organizations. You can join one that caters to entrepreneurs and business owners, or one that serves your industry specifically. You can also join state, national, or international organizations.
Choose to belong to organizations that honor your values, goals, and needs. Be aware that some of these assets require that you pay a membership fee, so investigate what you will receive from the organization before paying it. Make connections with other members. You can also meet them in person at conferences or schedule personal meetups if they are in your area or you will be in theirs.
Seek Local Organizations Where You Can Mentor Others
A great way to build a network is by volunteering as a mentor. Volunteering also allows you to make real connections with individuals who may later look to your company for employment. However, don’t approach mentorship with a focus on what you will get out of it. Instead, seek to share your knowledge, experience, and skills with other like-minded individuals. Focus on helping others as they are starting.
Engage in the Local Business Community
Whether your business is large or small, you can build a network by engaging or partnering with local small businesses. Don’t hesitate to join the local small business association. Attend local business events or expos. Host events through your company as well.
Spend time getting to know local business owners. Schedule casual or professional in-person meetings. See how you can help each other. For example, you may consider partnering with local small businesses so that new customers are introduced to all your products and services.
Keep in Touch
No matter where you start, you already have a network of individuals you know. They may not be professional peers or mentors, but they can still help you build a great network. Therefore, consider keeping in touch with individuals you meet through college, different workplaces, or friends and neighbors.
Every person has valuable insight and ideas, and you never know when someone you least expect will provide you with your next great idea or helps you overcome a significant challenge in a way you would never have considered.
Networks are valuable tools. Whether yours is filled with entrepreneurs or regular people, it is beneficial because it provides support and eliminates loneliness. Consider these strategies as you build your network.