For Start-ups, networking is a strategy that is a crucial part of business development. No matter what modern day technology can do and how it has changed the way start-ups function, the basics of networking are still significant.
Specialised networking, be it online or in person, is essential for start-ups. Even though every start-up is distinct and unique, if one builds one’s business through networking, it is only going to be advantageous.
So, why is networking important?
Firstly, networking is a great sales tool. It is through networking that some big accounts and deals have been closed. To do this, one must meet with the actual decision makers at a firm. They will help you understand their requirements. Apart from that, they will also show you other ideal customers for your product/service.
This is something that is priceless, especially if you are an up-and-coming start-up. Through networking, you will gain more connections and this automatically widens your horizon to have more possibilities for growth and partnership. Moreover, this is also a revenue opportunity.
Investors don’t just put their money in start-ups they are not comfortable in. It is only with due diligence that this is done by them. Networking with them makes this path a little smoother. The investors will also in-turn guide you and introduce you to others. Thus all in all it gives you an edge.
It is important to get publicity for your start-up. The promotion of your company must be a long-term plan and not something that is sudden. The only way you can ensure this is through networking as it helps in this and it also increases your brand recognition.
So how is Networking done?
Contacts can make or break deals. How can you make sure that you are doing it right? Here are some tips:
While one-on-one meetings are ideal, today, people do not have the time for them. This means utilizing online platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter as well. This will mean more connections, opportunities and visibility.
As a start-up, it is important to know and understand the people you are networking with and their expertise. Spending time with them and seeking their advice will form long-standing relationships.
Every meeting you have must be of value for you and the other person. Your novel and fresh idea will provide something to the person you are interacting with, so don’t hold yourself back. There might definitely be some need there that you might be able to address.
One way to ensure that you are in touch and constantly networking is by organising or even attending events. Though it is not a one-to-one meeting, you will be meeting a larger group here. This definitely means a lot of effort from your end, but will surely reap benefits.
Whatever you do, ensure that your communication is clear. This is crucial when you network. Confusion will prove to be negative.
As a start-up remember that while networking one must always have something to offer. Another lesson to learn is to not directly ask for any favour. So what are you waiting for? You need to start building up your network today!