Networking might be one of the most underrated skills that an entrepreneur must possess. It is also the easiest skill to develop.
Sometimes, entrepreneurs keep the process of ‘networking,’ as the their number last priority especially when it’s compared with processes like product development, prototype testing or to just simply refine the business idea and plan. Starting a new business is a daunting task, period! And networking helps you make all the right connections and increase the excitement about your business. It is one of the vital skills of any successful entrepreneur for this is how you get others talking about you, meet investors, clients, contacts to develop your business, and possibly, even future employees.
What is networking really?
Networking, in layman’s terms, is making contacts and using these contacts for further development of your business. It is not enough to just know how to network but to know how to network effectively. Networking is wrongly considered to be the arena of the extroverted, outgoing people. Even if you are the shyest, or the most awkward person to cross paths with anyone, with a few effective networking tricks, you could be the talk of the town. And this will help your business too!
1. Always start with a plan!
Entrepreneurs know how important a proper plan is to run a business. It is true for networking also. You must know whom should you connect with and about them or in simply, anyone who could help you and your business, before actually setting things into motion.
2. Set a target…
Participate in business events and set up a weekly, monthly goal to add to your connections. But always remember, ‘Quality over Quantity.’
3. Be choosy
Time is an asset for any entrepreneur. So use it wisely. It is not necessary that you should have the maximum connections that you could possibly make, but a few right ones could do the trick too. Don’t spend time on connections that culminate into nothing helpful for your business.
4. Be friendly and approachable
Networking is similar to making friends. Be welcoming and helpful towards people. A pleasant personality always stands out.
5. Be confident, and operative.
You could employ certain nuances in body language to distinguish yourself. Always introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Take an interest in others and their work. Be active and don’t just become an another furniture in the room. Remember, people prefer the company of a confident person. Show people that you are a leader.
6. Stay connected
Making connections is not enough, as you need to keep them current too. In the world where social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc dominates the area of communication. it is not difficult to make connections. Always update, keep in touch and share information.
7. Help others to help yourself
Networking is a two-way business. You should be willing to help others. Don’t expect your connections to be generous with their skills and connections if you aren’t.
Networking is also learning from your contacts, which requires you as an entrepreneur to have the confidence to admit that you have something to learn. It also increases the reputation of your start-up. Your comfort with networking won't affect your start-up's success. What is important is that you do network, whether or not it comes easily.
If you too have entrepreneurial dreams, you need to have faith in your Chatur Idea. You will always wonder who will fund this idea and from where will you find investors. In that case, you can participate in the #BeAChatur Contest and not only be mentored, but also stand a chance to win a whopping Rs.10 Lac funding for your dream startup idea.