Posted on Sep 06, 2012 by | 0 Comments
Networking is a funny beast.
It’s expensive. Maybe not financially (although the price of conferences doesn’t look like falling anytime soon) but in relation to something that will always be far more valuable – your own personal time.
So, with no guarantee of success, how can new entrepreneurs justify spending time networking?
What value is there in increasing the size of your network? George Bickerstaff’s presentation on the Global Innovators’ Blogspot sums it up perfectly:-
1. Linear business models are ineffective.
2. Networks amplify exponentially.
3. Networked groups result in super-amplification.
Put simply, the bigger the network, the greater your impact.
Despite appearances, little has changed through the years: people still do business with people. Connections count. If you’re wondering who the best people are to speak to, take a look at this great post by Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz a couple of days ago introducing the ‘Help Me Help You Dinner’.
You’re consumed by your new venture, wrapped up in writing elevator pitches to blow investors’ socks off and as excited as any new parent would be by the birth of your baby enterprise. How could you possibly find time to network? You’re too busy being an entrepreneur, aren’t you?
I’m going to leave the answer to THE entrepreneur, Richard Branson:-
“However you go about making connections, from the very first moment you begin to realise that your idea is worth pursuing, the first step on the road to success is building a network”.Check out his article in the Entrepreneur Magazine “How to Network: Hint Early and Often” - the clue’s in the title!
This is a story of two halves.
For the first half, I’ll defer to Mr Branson again:-
“Just think: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all provide opportunities for you to meet and interact with fellow entrepreneurs, experts in the field and innovative newcomers”.
So, with a smart phone in your pocket you have a whole battalion of experts and advisers to go into battle with. How could you lose? Easy – by failing to connect with them.
Insularity is not an option anymore. Connections are necessary to succeed in modern business and networked groups on the above platforms can be particularly effective.
The second half of the story? Most of the sources in this blog have come via my networks on Twitter and LinkedIn. My job in writing this for you has been inspired, made easier, more efficient and, hopefully, more effective through my online networking. Perhaps you’re reading this as a result of a LinkedIn, Twitter or G+ post? If so, my network now extends to you too.
But however tech-savvy you are, it’s just as important to actually meet the people behind the monitors. I also rely on my interpersonal network - the army beyond my smart phone, if you like. It’s important to find time to develop the networks that are most relevant to your own niche but being based in Edinburgh, here are a few networking hubs to start looking at if you’re unsure of where to start:-
I recently heard Heidi Roizen speaking at the E-Club on this very subject and Dug Campbell’s blog post summarises her 10 point guide to building a business network brilliantly.
Me? I hope to meet you soon!
0131 226 8233