These two words are often combined because it takes a lot of networking and valuable connections in the industry to be able to grow as an entrepreneur. While putting yourself out there can be intimidating, it will definitely help out in the long run.
Make Genuine Connections
Networking isn’t just about talking to as many people as possible in the room or collecting everyone’s business cards at an event. Good networking requires making real connections with people and following up on those after you leave an event. Talking to a few key players in your industry and making yourself memorable is more valuable than trying to talk to everyone in the room for a couple minutes. People can tell when you are not engaged in a conversation and just looking to talk to the next person. Make an effort to work that room but work it effectively.
The follow up is one of the most important things about networking that many people forget to do or don’t do effectively. After you’ve received someone’s contact information, reach out the them via email or on LinkedIn. Even if it is just a couple sentences about how you enjoyed your conversation and are looking forward to getting together for coffee in the future, it will make an impression and be a gateway for future conversations rather than reaching out for the first time in a couple months when they have already most likely forgotten your initial conversation.
Use Social Media
You won’t always be able to attend all of the networking events that are out there, and that’s okay. It is important to also build up your online presence on social media platforms and make it a place that people can connect with you and vice versa. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are all great places to network with others in your industry and it is a great way for people to find you easier. You can post interesting articles, content you’ve created, and even projects you are working on, and it is a great place for your network to stay up to date with what you are doing as well as easily connect with you.
It is essential to not only network but network well when you are an entrepreneur. You never know what valuable connection can lead you to your next big project, give you valuable advice, or help connect you with someone else. It’s not only about what you know, but also who you know.