All successful companies have a strong network behind them, providing guidance, funding, referrals, and general support. For entrepreneurs who have to do it alone, the need for a solid peer entrepreneur network cannot be overstated.
Building a great company requires more than having a good product or service. Practical networking skills can help to catapult your business to its target reach. At the end of this article, you should know how to network with fellow entrepreneurs and some tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
Networking is about meeting other business owners and professionals at similar stages in their journeys, no matter how different their industry or audience. This connection is an integral part of any business growth strategy, as it is the bridge to resources, opportunities, and a support system you may not ordinarily get on your own.
With the growth of technology and social media, networking is much easier today than ever. You can combine online efforts with physical activities targeted at expanding your business connections.
A solid entrepreneur network can open your business to new opportunities. Speaking about your business to fellow entrepreneurs is often the biggest advert your business can get, and the best part is that it is free. However, nothing compares to learning from the experiences of your peers. This knowledge can help you to avoid common pitfalls and apply the valuable wisdom of others to your business development.
Consider that business and sales are often emotional, as people usually prefer to patronize someone they connect with personally. So, speaking with people, whether online or in person, is a good investment of your time and business resources, as the key to a successful business is not always what you do but sometimes who you know.
Growing a successful business is tough work, but these four steps will help you make giant strides through networking:
1. Join an Entrepreneurial Organization
Joining an entrepreneurial organization is like attending a party where you know nobody, but everyone present has one goal: to learn from each other's experiences. These organizations can be fun indeed, but the point here is that everyone within is on the same page in a broader sense. In an organization like this, you don’t need to sieve through to find people who understand your goals. Every member is in your shoes and has experienced much of what you have as a business owner.
There are many entrepreneur networks you can join depending on your business size and your vision for it. These organizations provide exposure, guidance, and invaluable support for your business needs. At Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Boston, the heart of this connection is the Forum, a member-led, confidential, peer-sharing program that lets you dig deep with your professional peers in a safe yet challenging, judgment-free environment.
2. Attend Entrepreneur Networking Events
Where is a better place to grow your business connections and entrepreneur network than at networking events with peer entrepreneurs? Everyone attending the event is likely there for the same goal as you—to expand their network. So, take advantage of social events to form mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded entrepreneurial peers.
Check out EO Boston’s calendar of upcoming events to get a taste of the engaging networking events we offer.
3. Leverage Social Media
Building an entrepreneur network requires serious effort, but social media makes things easier. You can meet entrepreneurial peers for the first time online or follow up on new contacts to strengthen the relationship.
Whatever strategy you decide to follow, ensure you use your social media for more than mindless scrolling. Follow industry heads and business owners like yourself and engage with their posts. Leave a comment here and a like there. Join the conversation so that you are at the forefront of their memory.
4. Keep Solid Records
We’ve said enough about meeting people and establishing connections. But what comes after that? How do you maintain relationships with many people without mixing things up or dropping the ball?
The secret is to keep good records, write down your most important connections, and note down information like their business location, their contributions to the industry, and some minor things they have told you. Remembering information about your network indicates that you value the relationship. Plus, maintaining old connections is just as important as building new ones.
Level Up Your Entrepreneurial Networking
While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule regarding how to network as an entrepreneur, things are a lot easier with a strong entrepreneur network like EO Boston. This exclusive organization is open to business owners in different industries that meet the membership qualification criteria.
By joining EO Boston, you can meet a community of like-minded entrepreneurs committed to improving and growing their businesses to the next level. While you need to turn at least $1 million in revenue to join, there is an accelerator program for businesses making at least $250,000. Reach out to us to learn more about membership, our events, and our programs.