Having contacts is always good, but in the entrepreneurship world it is not only that, but it is also vital. Personal relationships have a great influence on whether a company is successful or not. Here comes into play a very common term in the business world that you have surely heard at some point: networking. But what exactly does this consist of? We will tell you about it in this post.
Networking popularity has increased in recent years, it can be translated as making contacts. It consists of making connections with people related to your work and building a professional network of contacts that can serve as allies, share experiences with other entrepreneurs and learn from each other.
These connections can be of different types depending on the objective you are pursuing. On one hand, they can be personals, which are useful to find support or references; on the other hand they can be strategics, that is, contacts of your sector that can help you to boost your business and grow. And, finally, operational, which would be suppliers, customers, partners…
Why is it so important?
No one can succeed alone, and we are not only talking about how important it is to have a good work team, but also about the importance of meeting other people in your sector to keep growing. Practicing networking will allow you to discover other experiences to learn from, find investors or partners, and give more visibility to your company. In short, networking opens many doors and all of them lead to success.
It is important to know that this practice is not simply about creating and increasing your list of contacts, but also that these relationships are lasting and can serve and nurture you in your professional and personal growth. There are many advantages to networking, among them, the following stand out:
- You make yourself known to potential investors;
- It makes it easier to find collaborators and suppliers;
- Boosts your professional relationships;
- It allows you to find support and motivation.
How to make networking
Networking is not a difficult practice, since it consists of nothing more than interacting with other people. However, there are certain keys that you must understand and, in addition, you must be prepared so that when you go to expand your network of contacts you do it correctly and it really works.
- Define your objectives. You can't launch into building your network without first being clear about what you want to achieve. Ask yourself what your goals are: to get partners, to get funding, or maybe to get more customers? Depending on what they need, you will be able to focus your efforts in an optimal way, and relate to the contacts that best suit you.
- Be authentic and show interest. Networking is not just about expanding your contact list, but also about having quality and authentic relationships. So when networking with other people in your sector, don’t just talk non-stop, but also listen. Therefore, show interest in your interlocutor.
- Social networks as allies. With the advent of social networks, networking has become much easier, because now we can do it without leaving home. To do this, prepare a good profile on your social networks, make it professional and attractive and share content related to your sector. Once prepared, start interacting with contacts that can help you, and follow relevant people in your area and participate in conversations.
- Keep an eye out for the events in your industry. Events related to your area of work, such as conferences, trade fairs, seminars, awards and congresses, are the ideal place to meet relevant contacts. Stay tuned to the annual calendar of this type of events and attend them with a short pitch about you and your company and don't forget to bring business cards.
Networking can not only be done through networks or entrepreneurship events, but it is one of the great advantages of being part of a startup acceleration program like the one we offer at La Lonja de la Innovación. Sharing this experience and space with other entrepreneurs in similar situations to yours allows you to form bonds and expand your network of contacts. In addition, we offer visibility, access to entrepreneurship events and activities such as talks and/or workshops that allow startups to continue to meet people related to their sector and to references.
Now that you know more about networking, it's time to get down to work and expand your network.