Guest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator Laura Burns
Networking is one of those things that everyone’s heard of, most of us do, but we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. There are a lot of benefits to networking for entrepreneurs, but it’s easy to feel ‘not ready yet’. If your business is still in planning mode you may feel like it’s too soon to start networking, but it’s never too early. Every relationship you create and nurture is one more person who can help you get your great idea off the ground!
Entrepreneurs love to help other entrepreneurs.
Thoughtful and strategic networking early on can work miracles for your new business. The key word here is ‘early’. Most people wait until they have quit their job and fully launched their new business to start networking and meeting people in their new field and community of entrepreneurs. This means they’re missing out on weeks, months, or sometimes years of connection and collaboration.
Here are my Top Three Reasons to Network Early. Let’s dive into why it’s not only beneficial, but crucial to getting your business off to a strong start.
1. Early networking gets you and your business out there. It’s one of the best ways to get great exposure in the business community. Tip: Do it right and just be yourself. Don’t focus on selling or pitching to people or you’ll come off as an over-zealous marketer. Instead show people who you are and let them see the excited and motivated entrepreneur ready to participate in and strengthen the local business community.
2. Take advantage of the opportunity to practice how you talk about your business. It can take a while before the language and descriptions you use to explain your work feel natural. Early networking gets you started talking to other business owners way before you actually launch your business. Spending the time early on can make a huge difference in your skill, ability, and confidence in talking to clients and customers. Not only does it prepare you to speak easily and interestingly about your work, but early networking can help keep your conversation skills honed, your mind agile, and your listening ear tuned for opportunities to help others and be helped in return. The best kind of networking is when someone has a challenge that you can help them to overcome. Not only are you helping someone else and scoring good vibes, but you’ll be remembered as the person who came through for them – a great way to build a really positive reputation.
3. My favorite thing to come from networking is collaborations! Networking events are perfect places to meet new project partners and collaborators. Some of my more interesting and fruitful events and services have come from working together with another entrepreneur.
These top three are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of early networking. Don’t be afraid to start getting out there and meeting people – even if you’re early in your business journey. Every new contact is a potential referral, client, collaborator, and friend. Making the most of this part of your business development will pay off in the end!
I help heart-forward businesses create thoughtfully crafted plans for growth and sustainability. I love to inspire people to think critically, dream big, and clear out the cobwebs to let in the light and the joy! Wanna leave your soul-crushing job to start your own business? Check out my new book, Work Life Revolution! Laura Burns is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators.