A Startup’s Guide to Networking08 Dec 2015
In the startup world, it is very important to grow your network. Introductions and connections are crucial to aspects from raising funds and hiring to getting the right advice and promoting your business. Creating this network is not easy and can be intimidating if you are new to the startup eco-system. But even if you’re starting from scratch, you can successfully build a network to grow your startup sooner. It is necessary to know how to go about building your network while also having the time and energy to build your startup. In this article, we tell you a few ways to build your network while you’re just starting out.
Have a Plan
It is important to first understand what it is you wish to achieve through your network. Are you looking for a strategic partnership? Are you looking to meet investors? Are you interested in learning about a new area related to your business? Are you interested in meeting people working at other startups? Select events and people you wish to contact accordingly.
Know your Platform:
The etiquette for networking generally varies on different platforms, so it’s important to keep your approach appropriate while you find new connections. For example, reaching out to strangers on Twitter is more socially acceptable than it is on Facebook, since most people use Facebook for close friends and family. On LinkedIn, almost every member is a professional seeking to connect professionally. Online, LinkedIn is the best place to meet new contacts and exchange information. Quora is also a great place to participate in discussions about your business or provide valuable input to others and hence build connections.
Get in Touch
Reach out to anybody you engaged with directly on any of the social platforms and ask for more information about what they do. You can send them an email introducing yourself and requesting a meeting at their convenience. You may also find people reaching out to you because of your participation in conversations on social platforms. LinkedIn Groups and Quora discussions are an ideal place to look for these conversations.
Go Beyond the Screen
Don’t let your connections stay confined to the digital world. Once you have established a connection online, try to take the next step with a phone call or, even better, an in-person meeting.
Go to Events
Meeting people face to face at events can make a huge difference to how you build relationships. Meetup and Twitter are great ways to find out about upcoming networking events in your area of interest. Ideally, you should choose a mixture of general networking events and a few specific to your area of interest. Do your research before the event. Make sure to research who will be attending the event, who will speak at the event; so that you’re more confident about approaching them. Always remember to follow up with an email the next day.
Organize Regular Get-togethers
Having a regular informal get-together as a startup and inviting people is a great way to get to know people and expand your network. Invite interesting people to whom your event would be relevant. You can also ask them to bring a +1 who would benefit from the event.
Stay in Touch
Now that you’ve made a couple of connections, you should make sure you stay in touch. Value the connection and don’t just reach out only when you need a favor. Catch up with your connections; make sure that you can also help them out with their network by making introductions, and being a friend that they can count on.
It is always better to have a few genuine connections than to collect hundreds of business cards at multiple events. Build personal connections instead. Building personal connection will make sure that people will be more likely to help you when you reach out to them.