Building a robust network is an indispensable step for entrepreneurs and those with startups, a vital foundation upon which successful businesses are often built. What a lot of people don’t realise is that often people come to networking meetings at Bx before they even have a business! Perhaps they know what they want to achieve and are going through the process of planning their startup, but these people are doing things the right way by making sure that when they’re ready to hit the ground running, they already have names, contacts and potential partners lined up.
Here’s how a future founder and unicorn entrepreneur should be looking at networking before they’ve even converted their idea napkin into a pre-seed funding slide deck:
Creating Visibility and Credibility
By engaging with professionals, industry leaders, and potential collaborators, entrepreneurs can establish their presence in the business ecosystem. In other words, when they’re ready to start talking about their business, they’re already known to the community.
This early visibility can be instrumental when seeking investments or forming partnerships, as it builds a foundation of trust and familiarity within the community. It might even be the opportunity to find your co-founders, if you find the right networks for the entrepreneurially-minded.
Learning from Peers
Many founders are starting their first businesses, and the first time out, the entire process can be overwhelming. Networking facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences with fellow entrepreneurs and that can go a long way to getting you comfortable with the process.
Before officially launching a business, you should be engaging with peers who have navigated similar paths and can provide invaluable insights. Learning from the successes and challenges of others can serve as a practical guide, helping entrepreneurs make informed decisions and avoid common pitfalls.
Access to Resources
Networks are reservoirs of resources, from mentorship opportunities to access to specialised knowledge. When you’re starting a business, resources are going to be thin and you’ll be bootstrapping every day. These resources, whatever form they take, can make all the difference.
By establishing connections early on, entrepreneurs can tap into a wealth of resources that may prove critical in the early stages of business development. Whether it’s guidance from experienced mentors or access to industry-specific information, a strong network can be a treasure trove for startups.
Validation of Ideas
Here’s a hard truth about business: We’re always too close to our ideas. We might think that we’ve got something special that solves a real problem in the market, but that doesn’t mean much if our reading of the market (and, indeed, our idea) is wayward.
Networking acts as a sounding board for entrepreneurial ideas. Before officially launching a business, sharing concepts within a network allows for constructive feedback. This external perspective can help refine business ideas, identify potential shortcomings, and ensure that the entrepreneurial venture aligns with market demands and expectations. More than a few entrepreneurs have pivoted to something successful that they would otherwise have never thought of without some firm guidance at the idea stage.
Building a Support System
Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with uncertainties and challenges. It’s also incredibly lonely. Whether it’s just you, or you’ve found a co-founder, you’re still going without a bustling office and all the benefits that come from that, so establishing a support system through networking to compensate is crucial.
Having a network of individuals who understand the entrepreneurial landscape provides emotional and professional support. This network becomes a sounding board for ideas, a source of encouragement during tough times, and a celebration platform during successes.
Finally, perhaps the most obvious advantage of networking early is that if your idea is just that good, you might be able to attract angel investors and even business partners from the outset. We want to be careful not to get your hopes up here – business networking is not the same as participating in incubator programs and the like – but sometimes someone does have an idea that’s so brilliant they get some financial support to get the idea going.
And if not, there are partnerships. Networking offers entrepreneurs the chance to identify and connect with potential partners who share complementary goals. By nurturing these relationships early on, startups can position themselves for mutually beneficial collaborations that can significantly impact business growth.
Entrepreneurialism isn’t easy. In fact, it’s the furthest possible thing from “easy” that you can imagine. You’re going to be battling inner demons that tell you to give up, while at the same time trying to break into a world filled with innovative startup ideas. You’re looking at long hours, lost weekends, and setback after setback.
Networking right at the start of this journey offers you any number of benefits, but they all boil down to this: you’ll find a group of people that are inspired by you and want to see your business idea succeed. Sometimes, more than anything else, motivation is what an entrepreneur needs, and nothing provides that better than networking.
Since 2015, Bx® has helped thousands of businesses create meaningful, long-lasting referral partnerships to unlock an abundance of leads quickly. We do this by ensuring every meeting we run is professional yet fun, and it must follow our award-winning & proven formula, which does not include selling to each other! Our members also have access to world-leading business education resources and live & pre-recorded training programs worth more than $20,000. Start your journey to become the business owner you were born to be by downloading your FREE 4-Part Video Series, “How to Generate Income by Networking,” and then opting for a FREE Trial Membership to Bx® (Valued at $199), which includes two complimentary meeting tickets to xperience Business Networking Reimagined for yourself!