Saturday, December 03, 2011

Why Entrepreneurs Need To Network

Growing a business can be an all encompassing experience.  Many entrepreneurs put so much attention into their venture that they fail to honor the time to make, grow and keep their business relationships. The immediacy of issues surrounding funding, clients, employees, vendors, regulations, and product specifications leaves little space for things that do not scream traceable "ROI".

There is much written about productivity and protecting time for leaders.  Much of this advice involves identifying the purpose of every activity on the calendar.  With limited hours in the day, and the intensity necessary to run a company it become easy for an entrepreneur to push the cultivation of relationships to a "nice to have" activity instead of a "must have activity".  While time is limited and precious, it is important for the entrepreneur to remember that all opportunities come from people.  If you have the right network in place, most of the challenges faced will quickly be solved through a few well through out phone calls.

However, you cannot wait until you have a need to try to build a relationship.  If the only time you show up at business events or place calls to those you already know is when you have need, you will find it difficult to get the responses you desire.  Building a network takes time, and even in our fast paced digital world you cannot create a friendship through sending a LinkedIn request.

The introductions made by those with whom you have established long-term and mutually beneficial relationships can instantly lead you to the right investor, lawyer, banker, accountant, or other vendor.  It is through people that you can quickly find the necessary employee you need to hire to take your business to the next level.  There are not short cuts to meaningful connections with people who know, like, and trust you and that understand your business.

Entrepreneurs sometimes make the mistake of only wanting to network with other entrepreneurs.  CEO's often seek out groups that only admit other CEO's, but that can be very limiting.  Another business owner will not tell you that they have the best receptionist or sales manager, for fear they may get lured away to other companies.  Plus, you cannot grow and learn when everyone is just like you.  There must be diversity in your network that includes not just race, religions, sex, and age.  You must include diversity of job titles and industries in your network if you want there to be a variety of access to information.

Out of sight is out of mind.  Even when you are busy launching the business or a new product you cannot disappear from your community.  There will come a time when you will need other people, and you cannot expect people to be sitting around waiting for you to call.  You must cultivate the connection always.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

No comments: