Starting a new business can be very daunting. In fact, more businesses don’t make it past year 1. But what many new entrepreneurs fail to do is in the first years of building their brand is leveraging their network effective. There is a misconception that solopreneurs work alone but they don’t. There is an army of invisible friends, family, peers, coaches, and expects to help them along. The most successful businesses today were built on a strong diverse network. We have all heard of the old sayings “It takes a village” In business, this motto has never been truer. Don’t expect to grow your business without a building a network. Networking should be seen as an investment in your business. Sallie Krawcheck CEO and Founder of Ellevest said it best, “networking is the number 1 unwritten rule of success in business.”
Why Should you Build a Network for your Business?
There are several benefits on having a strong network for your business but the most important is to build skills and expertise outside of your core capabilities’. For example, say you are starting a new online fashion site targeting millennials. You went to school for fashion and are very up to date on all the trends. Your designs are fabulous, but you lack the ability to turn your product into a business. Most entrepreneurs or inventors have a solid product or service but struggle to translate it into a business strategy. This is where your network comes in handy.
Have no experience creating or launching a website, well find someone who specializes in this or has done this before to provide insights/guidance to develop the right online experience for your customers. Not sure how to manage your expenses and income. Connect with an old friend from college who majored in accounting who might know someone who can help. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone when building your network. You will be surprised by how many people are willing to help. Your network should build on the skills you are lacking, almost like a board of directors
What Does a Business Network look like?
Your business network should be a collection of advocates, peers, sponsors, coaches, friends, and even foes that help guide you during the different growth stages of your business. It should be a diverse array of people with unique experiences and knowledge, creating a collaborative environment that provides you with the guidance needed to build a successful business. A network should include people working in different industries, with different backgrounds, at different stages of their business, and xxx who provide
These groups of people should challenge your ideas, provided sound insights, play develops advocate, provide support, and push you to drive your business to the next level. Everyone’s network looks different based on their businesses needed and demands so curator a strong network that aligns with your business goals.
How to Build a Business Network
It’s quite easy to build a business network but you must be willing to put in the work. There are many ways to build your network but try:
- Finding online support groups across social media platforms
- Joining a community network or find an entrepreneur Meet Up in your city
- Leveraging your alumni network and social events
- Meeting people at local co-working spaces
- Introducing yourself to people within your field via LinkedIn
Gone are the days of “solopreneurs”. We live in the most interconnected world. Spend time connecting with people to not only gain knowledge but build new relationships that will help build your business. These relationships could blossom into a long-term partnership that helps elevate your business or even new friendships/mentorships. You may be one person away from your business next big step.
About Grace Kasozi
Grace Kasozi is the Founder of Kasozi Associates a platform dedicated to connected women professional and entrepreneurs with women career and business coaches to achieve more. Our goal is to help every woman reach theirs’. She has over 10 years of building brands and career coaching globally. You can visit her website and follow Grace at Twitter and LinkedIn.