The idea of networking contributes to the growth and relevance of a startup. We are often familiar with the saying “no man is an island”. Running your business on a solo mode might retain the focus or vision of the business, it can also make progress speedily but it shuts the owner from the real experiences of other business owners. This approach clearly affects the business growth.
In this article, we would look at how building a solid network can maintain a startup business.
Success in business especially for one just trying to gain traction is not only dependent on how much it is able to control financially, neither is it by its size of employee. There are other activities that not only boost a startup business but cause it to survive over the long term. The skill of relating with establishments relevant to solidifying the building blocks of a startup business is one we can see in common with successful startup businesses. By research we can see that all successful startups developed meaningful partnerships, which enabled them to achieve success quickly and sustainably. This is known as networking.
What is Networking?
Networking in business is building relationships that would in turn interest people to know more about and want to get involved in your business. It should not be mistaken for just hosting business meetings, exchanging cards, joining business communities and organizing pitch parties. Notwithstanding, these are processes of networking then it yields more results when people get to know your business, trust what you do and desire to partner with you. These connections, if optimized, can boost a startup business and expose it to more opportunities.
What can networking do for your startup business?
● Networking attracts excellent skills: Networking offers a large range of skills to make selections from. A startup business with strong connections cannot lack top skills in its decisions. It cannot be limited to just the available but have the option of picking its desired.
● Networking helps you through competition: One can hardly talk about a business and its sustenance without recognizing the place of competitors – how they charge and what they do to stay as market leaders. Exposure through your business network gives insights to what you can do to stand out and also face competition in the industry without wearing out. In simple terms, networking breaks down the bulk of handling competitors as by others experiences, one is guided on essential approaches for effective results.
● Networking provides you with more negotiating power with potential investors: Investors seek to support a business that not only promises good return on their investment but will deliver rightly and on time. Trust is another standpoint for investors and strong networking with others can suffice in that it gives a business credibility to invest in. Also, your network can introduce you to other potential investors.
● Wider customer reach: Customers of a business are spread abroad. Networking links the business with its potential clients who in turn advocates on behalf of the business. The effect of this is a wider reach to the right customers thereby, increasing the business customer base. This connection is beyond boundaries; could be online or offline reach.
● Impact on business strategy: By exposure through networking, a startup business gets to improve its strategies in communication, financing, operations and other aspects. Networking influences positively from the structure of the startup business through its publicity even to the personal brand of the founders.
We have now been able to see what networking can do for a startup business. Note that any business that excels in these few points mentioned above, is going for a long term survival. Networking contributes to building experiences and shaping business direction.
Emmanuel Otori has over 9 years of experience working with 100 start-ups and SMEs across Nigeria. He has worked on the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project of the World Bank, Consulted for businesses at the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Novustack, Splitspot and NITDA.
He is the Chief Executive Officer at Abuja Data School.