Stay Connected: Why is Networking Important for Entrepreneurs?

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“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.” —Robert Kiyosaki

There’s a saying ‘your network is your net worth.’ There’s a lot of truth in this saying. In this article, we’re going to cover why is networking important for entrepreneurs.

Your professional network will ensure you get work, receive opportunities, and are in contact with people you can help, and who can help you. However, there’s a disconnect between the worth of your connections and what usually comes to mind when people think of ‘networking.’ 


What Is Entrepreneurial Networking?

Why is Networking Important for Entrepreneurs

Let’s first understand why networking is decisive in entrepreneurship. You see, networking refers to the process of building relationships and connections with other small business owners, industry professionals, and potential customers and partners.

This can include attending events, joining industry groups and meetups, and reaching out to other entrepreneurs through online platforms. The goal of networking for entrepreneurs is to create a professional association with other like-minded individuals that can provide valuable resources and support as they grow their businesses.

Network Advocacy

Advocacy is defined as: ‘the public support for the interests of someone or a group of people.’

An ideal network is made up of people you can advocate for, and who advocate for you. The key to creating these kinds of networking groups is to build relationships based on knowing, liking & trusting. 

People you know, like and trust are those you have regular communication with, shared understanding, alignment of values, good rapport, and integrity.  

With this foundation, you are willing to advocate for people in your network, and they in turn are willing to advocate for you. Advocacy is an intentional act — you go out of your way to do it. 

Developing a strong network in this way takes time, commitment and generosity. It has nothing in common with the transactional method most business books recommend. 

You may never receive anything directly from some people in your network. That’s ok. It’s the connectedness of a network that makes it special. Being able to contribute and help people in your network is as important as receiving help. 

Types of Networking In Entrepreneurship

There are many different types of networking opportunities available to entrepreneurs, including:

In-person entrepreneur networking events

Many cities and towns host regular events for entrepreneurs and small business owners. These events are valuable to connect with other entrepreneurs and potential customers and partners.

Industry groups and associations

Joining industry groups and associations can provide entrepreneurs with important opportunities as well as industry knowledge and expertise.

Social networking services

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can provide the ability to connect with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals from around the world.

Rules of Networking

Give First

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” — Keith Ferrazzi

Building a strong network is not about what you can ‘get’ from someone. You’ve all been approached in the past by someone that seemed a little ‘off’ to you. Chances are, that person was angling to get something from you – in the form of a referral, introduction, investment, or other favour. They’re putting the transaction first and most likely got in the way of you connecting with them.  

To network successfully, you put the long term relationship with that person first. Truly get to know them, with the purpose of being able to help them advance towards their goals. 

This approach builds a solid relationship based on trust and integrity. When you look after the relationship first, good things naturally flow from that.  

Don’t Keep Score

“The most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed.” — Adam Grant

Building a network is not about transactional ‘quid pro quo’ exchanges. The first thing to give up when you commit to building a valuable network is the practice of keeping score. 

Many of the most accomplished networkers in the business world, (like Adam Grant, Keith Ferrazzi and Jayson Gaignard,) focus solely on what they can do to help others succeed. This generosity comes back to them in unexpected ways, and their network (and net worth) continues to grow. 

This is especially true in the entrepreneurial world, where business introductions, recommendations and shared knowledge can be priceless, and lead to accelerated business growth. 

Integrity & Protecting Your Network

“When you hit rock bottom you’ll be left with two things: your word and the integrity of your word, and your network. So never tarnish your word, and always invest in your network.” Jayson Gaignard

It’s important to protect your network. This means carefully vetting all the people you connect to and introduce. Make sure you only fill your social network with people who do the things they say they will do. 

Keeping this rule means your recommendation will carry a lot of weight. Your network will know you only recommend high-integrity individuals.  

Over time, this approach will make you part of a very valuable ecosystem. There’s a follow-on effect – people will trust you with their connections, thus growing your network.

Why is Networking Important for Entrepreneurs?

Effective networking is an important skill for successful entrepreneurs. It can open doors and create amazing opportunities for investment, clients, and growth. Through your network you can meet mentors, future employees, advisers, and industry insiders who may advocate for you to other dealmakers. 

You may also get the opportunity to become an investor, adviser, or business networking coach yourself. 

The other side of a great network is it raises the quality of your life. Building and investing in your network means you’re having great interactions with people you genuinely care about. 

You’re cultivating & growing relationships with people who have a different outlook, culture background, skillset and knowledge base. The fastest way to learn and grow is from others, through your network.

Building your Entrepreneurial Network

The first question to ask when connecting with someone is: how can I help you? Even very accomplished entrepreneurs may have kids starting off in business you can help, or there may be matters outside of business you are far more accomplished than them at. 

When it comes to approaching someone who’s more experienced than you in a certain field, ask for advice rather than a favour. Then show you actually took that advice, and share your results. 

For someone who’s in a position to be a mentor, seeing that you took their advice and benefitted is often the most satisfying part of them helping you. Showing your results makes them far more likely to help you in the future. 

Summary: Why is Networking Important for Entrepreneurs?

Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of the question why is networking important for entrepreneurs. Networking is a crucial aspect of any business strategy and it is important for entrepreneurs to prioritize it in order to grow their businesses.

Networking can provide entrepreneurs with valuable resources, support and opportunities that can help them succeed. Entrepreneurs who are willing to invest time and effort into building a network will see the benefits in the long run.

ABA has programs to advance your skills in this area. If you want to learn more, click here to book a free discovery session.

Additional Resources & Guidelines

If you want to further improve your networking skills, consider researching Business Network International (BNI) which is a global organization that provides opportunities for young entrepreneurs network and business owners.

There are also many books and articles available online that provide in-depth information on network entrepreneur examples and the importance of networking in entrepreneurship (see more: networking in entrepreneurship ppt & importance of networking in entrepreneurship pdf)

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