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Three Networking Mistakes First-Time Entrepreneurs Make

Networking really matters when it comes to creating a memorable impression not only of your business, but also of yourself as an entrepreneur, in front of many people, who are part of the international entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In my life, I had the opportunity to meet with many talented entrepreneurs, who knew how to present well their startups in front of everyone: from the investors through the customers to the press. But there are some interesting patterns, which I started to notice among mostly young first-time entrepreneurs.

In this article I’ve summarized the top three networking mistakes most of the first-time entrepreneurs make and emphasized on the effect these mistakes can create for the future of these startups.

Many first-time entrepreneurs easily cross the almost invisible line between confidence and arrogance.

Being confident is awesome! It is a sign that the entrepreneurs value the work they do and believe in their products or services. But having a great business start does not mean that they have to underestimate the competition, to forget that they must learn and grow along their way to building an impactful company.

As a first-time entrepreneur you are just in the beginning of your venture and no number of books that you read can give you the knowledge, which the experience will give you. Just because you have received seed funding does not mean that you are done. There is a hard way in front of you and with the wrong attitude you are most likely to make that way very, very short.

Networking is not a joke.

Many of the first-time entrepreneurs forget that the key to success most of the time relies on the art of embracing every opportunity. In most of the events, there is one group of entrepreneurs that tends to forget why they are there and let the time pass in jokes, coffee breaks and chit-chats. There is nothing wrong about chit-chats, just make sure that you have taken 100% of the opportunities that you were able to take from the event besides the endless coffee breaks.

Value your time and the time of others when it comes to networking. Most of the networking events bring amazing opportunities and you should be able to take the chance and make it work for you. There are special places where you can have fun with fellow entrepreneurs, so it is important to learn how to make the right judgment.

Do not annoy the investors.

Many young entrepreneurs try to impress the investors by chasing them around the halls and making short pitches, while walking around them along with five other entrepreneurs. Do not expect the investor to take out their check book and write you a check for 100k just after a short talk in the hallway. There is time and place for everything and seeking investment or connection just after two short minutes of a conversation is not only unrealistic, but also unprofessional and disrespectful.

There are many super talented natural born entrepreneurs who manage to create companies of a great value and still succeed to establish awesome networking skills. Nobody says that you should be the networking master from the first event you attend, but there are some main points and lines that should not be crossed. In the end, you work for the people, for your customers and you should be able to bring great value to them and to the people who believe in you. Take this seriously and you will have many more great achievements ahead of you.

─ October 7, 2015