This article is written by Milambo Kabeleka, a Contributor Author at Startup Turkey.
Nazareno Mario Ciccarello is a passionate entrepreneur, international business developer for various industries, world traveler & former professional athlete. He was present at Startup Turkey where he gave insight on how networking can be done for better value
Almost every entrepreneur has heard this word mentioned over and over; Networking. Some people have even had successful and unsuccessful attempts at it. Networking is indeed key to the success of a startup.
One may think having over 10000 Facebook friends or 5000 LinkedIn connections and trading business cards is all it takes to network, but no, it takes some patience and fast thinking to know how to network the right way, to make sure you make the most of it.
Like any other relationship, think about what you can offer to your network, it is not about asking but more about offering them opportunity, building networks, and maintaining it and keeping.
As much as pitching your business is the most natural way to approach people when networking, the most effective way is to listen, think and then talk, paying attention to what the other person is saying, allowing you to fine tune your pitch to suit your new found connection. Be a fast thinker and adapt while you grow your network.
For the shy entrepreneur, you can always start with your circle of friends; they are the best people to vouch for you and will help you grow your network through introductions to your potential clients. Start to effectively build your network today. For people that say they are too busy, nobody is too busy to network. Start by including networking activities in your weekly and monthly agenda, make time to meet people and grow your network. They don’t have to be big events, even a simple chat with your friends could get you an introduction to some connections. It will take a while as the results are not instant. It might even take up to two years, before someone in your network can bring you some business or can help you get a job. The key is to be patient and stay focused.
One might ask how you go about building a network. Knowing, liking and trusting are the fundamental things that must co-exist within the network. Be empathetic, and show interest. It doesn’t hurt to research your desired network, Google them, find out their interests and connect. The other key to effective networking is to follow up quickly, not too quickly that they feel as though they are being stalked. Be professional and stay in touch, all the while, being patient and focused.
Networking is way more about reconnecting than the initial introduction. Ask yourself why you will want to reconnect with a particular contact. Write a note to remember the person and why you will want to reconnect.
Social media, has made it easy to keep track of people, but do not just rely on Whatsapp or Linkedin for communication, make an effort to call and email them. Reach out and keep them posted on your business growth. Of course it may take a while before you reap the benefits of your networking, and that is why to top it all off, the entrepreneur should have a good level of Perseverance as well as Passion.