If you follow social media gurus it’s impossible to not hear ‘network, network, network…’ shoved down your throat on a daily basis. But why is networking so important, and how do you do it?
After three years of successfully and unsuccessfully running businesses, building relationships with people in similar fields and also networking throughout my industries, it has been the single-handed best investment I’ve made in my career to date.
Also read: Building a business at uni with just $20
Here are three reasons why you should focus a little more of your time showing your face and shaking hands than locked in an office in front of a computer.
1. Networking helps you climb the relationship food chain
When I was a 19-year-old bushy-tailed entrepreneur I always wanted to meet influencers to work with on ecommerce ventures, except I was a nobody and getting the attention of someone with a million followers… was a painful experience.
However, a lucky Instagram direct message one day saw me having coffee with someone very well-versed in the creator scene in Australia who wanted to talk about their ecommerce project.
As the meeting went on, I learnt this person struggled a lot with website design which happened to be one of my biggest strengths at the time. I offered to do some quick touch ups to the site on the spot and it led to me spending the next three hours rebuilding the entire website.
I left that meeting with these words, “If you ever need a hand with anything or an introduction to anyone, let me know”.
Now two years later that has stayed true and some of my biggest business partnerships and friendships have come from introductions made by that same person. It’s funny to think about the branch effect of a single action.
The law of reciprocity is a powerful thing, and definitely something most new entrepreneurs looking to get their feet wet should learn.
2. Networking helps you build new business partnerships
Some of the greatest business minds I've met aren’t necessarily creative geniuses or freaks of nature; they just share one skill in common: puzzle solving.
When constructing a new business idea, especially one that requires assistance from multiple industries, the power of networking is your best friend.
If I wanted to launch a clothing brand or engineer my own product, if I have a friend that’s an engineer or works in manufacturing that’s a value add. If I have a friend that works in social media advertising or at an agency that’s also a value add.
The best entrepreneurs know what they don’t know and find people who are experts in those fields to solve these problems for them.
3. Networking helps your contingency planning
For those who aren’t familiar, a contingency plan is essentially a fail safe in the event of an incident.
Everyone runs into trouble, business ideas crash or uncontrollable variables come knocking. The best contingency plan to solve your problems, second to a giant pile of cash is having relationships with people.
The amount of times having an accountant or lawyer friend has saved me a future headache is uncountable.
Now the only problem you need to solve is which bar these people hang out at after work.