Business is very people oriented by The Net-worker
Business is very people oriented. Deals get made by people, one by one. In order to be a successful entrepreneur you therefore need a good personal network of people that range from other entrepreneurs, advisors, lawyers, potential customers and suppliers to potential partners and investors. The founders really need a good external network to leverage the company off the ground and to build initial momentum. Success depends on what you know and who you know. Who you know is extremely important, because it is the leverage of your work. The people you know will leverage your work, because of the network you will get information which otherwise you would not or only later hear about. You will get introductions and thus will get into doors more easily, and you will just have a huge pool of resources for help and advice when needed. That is what networking is really about. It is trying to put together the things that you know with people that you know and connecting resources.
Success depends on what you know and who you know. Who you know is the leverage of what you know. Thus the network is the leverage of your work.
Therefore if you want to become a successful entrepreneur you need to go and build a network. Networking does not hurt, networking is helping other people and getting help from other people. It is not a one-way street. You figure out whom you can be useful to, and who can be useful to you.
Eventually through networking you will be able to build up a critical support infrastructure which consists of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, lawyers and customers which will be critical to leverage your work. The cocktail party is for a startup nothing else but a replacement for the corporate infrastructure. There you have a number of people around you with whom you can talk about problems which your company is facing and whom you can ask for advice and concrete help.
Before you start doing something you should always figure out who can help you. If you do not know that person, think about who you know who could help you with an introduction. We started calling everybody we knew that had anything to do. Because no matter if it is about a contact to a potential customer or a contact to a potential investor, it is all about trust. And having a good network behind you, provides you with the necessary, initial credibility. Also your network can be a very important source of information. There is too much data to absorb
yourself. The key is filtering the data. You do that by sharing your insights with other people in your network. In Silicon Valley often even your competitors are part of your network with whom you exchange information.
Since networking is the most important leverage for your work we want to give advice from the people who did it on how to build such a network:
The most important thing is to be useful to people:
Because once you helped them, people will refer other people on to you. Networking is really a word-of-mouth dominated thing: If you help me, I in turn say you should visit him, because he can help you or he knows somebody who can help you. Also, actively find out people who you could be useful to and eventually you will get the favor repaid. Look wherever value can be mutually created. Help other people achieve their objective. That is what makes networking a fun thing.
Try to be as useful as possible to whoever you meet. Then other people will refer other people to you. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Actively suggest that two people meet each other:
If you say to somebody that he should meet this person, it can be helpful to the people and to you as a net-worker. Because if only one of the people you suggested is very useful, this will tremendously increase your reputation as a network-er.
Actively suggest that two people meet each other
Actively make it your business to meet people:
Identify the people you want to meet. Figure out who you want to know whether they are engineers, inventors, CEOs, executives of companies, or other people. If you found somebody who you think is doing something interesting, take him to lunch, take him to breakfast, take him to a coffee, have drinks with him, whatever. Find the people at conferences that are interesting for you and set up a dinner. At parties and events you should be very gregarious, you should speak to everybody and know everybody. Get out there and get known and be social about things, but do not worry too much about whether you are going to do a deal later on or not. Not everybody becomes a good contact. Be a naturally social person.
Try to get into industry functions:
You should try to get into industry standards setting groups or get involved in the public sector side of the industry you are in. This involvement in industry functions and industry groups will lead to important contacts.
Run events and activities:
You should host parties and events. Both parties that are oriented towards certain topics and fun parties. You should organize events like a “Technology Breakfast Series”, “Entrepreneurship Meetings”, “Breakfast with the Stars”, all kinds of events that bring together interesting people. These events are a tremendous opportunity to get to know interesting people and to get a first contact with people. Because running these events is a great excuse for you to call somebody up or send an email and say “Look, we are running this event, we hope to see you there. Will you come?” And they will say : “What is it about?” And then you have the first contact with this person. If you host these kinds of events, people will get to know you. And they will identify you with a certain topic, for instance entrepreneurship, and refer other people to you for that topic. Therefore when running these events you should be extremely visible doing that. You really need to sell it to everybody. A lot of people out there should get to know you, especially if it is an event you can be nice with to other people, that means an event that other people are happy to participate in and are glad to be invited. Be essentially nice to everybody.
Remember people’s names and faces:
The ability to remember who they are and to know things like their wife’s name, the number of kids, the school they went to, etc. is a very useful tool to be a good network-er. Because even if you have met a person only one time and the person hardly remembers you, you can address this person and gain intimacy because you remember things about them.
Have a really good personal contact data base:
All in all, you should be helpful and useful to people, you should identify who the interesting people are and actively go out and meet them, and you should get involved in industry functions and run events and activities and be very visible in them. You need to
work on your network every day. A reputation for networking is after all beyond oneself. It is other people saying this, and after a while it becomes true. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore be useful to people, so that they go out and tell this to other people.