How important is it to build a business network for startups?
Updated: Oct 10
Ever wondered if attending X conference was worth it?
People tend to underestimate the power of networking at the beginning of a startup journey. Almost no one understands why it is important since this activity is not as tangible as others might be. Networking is important: this is something everyone agrees on, but almost nobody can actually feel it.
Founders meet lots of people in the first years of their journey, without keeping in contact with any of them. Building a business network is essential because even if you might not need someone’s help now, we’re 99% sure you will. Networking can help entrepreneurs expand their business, close a new deal, or find new partners.
This is why in this blog post we will tell you about our networking story, which also proves why it really matters.
Should I really start networking?
Startup networking has been around for ages. We are social beings, and we constantly need to be in contact with others, have a conversation, and connect on a personal level. Word-of-mouth spreads faster than ever and networking can definitely help you with it.
Having the right human connections will play a big role in helping your startup take off and survive in the market. The more quality connections you are able to make (and maintain), the more likely your business is to be mentioned to another audience.
"I can't really measure the returns on investment of networking. Should I even invest my time in it?"
Hands down, the only answer to this question is YES.
Many founders wonder why is important to grow your network if it doesn't generate immediate results and the returns can't be tracked that easily. However, networking does have a positive impact on a startup.
To realize the power of startup networking, patience is key.
Setting up a business network takes time and dedication. This means you should engage with your network on a regular basis to stay connected. The real power of networking lies in the contacts and connections you are able to make and maintain, and in order to accomplish that, the best way is to offer everyone your support and help - even if just moral.
The power of networking for startups: Digithy’s example
Digithy was founded 2 years ago, little did we know that two months later a global pandemic would force almost every business to change plans. We already had 2 clients at the beginning of our journey, and they also had to take a step back and think about what they should be doing next - as every business did. Many businesses didn't dare to push on marketing in those uncertain times. This made our start a little bumpier.
We flipped the situation and decided to help businesses by offering free consultations. Our resources and time were invested in building a business network. By doing this, we helped spread brand awareness and when other companies were ready to start investing money into marketing, we were the company on top of their minds.
Tips for building a business network
1. Attend webinars or events
In-person webinars are one of the best methods to meet new people who share an interest in a determined topic. This allows you to gather information about your industry and make new connections with like-minded people. Events or webinars are the perfect places to find new clients, partners, or investors.
2. Don't be afraid to give your opinion on social media
Putting yourself on the line can be extremely hard, especially if you are an introvert. However, it is a good way to stay in touch with people you already met, and reach new audiences. It will also allow you to become known and connect on a more personal level, which is essential for building relationships. You can also try joining online communities: becoming an active member of a community will draw attention to your business and increase the chances of getting a new business.
3. Focus on building relations
For networking to be effective, it’s not enough to meet someone new. You need to maintain and nurture relationships. Go the extra mile and follow up with the people you just met. This doesn't mean you have to talk about a business only, just continue a conversation you started previously, or follow up on a post comment.
If you are having issues to start networking check out these 3 apps for active business networking.
Setting up a business network is crucial at the beginning of your startup journey. It can help you go from new to seasoned professional. Have patience and invest your time and energy in networking. Even if results won't show up from day one, we are sure that many benefits will come from it. Connect with other founders, be proactive and look for the right community to join or event to participate in. This will give you a good start to your networking journey.