Tips for Building an Entrepreneurial Network
No matter what type of business you have, if you are the CEO or sole proprietor, you can begin to feel a bit lonely. However, whether you are the head of a large company or you work in your pajamas from the kitchen table, you can build a strong network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Your network will serve to provide mutual support, problem solving and comradery. These are tips for building your network.
Take Advantage of Local Events
A great way to grow your local network is to be involved in local events with other small businesses. You can help plan, volunteer or just attend these events. They may be organized by the local small business association, chamber of commerce or other agency, but they will typically be attended by numerous small business owners. Through these events, you will have opportunities to get to know other entrepreneurs in your area. As your business grows, this network may become vital, but your participation should be enthusiastic and generous.
Most industries have dedicated professional organizations. You should consider joining a few of your industry organizations because you will be communicating with local, statewide, regional, national and even international business owners in your field. Be careful about the associations you join, and choose those that best fit your goals and interests. Although a membership fee may be required, your benefits should far outweigh any initial outlay. You will also find value in attending the annual conferences held by these groups. They will give you incredible opportunities to meet with and further develop relationships with entrepreneurs in your industry.
Become a Mentor
Any time you can volunteer to help others, your brand and reputation get a boost, but this shouldn’t be your only reason for becoming a mentor. If you have skills and knowledge that are useful to others, you can build positive connections by helping them. You never know, the young people you mentor may end up being key parts of your organization or may build great partner organizations down the road. Several organizations, including the Small Business Administration, offer mentorship programs. These associations simply hook you up with your mentees. You can also participate in workshops, coaching sessions and seminars that are held in person, online and over the phone.
As you begin to reach out and develop your network, you will find incredible benefits that will have you searching for ways to continually expand this group. Therefore, move past your initial fear or resistance to change and start building. Your team awaits.