Relationship building is critical to building a successful startup and networking is the fundamental tool to kick off. For graduates who are still an applicant, you could land yourself a decent job if you network well.
In simple terms, networking is the act of meeting new people in a business or social context. This is the simplest definition ever, and what you have been told over the years.
Ironically, I recently saw a write-up titled “Networking means you’re looking to use people to achieve selfish goals, or opportunistically ask people for help” This sounds a bit absurd but in reality that is what it means.
It is almost impossible to get into decent jobs anymore without doing a bit of networking. But the problem is that a lot of the networking I see taking place whether in the church or other social or business gatherings are for personal gains.
As a startup, you need to surround yourself with industry contemporaries who could be helpful to your business. Some entrepreneurs probably go as far as changing their religious denominations if they have the opportunity to meet with the Minister.
Some school of thought believe that with networking, people become objects, tools for our use and you always seek out the higher class, and when it seems like nothing can be gotten, we get disappointed are quick to condemn.
What’s wrong with going to a networking event to find new connections, new business or possibly better job? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? But the truth remains that nobody likes suckers or job seekers at networking events. You must always have value to offer, and your value proposition should be your instrument of networking with people at events.
Good startups go to networking events to find interesting people, business partners, and entrepreneurs. They want to find new business relationships and new contacts to help them with their business. If you are not doing any of these as an entrepreneur or startup, there is every tendency that your conversation is going to fizzle
The Best Way to Network
Don’t appear needy. You should concentrate on building strong relationships with professionals in your industry. Do this by focusing on how you can be helpful to that person and not how they can be valuable to you. When approaching someone at a networking event, come with the mindset of assisting that person. Ask that person about their business and how they got started. Stay engaged and interested.
You’re more likely to be remembered by genuinely listening than if you throw them additional sales or job pitches. If possible, volunteer your time. Your new connection may need extra help and put yourself out there as a resource will be remembered. However, don’t do this if you keep a tight schedule.
It will reflect poorly on you if they call you up and you have to say no. An honest inability to commit may come across as an excuse. Let’s try to network in the right way, void of selfishness and see how better things would become.