As an aspiring solopreneur, you need all the help you can get. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only around 50% of businesses will survive more than five years. One of the best ways to improve your odds of success is to get to know the right people.
For this, you need to network. Beginning now will give you a head start when you are ready to open your business. Solopreneur Grind presents some tips that will help you on your way.
Why Networking Is Important
As the old saying goes: It’s not what you know but who you know. While this may be a little hyperbolic, there is some truth to it. Networking can help you with your business aspirations in a variety of ways.
These are some of the ways that meeting other professionals can help a startup:
- Possible partners: If you want a co-founder to work with, networking can be a great way to meet some other aspiring solopreneurs. This also applies to strategic partnerships with other businesses.
- Prospective customers: When networking, you may meet potential future customers. You can establish a relationship or even learn more about how you can satisfy real market needs.
- Investors: In some cases, you may even find someone who is interested in financing your business. You’ll have to go through pitching and due diligence, but getting a connection can be invaluable.
- Community involvement and visibility: Becoming a more visible member of the local business community can yield many benefits. Networking is a great way to become a known quantity. It can lead to referrals and more.
- Practice pitching: As an solopreneur, you will have to sell a lot of people on your business. Investors, customers, partners, and others will want to hear your pitch. Networking can help you practice giving your elevator pitch.
Networking Over the Internet
You can do a surprising amount of networking over the internet. Sometimes this will be direct; you can “cold call” people with an email if their address is publicly listed. This may not always yield the best results, but if you can offer a good reason to get to know each other, it can work.
Additionally, you can use social media websites. LinkedIn is designed specifically for professional networking. Other websites such as Twitter and Facebook can also be useful for networking as a solopreneur if you join the right conversations.
In some cases, there are even digital networking events held over platforms such as Zoom. Learning to master online networking can be very beneficial, especially in places or at times when in-person networking is challenging.
Attending In-Person Events
Of course, the traditional method of professional networking for solopreneurs is to go to in-person events. Striking up a conversation with the right person can help you to realize all the benefits listed above and maybe even find a mentor.
Although some people are networking naturals, a lot of aspiring solopreneurs find the experience a little uncomfortable at first. Fortunately, a few basic tips can help you to become a master. Arguably, the two most important are to make sure you are always meeting new people and to spend a lot of time listening and asking questions. Just by following those rules, you will be on the right path.
If you decide to attend in-person events and hand out business cards, spend some time creating a logo that will grab people’s attention. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a graphic designer to make this happen; you can use a free logo maker, for example, to create a noteworthy logo using pre-made templates. This way, people will remember you by your business name and its logo.
Get Started Networking for Your Business’s Success
Discover more about networking today. The sooner you start meeting new people, the better off you will be to achieve success for your business.
Chelsea Lamb has spent the last eight years honing her tech skills and is the resident tech specialist at Business Pop. Her goal is to demystify some of the technical aspects of business ownership.