Just as man cannot stay in isolation, similarly a start-up or any business for that matter cannot stay cooped in a well and think about prospering.

Just as man needs to have friends and relationships to sustain him/her, to live and lead a normal life and to prosper health, wealth & family wise similarly a start-up or a business needs to talk to and be associated with likeminded people and organisations, be it in the form of customers, or even competitors to grow.

It is here that Networking for a start-up or a business plays a major role.

Networking for a start-up, simply put is where the Firm/ Founders/ Co-Founders etc. connect and build long-time relations with various people and organisations, who at some point of time in the near/ distant future, will be able to support the firm directly or indirectly either as mentors or investors or as clients etc.

Networking is a very important instrument for start-ups to succeed in their venture. Start-up founders should understand that networking cannot be achieved overnight. One has to invest a lot of time, effort and energy in building relationships that will last a lifetime. For example is an individual wants to enter the field of EduTech., he/she has to understand the needs of the market, probably teach groups of individuals who are his/her reference points, provide a lending hand to the society wherever/whenever needed, talk to investors working in similar areas and communicate properly the message to friends and relatives about the critical and much needed changes he/she is bringing about in the area. If this process is done diligently for over a period of time, that individual will not only have the society asking for her start-up, but also all the other support systems will be in place.

So, then what are the benefits of Networking like –

  1. Through networking, you are able to bounce your ideas and thus one gets to know it’s viability. If at the initial stage you get the feeling that it’s not going to work, any which way, its better to drop the idea.
  2. Networking helps to channelize ideas into the right path, be it through new ideas, information or strategies
  3. Networking, helps you to get mentors in your field of work. When one has an idea, but is unaware as to how to implement the same, networking helps you to locate mentors and guides to help you convert your ideas to reality.
  4. Networking, helps you to attract investors. Once your idea starts to fructify, investors through their talent scouts will approach you. If the deal goes through, it is imperative that a healthy working relationship is maintained, keeping the co’s future prospects in mind.
  5. Networking, helps to attract customers. If your product/ service is good and you are able to reach the go-to market, and build relationships with corporates/ institutions (in case to B2B), with customers (in case of B2C) etc. it will auger well for your start-up. But here one must remember, that whoever you meet will not be a potential customer. Often, the trust factor and goodwill of the start-up will lead to referral deals. For example if a start-up is manufacturing cutting edge, low cost microscopes and it gifts a couple of such instruments to an educational institute with fund issues, the goodwill it creates is unmeasurable. Probably, when the institute is able to solve its funding issues, it is bound to approach the start-up with a hefty order along with the much needed funds.
  6. Networking helps you to build a strong network. For any start-up or business have a base of go to professionals is very important. Be it for sales or marketing, channel partners or advisors, contacts at every level helps.
  7. Networking, most importantly helps in building human relationships and bonds. If your networking is strong, then human bonds are there to support you, not only in terms of your work but help you in your personal life, too.

But, having said all this, how does one take proceed with the networking process.

a. What’s your aim?

You must ask yourself and understand the purpose of your networking. Do you intend to network for collaborations, for talent/ customer acquisition or for funding? Aim clarity helps to justify the need for networking.

b. Networking Team

Before you join a networking group, you should read and learn the basics about them. If it’s a free or a paid platform, who all are its members, how does the group work, if they have helped someone, have a talk with them.

c. Don’t sit idle

When you have entered a networking group which aligns to your thought process, talk to the members, take the best advice and also provide the same to the best of your abilities.

d. Advantage Networking.

Start-ups and their founders must take advantage of the enormous reach of the internet and thereby massively use platforms like X, Linkedin, facebook and Instagram to propagate the start-ups’ philosophy, products/services etc. They must attend networking seminars, conferences in educational institutes, and trade shows to be more visible.

The Workings of Networking

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