Strength in Numbers
Our work with entrepreneurs around the globe has made one thing clear: most new or young entrepreneurs are hungry for a network of professionals with which to share insights and stories, grow their knowledge and understanding, and garner support for their work.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs too often feel isolated and lonely, and their embrace of technology may not be helping.
Despite the ubiquity of technology and social media, building a network happens in person, face to face, in rooms, around tables, over coffee.
Building a network requires building relationships. Building relationships requires connection and vulnerability. New or young entrepreneurs may not fully grasp this. The internet, texting, and email can bolster established relationships. But they are not, by themselves, the means to forge and strengthen the type of relationships entrepreneurs crave and rely upon.
The good news is that there are people and places in most areas in which the networking, learning, and support entrepreneurs crave exist and are readily available. Co-working spaces, organizations such as business incubators or accelerators, and networking events are a great place to start.
Though entrepreneurs work in varying industries and come from diverse backgrounds, their shared challenges and opportunities enable new or young entrepreneurs to fit in and contribute.
Check out your local Chamber of Commerce, and other community organizations. Attend national or international trade shows. And remember, connections and relationships don’t happen overnight. You must be willing to give the help, support, and friendship you seek if you wish to eliminate entrepreneurial isolation for yourself.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- What have you done to increase your network?
- How have leveraged the network you have to improve your business?
- What advice can you offer to others about networking?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem ventures.