How to Network as a New Entrepreneur
Deciding to follow your passion and become an entrepreneur is no easy feat. One common hurdle new entrepreneurs face is a lack of resources—whether it be funding, marketing, customers, etc. While these are legitimate concerns, an often overlooked advantage startups have are their personal and professional networks. By tapping into your network, you’d be surprised by the amount of knowledge you can gain and resources you can acquire.
First, develop a strategy describing how you plan on pitching your business (and your needs) to your network. Make it clear what you’re asking of them and how it will benefit them and help your venture. If they are going to be investing in you, they’re probably going to want to stay in-the-know with your progress. Using an email newsletter program like MailChimp makes it really easy to organize email newsletters and capture customers (or investors!) email addresses. Once you set up your campaign and hit send, MailChimp automatically sends you reports on important metrics to keep your subscriber list strong.
Once you’ve developed your pitch, the easiest way to access your network would most likely be through social media. LinkedIn is the dominant player in professional networking online, so chances are your network will be receptive to your pitch. Pro tip: make sure to start a natural conversation with your prospects before you dive into your pitch. They might need time to warm up to the conversation and might not be ready to talk business right away. Ask them if they would be interested in setting up a phone call or Zoom meeting that gives you both a chance to focus on your pitch. Also, be sure to follow up with any receptive prospect to ensure they know that you appreciate their time.
After you’ve connected with your network on LinkedIn, get involved with your local community! See if there are any local chambers of commerce you can connect with or non-profits that can help connect you to the right people. After all, it’s not what you know—but who you know!
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