In working with Startup business incubator tenants, I find the number one benefit they constantly cite as being critical to their business is “the network.” Again and again, it’s about the network. Who you know, and who they know… that you should know.
Here’s why you need to focus on building and maintaining a network as a priority to your business:
1. Your network can sharpen your ideas. Sure, you may have an opportunity for XYZ market, but have you considered ABC? No…? Oops. Whether it’s avoiding failure or learning a doubly-effective spin to what you’re already doing, these things sometimes are best revealed through other perspectives and hashing things out with different minds. Getting a close network of trusted colleagues in a format such as a CEO round-table can also prevent the “it’s lonely at the top” rut.
2. Your network increases your network. The more you network, the more your network works for you. LinkedIn proves this by quantifying how many are in your network based on your connections, a number that is exponentially larger than your actual connections. Make a point to meet people in different industries and in different stages of business, and
your network will continue to grow.
3. It makes you visible. When people know you, they are more likely to refer to you. They reach out to you when an opportunity arises. This is an impact to your bottom line, and one ROI of building and maintaining your network.
Closing words: The great thing is, most communities have established networks available for business owners to plug into to start building those relationships. Whether a small business council, a CEO round-table, or an informal meet-up group, it’s worth doing your homework on the networks in your community to find out what’s right at your fingertips.
Content contributed by Jessica Flint, SourceLink Tulsa. SourceLink Tulsa is a proud affiliate of U.S.SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.