Why "Networking" is a must for budding entrepreneurs?
Business and networking go hand in hand. Networking is a skill that budding entrepreneurs must learn. Many entrepreneurs have great products and ideas, but they fail to market them or increase their brand’s visibility in the right capacity. With networking, they can spot the right opportunities and generate leads or source referrals to boost their business.
Apart from finding suitable opportunities, networking stimulates creativity in you. Like it does for Ayesha Patnaik, a Bangalore based handcrafted jewellery designer who is planning to launch her e - commerce shop soon. She says, “In my kind of business, it is very important to come up with innovative designs to stay ahead of peers. The more I interact with creative professionals, the more spark my creativity gets. And, that means more number of clients who want to buy jewellery from me.”
When you start networking more, you understand what people think about your business and you as an entrepreneur. You get a first hand insight into things you need to do to improve your product or attitude. If required, you can even build a mentor group within your network to seek guidance before you take any new business decision. There are entrepreneurs who tap networks to get tips on bouncing of business ideas, preparing a business plan, making investor speech, pooling resources or even scaling up the business.
This may sound strange but networking can help you get out of the hole too! If you have committed a mistake or are at a complete loss as to how to cover it up, networking can come to your rescue. “Once, I completely blundered on the spelling of a client’s name on the cake. With only two hours remaining for delivery, I posted an ‘SOS’ message in my local cake makers’ group. To my surprise, a fellow cake maker knocked on my door within 30 minutes and she helped me to rectify the mistake and deliver the cake to the client on time,” recollects Farah Dastoorji, an IT professional turned dessert shop owner in Pune.
Then, there are some entrepreneurs like Meena Kapoor, CEO of astroyogi.com, who want to chill out with like-minded people after work. She is a member of Women in Business Network in New Delhi, and says, “While being a woman has not stopped me from running my business, I definitely miss out on the benefits of networking after office hours.” This way she ensures that she is not excluded from the opportunities generated from informal business chats.