Networking: What is it good for?
If you're an extroverted chatter-box and certified ENFP on the Myers-Briggs, you probably love the idea of networking. Meeting new people and forming connections is right up your alley, and the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and making friends is your definition of a good time.
For those who don't share that same level of enthusiasm, the idea of networking is walking into a room full of strangers - but completely naked. It's uncomfortable at best, and if they had to choose between meeting new people and watching an entire season of The Bachelor, they'd give their rose to the latter.
But whether you love it or loathe it, networking is a fundamental part of being a successful business owner.
Entrepreneurship is often a solo endeavor. The predisposition to be self-reliant and self-sufficient reigns supreme. They keep their heads down, stay focused on the task at hand, and have lofty goals they intend to achieve.
That all serves an important purpose. You have to have that grit and drive; it's the essence of what makes an entrepreneur…an entrepreneur. But as the saying goes, "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." And that's what networking is. It's tapping into a resource of ideas and connections that will help you reach those goals more quickly and efficiently.
Still not convinced? Here are five reasons that say otherwise.
"I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people's efforts than 100% of my own efforts."
- John D. Rockefeller
Who are we to turn our noses up at the advice of one of the wealthiest Americans of all time? John was all about that work-smarter-not-harder lifestyle, and we wholeheartedly agree. Being part of a network can help you learn from others' mistakes (saving you valuable time and money) while also learning what it takes to be successful.
If you're trying to build your business's reputation, brand, influence, or reach - you gotta put yourself out there. Networking gets you in front of potential partners, stakeholders, and investors who are also high-achievers and likely to be more aligned with your goals.
Don't get left behind; networking with others who are in the same industry will help you stay up to date with the latest and newest trends and developments.
You may not be looking for anything right now, but a strong network can come in handy down the road if you are looking to make a career move, have a start-up idea, or want to sell your business. And because you can't one-click-order a network, you need time to build those connections and relationships. Start now; your future self will thank you.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are navigating a similar path is invaluable. If you want A-level results, you have to surround yourself with A-level players. Who you keep company with can make or break you. Being part of a network aligned with your goals will challenge you, hold you accountable, and motivate you to do and be better. Remember, iron sharpens iron.
Networking might feel intimidating, but remember, at the of the day, it's really about relationships. Don't overcomplicate it. Don't overthink it. Resist the temptation to stick your head in the sand and try to do it all on your own; step outside your comfort zone and start building your network, one connection at a time.