Running a startup is no less than a roller coaster ride for entrepreneurs, with numerous ups, downs, twists, and turns.

To make it in the business world, you need to network. If you’re unsure how to do that, there is no need to worry. We’re here with a detailed blog on networking – a sure-shot strategy to help your entrepreneurial venture grow and succeed.

What Is Business Networking?

Business networking refers to building and cultivating professional relationships with other individuals and organizations in the business world, including customers, suppliers, employees, mentors, investors, etc. These relationships are mutually beneficial for both parties.

Benefits of Business Networking

Interacting and engaging with other professionals in the industry can yield significant results, especially if you’re a small business startup just finding your feet in the industry.

Most importantly, it helps you generate more leads, customers, and opportunities for your business. You can find potential vendors, partners, and employees through networking to help run and expand your business.

Networking allows you to share your skills and knowledge to help others and demonstrate your expertise. The more you help others, the stronger your relationships and reputation become in the industry.

Plus, the people in your network can also help you face the challenges in your business, either by providing resources or offering advice. You can also learn from the experiences of others and discover ways to solve problems yourself.

The ever-changing business environment is another factor that makes networking essential for startups. You can grab lucrative business opportunities and stay ahead of the curve only if you stay updated about the changes that impact your firm.

Networking with others in the industry allows you to detect and learn about the latest developments in the industry and take appropriate measures to make the most out of them.

A major benefit of networking with others is that it builds your confidence. Having enough confidence in your abilities and ideas fosters personal growth and helps you perform better in your role as an entrepreneur and lead your team more efficiently.

However, networking requires time, effort, and a willingness to engage with others. Hence, a clear goal and strategy is crucial when pursuing networking opportunities.

Effective Networking Tips for Startups

Attending A Networking Success Event

Networking may seem like a tedious, time-consuming task to some entrepreneurs. However, investing time and effort in building meaningful connections in the industry entails a significantly high return that no small business should forgo. Here are the tips you need to get started.

  • Define Your Networking Goals

Business networking is vital for a startup’s growth and survival, but it doesn’t mean you should approach anyone and everyone you come across. Your networking efforts might not produce the desired results if you don’t start with a clear agenda.

Firstly, you must figure out why you want to network. There can be a lot of reasons to start networking; pick one or two that hold the most significance for your startup at this point. Is it to find potential customers, business partners, suppliers, or investors? Or do you just want to learn more about your industry from like-minded individuals at this point?

Once you know your main purpose for networking, you can easily figure out who you want to connect with and where to find them.

For example, if you want to add potential investors to your business network, you may need to connect with venture capitalists, angel investors, and crowdfunding platforms. To find potential customers, you must direct your networking efforts to those for whom your product or service has been designed.

The next step is to set specific goals based on your networking purpose and target audience. Some example goals include connecting with ten potential investors in the next month or attending three industry events in the next quarter.

  • Attend Relevant Networking Events

Networking requires effort; you can’t leave meeting people to chance. As an entrepreneur, you must proactively meet new people and connect with them to expand your network. One of the best ways to do that is to attend business events.

Networking events are excellent opportunities to meet like-minded small business owners. Everyone attending these events has the same ultimate agenda, i.e., to network. Hence, having a common ground helps people connect better.

Some examples of business networking events to look out for are trade shows, industry conferences, and business breakfasts and lunches.

Large networking events may feel more overwhelming, especially if you have just entered the business world. Plus, attending large-scale events involves the risk of your own presence being drowned in the crowd. Hence, attending smaller gatherings relevant to your networking purpose may produce better outcomes for you.

Learn What You Should Bring to Networking Events

Remember that it’s essential to come prepared when attending such events. Bring your business cards, practice your elevator pitch, and prepare to participate in conversations and ask questions. Even a brief interaction with someone at such events has the potential to turn into a lasting professional relationship if you follow up.

Research Other Attendees and Members Beforehand

When you select a relevant networking event to attend, try to find out who else will be coming. Prominent members attending a networking event are usually listed on the event’s official website and social media accounts. You can briefly research those members and decide who you want to prioritize networking with.

Start by checking out their job titles and company names. Also, search for their name on Google or scroll through their social media to figure out what you can talk about.

Try Connecting With People Before the Event

Social media has made it much easier to converse with people you want to connect with. Send a warm, introductory message to your target connections before meeting them at the event. This can help you stand out from the crowd in their eyes, feel more confident around them, and make the most out of your time at the event.

However, it’s important to respect people’s time and boundaries and not to overdo it with follow-up messages or requests. Be genuine and thoughtful in your outreach and focus on building authentic relationships that can benefit both parties in the long run.

  • Start Networking Online
Networking Skills - Virtual Networking Opportunities

The trend of virtual networking is here to stay for a long time! It involves connecting with people over the Internet. With rapid advancements in technology and the recent pandemic, the benefits of virtual networks have become more evident than ever.

Expanding your network online is much cheaper than attending in-person events because it eliminates the need for travel. You can network from anywhere worldwide in considerably less time than it takes to meet people in person.

Virtual Networking Tools You Must Try

Image of Social Network Icons
Social Media

Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook allow you to connect with professionals in your industry, join relevant groups, and engage in conversations.

Online Forums

You can use online forums like Reddit or Quora to connect with other industry professionals and learn about industry-related topics.

Virtual Networking Events

Virtual events, like webinars or online conferences, allow you to hear from thought leaders, connect with other attendees, and learn about the latest trends in your field.

Video Conferencing

Tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet let you have face-to-face conversations with individuals from anywhere in the world.


A personalized email to someone you’d like to connect with is a great method to start a conversation and build a relationship.

Virtual Networking Tips to Grow Your Business

Ensure that your online profiles on professional networking sites and forums, like LinkedIn and Twitter, are updated and active. Add proper details regarding your skills, experiences, and accomplishments to build credibility. Regularly post your insights, opinions, and knowledge regarding specific industry-related topics to stay visible on others’ news feeds.

Moreover, don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Take the initiative to approach those you admire or who work in your field. You can message them on LinkedIn or Twitter, briefly introducing yourself and expressing your interest in their work.

When networking online, it’s essential to remain authentic, respectful, and professional. Take the time to personalize your messages, showing a genuine interest in the people you’re connecting with. Don’t forget to follow up after initial conversations because staying in touch is crucial to building relationships that you want to last long.

  • Become a Member of a Local Business Organization

Networking with other small business owners in your area becomes easier if you join a local business organization. Examples of such organizations include local chambers of commerce, trade associations, small business administrations, etc.

Local business organizations often host events where you can meet and build valuable connections with other entrepreneurs in your area. Since these organizations have members from various industries, you also get the chance to learn about new industries and make connections outside of your field.

Moreover, local business organizations often hold training sessions and seminars that can help you expand your business skills. They also offer mentorship programs or other resources that can provide support and guidance as you navigate your career.

 Additionally, membership in a local business organization adds credibility to your professional profile, making your business more attractive to potential clients, customers, or employers.

  • Build and Practice an Effective Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short and compelling introduction summarizing who you are, what you do, and what you can offer. The term “elevator pitch” is derived from the notion that you should be able to deliver your pitch in the time it takes to ride an elevator, preferably around 30 seconds to 1 minute. This is because you only have a few seconds to set a good first impression.

The objective of an elevator pitch is to quickly capture an individual’s attention and raise their interest in learning more about you or your business. It is an essential tool for networking events, job interviews, or any circumstance where you must make a quick and impactful introduction.

A major part of your networking efforts should be to build a captivating elevator pitch and practice delivering it confidently and effectively in any situation. Keep your pitch clear, concise, and memorable. Make sure it communicates your unique value proposition, key strengths, and goals.

  • Know How to Follow Up
Man and Woman at a Networking Event

Networking is not just about meeting new people at an event. To build and maintain relationships over time, you must always follow up with the people you connect with for the first time.

Following up with someone you meet at a business event allows you to continue your conversation from the event and learn more about their business, products, and services. This also increases the likelihood of future interactions and reinforces the connection you made with them.

A follow-up message shows that you value their time and expertise and are serious about establishing a mutually beneficial relationship over time. It also indicates you are open to potential opportunities for collaboration or support.

Here are some essential tips to remember when following up with someone.

  • An important networking tip is to end an initial conversation with something both parties can look forward to. It can be either something tangible planned together or a business idea that can foster further discussions.
  • Remember the topic that helped you connect with someone on a business level, so you have a valid reason to reach out to them. If you send a generic follow-up message rather than reaching out on something specific and meaningful, you may not receive a reply.
  • If it’s been long since you last spoke, remind them of who you are and why you’re following up. This will help jog their memory and make the conversation more productive.
  • Always thank them for their time and consideration, even if they can’t help you or provide the information you need.

Ready to Learn More About Building Connections?

Two people discussing a marketing strategy

Networking is an essential component for the success of any startup. The right approach can open up amazing opportunities and lead to growth.

Remember that successful networking is about making connections and nurturing relationships, sharing knowledge, and creating opportunities. It is an ongoing process that demands patience, persistence, and a genuine desire to help others.

Enroll in UDesign Learn for more information on networking, and start building your network today. Here, you will also gain access to essential freelance services and exclusive content on other entrepreneurial topics.

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