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Business Networking for Entrepreneurs: An Examination of Relationship Building that Matters

Updated on September 6, 2012

Every day, an entrepreneur is faced with the odds stacked against them. Entrepreneurs have incredible potential for success but the roadblocks and hurdles ahead of them are the toughest challenges for their entry into the business world. The paths to accomplishing goals aren’t rest solely on the shoulders of an entrepreneur but built on the foundation of a strong business network and the relationships created along the way.

This article examines why business networking is immensely important for entrepreneurs.

Why business networking matters

According to a 2008 release by SBA.gov, 627,200 ventures were created but in the same year 595,600 of them were met with failure. The failure rates of entrepreneurial ventures are incredibly high. No doubt, one major reason for this sharp rate of failure is an overall lack of networking.

Business networking creates the connections and relationships that allow a business to thrive and survive in volatile economies. The relationships that matter, for entrepreneurs, are the ones that remove the barrier to running a business and will be reliable when needed.

Relationships created through networking allow an entrepreneur to tap into the guidance of individuals, generate capital to operate a business, promote products to a wide segment of an industry and build authority through association. In many ways, it are the people who entrepreneurs know who ultimately garner their success.

The path to business networking success

A relationship is formed through a mutual exchange of value among two parties. In a simple examination, friendships are created on a give-and-receive exchange among two individuals; this goes without boundaries as businesses, as well as customers, can create powerful relationships with each another.

Each relationship with an individual or business starts a natural series of growth phases amongst third parties. In time, as relationships grow based on the exchange of value, a network will flourish because third-party observers will begin to integrate and join into the tribe.

Over the course of months, years and decades, relationships formed will be compounded to the point that an entire network has been created among individuals and entities; a tribe, in a sense. For an entrepreneur, this tribe provides a wealth of opportunities based on the value given to the business network. Opportunities include elements that grow a business from having a support system to guide the entrepreneur through business decisions to a reliable network that can help raise capital to expand a business.

The process of building a business network is quite simple in practice:

  • Step 1: Discover where industry members congregate online and offline
  • Step 2: Introduce one self and begin to provide feedback and value
  • Step 3: Begin to create relationships based on the exchange of value
  • Step 4: Branch out and help others through venture partnerships
  • Step 5: Form a community where members can easily interact

The best example is to reflect the process of creating friends in a school yard environment. The principles for building relationships and networks are parallel in nature. Networks, just like a friendship, are created over time through give-and-receive acts that show one’s value to the community.

The lonely entrepreneur is not alone

In conclusion, the path to success, for entrepreneurs, is not just the amount that can be poured into product development or a marketing budget but the relationships and network created along the way. The business network created by entrepreneurs will remain a solid foundation as an individual explores their ventures. Regardless if a venture succeeds or fails, a business network will always be there to aid an entrepreneur along the process but only if the time has been taken to manifest the relationships that really matter.

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    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 

      6 years ago from Twin Cities

      No man or business is an island -- networking is absolutely crucial for success. You have to have people to turn to when you need advice or experience! Luckily, social networking is easier now than ever before. Thanks for a great hub!

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