Making a Great First Impression: Tips for Effective Networking for Young Entrepreneurs

When you’re starting out with a new business venture, there are a lot of variables to consider. The Institute of Entrepreneurship Development previously identified the top skills young entrepreneurs should have to succeed. These include management skills, financial planning, and perhaps the most crucial one of all, the ability to network.

Even though competition is rampant in the business world, you can still receive help and support from other entrepreneurs, especially if you foster good business relationships. To jump-start your journey, here are some valuable networking tips you can follow.

1. Know the people in your industry – For your network to be more effective, it’s important to know the key people related to the nature of your business. Which brands do you identify with? Who do you want to learn from? Business Collective quoted ZinePak co-founder Brittany Hodak to help inspire young entrepreneurs: “Read as many books or articles by the person as you can get your hands on, and then approach him/her with thoughtful, specific questions based on his/her work.” This is a great way to set yourself apart from other people. It will demonstrate your knowledge and dedication to what you do.

2. Make a personal visit – There’s nothing more tactical than personally meeting with the person you want to connect with. If they are attending an event or press conference, you’ll be able to see how they carry themselves. Menlo Coaching suggests taking note of relevant information that came up during your meetings, such as upcoming events and talking points that can spark a meaningful conversation. The more common ground and genuine interest you establish, the better.

3. Use social media – In some cases, meeting face-to-face isn’t a viable option. In a world that’s increasingly going digital, social media is an invaluable tool that makes networking efficient. It is now easier to connect to brands via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and your brand as name recall will help in the business world. Keep tabs on your own communication channels as well. You never know when another brand wants to get in touch with you, too.

4. Make your personality shine – Though the saying “Be yourself” sounds cliché, it’s one of the best things you can do to build a strong network. Of course, this does not mean going about things unprepared. Be professional yet natural, and leverage your quirks into the conversation. Treat your personality as an asset, because it cannot be replicated by anyone else. Additionally, don’t forget your manners. Be polite and practice humility, especially in the presence of older entrepreneurs and/or seasoned business professionals. It’s better to listen and be appreciative of what they share instead of bombarding them with your ideas.

5. Be patient – Networking takes a lot of time and effort. It may be tempting to start selling off right away, especially if you want to achieve your goals early on, but be cautious. The Balance warns against making frequent sales pitches because it can change your status from ‘business connection’ to ‘annoying salesperson’ very quickly. It’s also vital to have a give-and-take relationship with your contacts. Be sure to lend them a hand when necessary.

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Article by: Jennison Bush


Jennison Bush

Jennison Bush is a psychologist and career coach by day and writer by night. When she’s not lending her expertise to clients and their respective life goals or typing away for guest blog posts, Jennison likes baking and discovering new places to dine with her family in Thessaloniki.

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