Networking is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. It is somewhat a crazy concept for introverts or people who would like to just concentrate on running their business. Isn’t it difficult just combating all the hassles that startups have to offer without making the extra effort of going into networking events? Well, a study outlined in an article by Forbes shows that for 78% of startups, networking is vital! 
Case in point: Imagine having a small startup and competing with the many established players in the market. How would a business owner quickly get business without going into a foray of marketing and advertising costs? Well, one quick method is networking. Would you like to know more benefits? Then listen up all introverts or shy entrepreneurs as in this blog, we outline:
- 6 Benefits of Business Networking for Startups
- Best Online Networking Platforms
6 Benefits of Business Networking for Startups
1. Increased Business
We know this is the most obvious reason for joining a networking event, but still! You can get so much business by letting your peers know about your venture and referrals in a matter of time will contribute extensively to your business. This will also help in adding to your client base. Word gets around and the word of mouth is pretty strong!
2. Meaningful Opportunities
Don’t think just sales! Think of the other opportunities that can arise from business networking.  They may be in the form of:
- Joint ventures
- Business expansions
- Business or asset sales
- Speaking and writing opportunities – you might not have considered this as it may seem an indirect opportunity but sometimes such doors are opened only through effective networking.
Advice can come from anywhere but have you considered getting advice from your peers or seniors? Through networking or attending networking events, you can find a mentor to help guide you through the many hurdles that your business may generate.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – is absolutely true when it comes to networking! One tends to forget people or things if they are no longer visible. And you don’t want that for your startup. So attending a quick business luncheon or networking event reminds people of you and the business that you represent.
5. Staying Current
We make all the efforts to stay current on the industry trends and read up on all the materials that we can get our hands-on. Another effective way of staying current is by meeting people, talking and absorbing first-hand information that is helpful for your startup.
6. Find Business Solutions
You can find solutions to your business problems by reaching out to your network. For example, if you need a social media specialist or a data analyst, then looking for the right personnel through a referral would be ideal. You can also find angel investors and venture capitalists this way too.
Best Online Networking Platforms
If you still think that going face-to-face is too much, then we recommend using online platforms as a means of networking. There are various virtual events online as well and some virtual events can be hosted via such platforms. Below are some of the best online platforms to use for business networking.
- LinkedIn – a professional networking platform that helps many companies find talent.
- Alumni Alliances – this is an alumni community that houses members from one alma mater. This is the much-needed place, especially for introverts or shy entrepreneurs, who would be able to liaise with familiar faces. The platform provides a medium through which one can find investors, mentors, business collaborations, projects, recruiters, talent, business solutions, real estate deals and participate in their marketplace.
- Meetup – is an online service that is used to create groups to host local in-person events. It can help a startup to provide business solutions.
- Twitter – helps to humanize one’s brand and also create engagement.
- Facebook and Instagram – cost-effective methods to reach out to potential customers as well as businesses for collaborations.
So introverts and shy entrepreneurs…
Are you convinced now that business networking might just be the perfect way to grow your business? Or do you disagree? We would love to know your opinions on this so do tell us through the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow Alumni Alliances via the various social media platforms. Also, bookmark Alumni Insider for more blogs like this.
1. Featured Image – Gerd Altmann
2. Study: For 78% of Startups, Networking is Vital for Entrepreneurial Success
4. What is Business Networking and What are the Benefits