We live in a day and age where networking and success have a direct correlation, hence the birth of the term ‘social capital.’ Yes, social capital is indeed valuable and it essentially grows through networking. Yet networking isn’t a means to achieving this end but an art – precision and skill enhanced only through trial and error.
Every entrepreneur must master this art in order to grow, both professionally and personally. Craftily building relationships and establishing firm connections with like-minded people can’t be regarded as secondary priorities. At the same time, over-networking can happen if you spread yourself out thin and try to develop and maintain a contact list of too many people.
At Startup Weekend Brasov, you’ll have the opportunity to practice strategic networking. This doesn’t mean making as many contacts as possible but rather looking for people with whom to create mutually beneficial relationships.
It’s helpful to think diversity rather than quantity. When you furnish a house, you want to fill it with a variety of furniture and objects as each one fulfills its own purpose. Look at your start-up and consider what is lacking, then envision what kind of people could potentially fill this hole. A good place to start is by looking at you yourself and particularly at your strengths and weaknesses. It’s crucial to know what kind of skills you could confidently offer to others and what kind of skills or expertise you don’t have but would like to see in people close to you.
Considering that networking is about building long-term relationships, look for people who can bring you new perspectives, support you morally, act as a vehicle of publicity, facilitate sales, etc., not for the following week but for years to come. Prepare yourself to approach these people. Get your elevator pitch ready, know yourself and what you have to offer and boldly ask for tips and suggestions. Keep in mind that your biggest competitor is not your enemy but rather a potential partner. And mentors are crucial so be sure to approach one of the great mentors that will be available to you at Startup Brasov. Just as an artist looks at a blank canvas and envisions the array of colors needed to turn it into a masterpiece, contemplate your start-up and envision the assortment of people who will walk by you all the way to victory.
Antonia Stampalean is an English language instructor, editor and translator. She is a hobby blogger (dating tips for women), runs her own English teaching venture in Cluj-Napoca and upholds the motto “to learn is to live and to live is to learn.” Find her through email: email@example.com.