Have you seen the ads around the country for LinkedOut, a spoof on the popular networking site that gives users the opportunity to “connect with people who fired them?”
While connecting with people who fired you probably won’t help get your startup to the next level, networking and building relationships will do just that. It’s important to build relationships as diligently as you build your product.
Remember: In a new and evolving market, it helps to have friends! (OK, so maybe not the people who fired you.)
Why? It’s simple. When you build and nurture key relationships you can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs who may be experiencing issues similar to the ones you face, as well as with successful corporate leaders who have experienced their own successes and failures. Networking also connects you with customers and prospects and can go a long way in better understanding their needs. And spend time networking and talking to competitors too (not direct competitors but companies in the same space) — they can provide a wealth of insight about the market space.
You’ll also reap a myriad of benefits, now and down the road, by connecting with partners, prospects, investors and potential merger and acquisition contacts. And relationships with important market influencers like press, analysts, bloggers and social networkers will go a long way in building a strong company brand.
So, approach “networking” as you would other key tasks that need to be done periodically — build it into your schedule. For more info, visit www.trinet.com/startups.