Starting your own business is a courageous and wonderful move but it can also put a lot of pressure on you because unlike working in a corporate office, YOU are your support system!

So for business (and sanity reasons), we must learn to network with others in our field and business community.

Why is this important?  A network provides a ready source of people waiting to encourage you, help you navigate around issues that might deter your success, brings people into your life who are honest with you about issues you need to address and resolve and creates a bond with like-minded people who understand exactly what you’re feeling and going through – especially when you are a newbie entrepreneur.

Who should I include in my network?

A wonderful question! There are five specific types of people you want to include in your network:

Mentor. This is your source of guidance and advice because they have already been in your shoes and know the way to success and sometimes failure! They are great for your self-esteem.

Someone that you mentor. This helps build your leadership skills, helps you be accountable because they are waiting to learn from you, and someone even newer than you can offer fresh ideas. Plus the sheer pleasure of helping someone succeed is unbelievably satisfying!

Creative Thinker. You know this type. They can be eating a delicious gourmet cookie in a coffee shop and dream up all the ways the baker can sell and market this treat on a larger scale! This type loves to hear your dreams, can tell you how to market the business, price the cookie, and will root for you to go for it and be successful – even before you’ve taken your first bite!

Analytical Thinker. Total opposite of the creative type but needed just as much. Here’s where you’ll get that honesty on finances, timelines, realistic thinking and whether it makes sense to even go after this business goal. They will punch holes in the gourmet cookie dreams of the creative types but it’s a necessary evil so you go into a venture with eyes wide open! If it can’t be done, or just shouldn’t be done – this type will tell you and explain why. So make sure they are on your team.

The “Pay It Forward Type”. You must have this person on your team as well. They can find any info you need to help you get ahead with your goals and are happy to do it – because they can and someone did this for them. They love connecting people with opportunities and other business owners of like mind and love sharing the latest and greatest designed to help other people achieve their goal of success.

Wow. I don’t know about you but researching this info changed my idea about networking. It’s more than just handing out business cards and attending networking events ready to share a 30 second elevator speech.

I would love to hear your comments below with your thoughts on networking.

To Your Success!

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