How to Build a Strong Social Network for a Young Entrepreneur?


11
"It's Not What You Know, It's Who You
Know" -Old English Proverb
Having a strong social network is a Must-Have of every entrepreneur. Our friends and partners make us stronger in areas we're weak (accounting, marketing, law, etc.). I have discovered that behind a great entrepreneur generally exist a great team supporting him.

What advice would you give a young entrepreneur to build his social network? Thank you in advance

Strategy Partner Entrepreneurs Social Network Relationships

asked Dec 6 '10 at 05:51
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Sd Reyes
156 points

9 Answers


9

Its all a numbers game. Be personalable, that is key. I talk to people everywhere, at the gym, grocery store, or out walking the dog.

  • Be friendly, never argumentative, and always be selling yourself as a likeable person.
  • Be social, hanging out at the same place every Friday will get you near the same crowds.
  • Join organizations such as your local chamber, attend church even if you are not religious, get involved in your childrens' activities such as coaching (if you have kids), volunteer information, help and any time you can afford.
  • Keep in contact with all of your friends.
  • Don't be shy.
  • Ask for introductions.
  • Have a relevant blog.
  • Make yourself a personal business card (not company card).
  • Look presentable, fresh, and maintain a postive attitude.
    • dont be a douche bag

answered Dec 6 '10 at 07:28
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Frank
2,079 points
  • To elaborate on the "be friendly, never argumentative part," I really recommend reading How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It might sound cheesy, but it's really a life-changing book. – Jason Swett 8 years ago
  • @Jason: Wow, that's a great reference, Thanks +1 – Sd Reyes 8 years ago
  • Thank you Franky, I'm taking notes : D +1 – Sd Reyes 8 years ago
  • Jason, I seldom recommend books because i think books should be free and thus dont like marketing them, and plus I find people sometimes set their expectations high when a book is recommended. You cannot set your expectations too high for "how to win friend". It is truly required reading for anyone in business or management. – Frank 8 years ago
  • Knowledge should be free,but book writers also deserve money. – Julien 8 years ago
  • Writers yes, publishers, distributors, retailers no. – Frank 8 years ago
  • @Frank, so they shouldn't get money for making sure books have proper grammar and spelling or that the they are even readable. Nor, should they get money for printing books onto paper, and providing the service and equipment to get those books, that are on paper, to retailers. And retailers shouldn't get paid for storing the books and making them easily accessible for people to purchase, own and keep in their own librarys' to read as much as they want. All of those services should be free? – Percent20 8 years ago
  • YUP, im a bit of a socialist, i believe in FREE OIL, FREE MEDICAL CARE, AND FREE SCHOOL | KNOWLEDGE. Should be FREE or at cost. Call me crazy, but i think the working poor, and middle class deserve a few advantages to be able to grow forward. Plus i strongly understand that a smart, educated and healthy middle class will greatly benefit this country, and its business owners. Bottom line, POOR, DUMB, SICK, people cannot buy my products. And as for your question about profits, some things should not be done for profit. some things should be done, because they are the right things to do. – Frank 8 years ago
  • Alright I give you major props for confirming it :) Most of the time people just shy away and ignore it. I leave the political part of my response out, but I do agree "some things" should be done because it is the right thing to do. We will probably just disagree about what, heh. – Percent20 8 years ago
  • Oil is bloated. BP, can lease USA land, spill oil, and pay 1/2 a years profit to clean up a multi billion dollar spill. The political wrongness of that is that a RESOURCE that belongs to us all is being sold back to us. Health insurance, is just BS, everyone should be covered, in one great pool. There should be no reason that a % of my monthly premium goes to cover profits. If i were in charge of the world, the premium would be based on last months claims and costs, not profits. As for knowledge, it should be free. How else can you really have a fair society where everyone has a – Frank 8 years ago
  • chance. The politics aside, I do what is best for me at the end of the day. And its best of me not to have unhealthy fat asses in my way, best for me not to have MORONs around, and best for me to drive my SUV knowing im paying real cost of gasoline not what OPEC and CHeveron decided it will cost. In my business i make sure my employees are educated, healthy, and their basic needs are met. I dont do it because im nice, I dont provide our clients with good customer service because i am nice. I do it because its good business, and makes me more money. – Frank 8 years ago
  • Giving away knowledge, will do the same. You can still go to your local library and check out a book for free. There is no credit check, or deposit. In todays E-world, the value comes for free information. Authors can make money by putting their knowledge to work in consulting, or even incorporating brands into their work. They can continue to charge for romance novels, but books where you learn, should be free. PS. one of the coolest things i ever saw was Tony Hsieh giving away his book Delivering Happiness. Before that i had never shopped at Zappos.com, after reading it, i love the – Frank 8 years ago
  • brand, and respect the man that wrote it. – Frank 8 years ago

5

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tweetups
  • Meetup.com
  • Start a blog
  • Read books and blog about what you learn
  • Read about 'personal brand'
  • Research who you want to meet and why
  • Return phone calls and emails
  • Grab lunch or breakfast with someone new regularly
  • Start something social. A group breakfast, lunch or happy hour
  • Read 'Never Eat Alone'
  • Chamber of Commerce Meetings
  • Volunteer

answered Dec 6 '10 at 13:15
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Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • agree on the "never eat alone" by keith ferrazzi. I consider it a must have for all entrepreneurs .. – Vellad 8 years ago
  • My latest startup (http://letslunch.com) solves that exact problem. Business networking is the secret (at least in Silicon Valley), and going to evening events gets tiring, and not very productive. So if someone could match you at a convenient time (everyone eats lunch), with someone relevant, and spend quality time, then it would be great. Well, we built it :-) – Alain Raynaud 8 years ago

3

MITH - Make interesting things happen. It means it is all up to you. If you stay in bed noone will come to you.
Move, meet ppl, go to every event near you and, of course, use social networks,

answered Dec 6 '10 at 21:49
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Fuzzyalej
184 points

3

Here's a little tip that I just recognized today. Look up all the business/entrepreneurship organizations you can, go to all of them. In the average big city, you'll find a couple groups where they complain about why bad things happen to them (inventor clubs strike me as tending towards this), you've find some dead clubs where nothing is happening, and you'll find clubs that promise you fame, friends, success ... in the exchange for something.

But then you'll also find a hand full up clubs where people aren't complaining and where things are actually happening. Furthermore, (and this is how you can tell you've found the right groups) there will be overlap in the membership of these clubs because the members will have already done their homework too. So, upon finding these, you have found the people you need to be friends with... the next step is to actually make friends with them. The best way to do this, of course, is to offer them something that they need but can't attain easily by themselves (I'm learning web design). An alternative is to have your wife offer them Japanese baked goods... but you can only do this if you have a Japanese wife like me, (and of course she better be a good cook!).

answered Jan 19 '11 at 13:13
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John Berryman
388 points

2

Google is your friend here, at least in the very beginning. I found every possible entrepreneurial organization in town that I could, I created a list ranked from most to least beneficial, and I have been slowly moving through that list since that time. The groups that I have found most helpful are local professional groups in my field of interest and the local business school groups.

Where ever you go, be likable and friendly, and genuinely interested in the people around you. Identify needs that either you can solve or that others you have met can solve and then pair needs with solutions. When reasonable make your solutions freely available. When you do make a connection, be sure to follow up on that connection (otherwise you'll just end up with an extensive collection of business cards). And whenever you follow up, have something interesting and/or useful to share.

Be a good person. The world is a very, very small place.

answered Dec 6 '10 at 08:36
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John Berryman
388 points

1

Find people who know people.. I guess if you don't know a lot of people yourself, then it makes sense to find mentors/well wishers/partners who are well connected.

answered Dec 6 '10 at 06:22
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Roopesh Shenoy
141 points

1

  1. when you talk to people be an active listener
  2. find someone who has already done what you want to do they are great mentors and often very happy to help the next generation
  3. use LinkedIn get people you have worked with to write recommendations for you
answered Dec 6 '10 at 10:30
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Ben
522 points

1

  1. Go to Startup Weekends, Chamber of Commerce events, lectures, anywhere that might gather the types of folks you need to meet in one place and meet people.
  2. After you go home, follow up by emailing/calling, adding them on social networking sites you both use, etc.
  3. Stay visible by blogging, participating in IRC channels, MLs or forums where your target audience hangs out, etc.
  4. GOTO 1
answered Dec 6 '10 at 13:08
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Hedge Mage
1,438 points

0

Having something that you created - even a small project - that you can point to and say "I shipped this" will go a long way towards being taken seriously, especially when you are young.

answered Dec 6 '10 at 10:32
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Karl Krantz
334 points

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