What you know is important but who you know might just be the biggest secret for start-up businesses. Is your vision your only asset? Here is a guide on how to build your start-up business with the help of networking even if you don’t have all the resources.
Most importantly, you must be able to clearly state what you do. Make a small introduction and then a detailed insight into your business including what you do and what is your target market is. The introduction should make the listener interested and want to ask for more information. Keep this presentation no longer than a couple of minutes, plus it must be well thought of and rehearsed. But before you start telling people about your business be sure to know what is it you are exactly looking for; this requires setting your objectives clear. Most start-ups believe finding investors is their ultimate goal and they will be successful overnight. Don’t forget people will only invest if they think you have the vision and the ability to back it up. Even big organizations close down if they fail to gather the talent to get them through. At this point most people look for a co-founder who has the necessary skills they lack and is also someone they can trust to have their back and get them through the early setbacks common to all start-ups. Setting up a team without putting them on a pay roll is near to impossible. One way around that is to hire interns who are interested in this field and are looking to gain some professional experience. However, to avoid the problem of amateurs who are still learning, a more effective solution is to involve a couple of friends who even though are not permanent employees in your organization but are skilled enough to guide you from time to time whenever you get stuck. This allows you to have the freedom of only having your partners be the ones who share the profits and risks involved.
Now if you don’t have a lot of friends or a wide social circle this may be a problem. Keep in mind you can ask anyone for a little help, this includes your best friends, family, teachers, ex-employers; where you have interned or volunteered, even someone you met at a conference or a competition related to your field of interest. As a matter of fact an average person approximately knows about 250 people and each of these people know another 250 and so on. This means that for every new person you present your idea to, gives you access to a potential pool of 62,500 people! These are mind boggling, staggering numbers that make one imagine the odds that out of so many people, you would NOT find one person who would be a source of guidance. You can also start making customers by talking to your social circle about your idea, see what their input is, even if they don’t fully agree with you it will help identify your target market and make it vividly clear. Remember this is still a picture you are unfolding in your mind. It might even give you a new idea or aspect that couldn’t have occurred to you otherwise and steer into another direction that allows you to have a wider customer base.
The key here is to find people who are passionate about your field of interest, these are the ones who love what they do and will be more than willing to help you out. They might know someone who has a similar idea and is looking for someone exactly like you to help them out. The simple fact of the matter is if you don’t ask the answer is always no. Most people shy away from networking assuming they don’t have a wide group of friends. An entrepreneurs most important skill is to utilize the resources at hand and expand within the limits of his circumstances. The internet is one such resource that can do wonders, it’s the world in your hands. The easiest way to go about it is to join online groups and communities on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This allows you to see what other people in your line of work are doing and discuss your ideas with them. It’s also an opportunity to create a hype about your product’s launch. You will be able to build early trust among potential customers who follow your progress. People would be excited about your product even before it’s out there in the market. Another most important trick to being a good networker is to assume you are building a group of friends you care about. It has to be a give and take relationship. Surrounding yourself with the right social circle that supports and motivates you towards your goals may be better than a formal team that works with you day and night. Prefer quality over quantity when it comes to professional relationships. Fortunately, like any other task you will become better at networking with practice and effort. It’s a conscious decision to become a networker, all it requires is a slight shift in attitude, and meeting every new person with the openness to learn, willingness to stay in touch. The multiplier effect networking has is immense which makes it one of the most profitable activities for entrepreneurs to invest their time in.
With the advent of online businesses in Pakistan one such brand that’s turning heads nationwide is Gryphon Wear. Started in August 2013, Gryphon has quickly become the brand to be. For them clothing is not just about how you look but also the impact it has on your daily persona. Every design is exuberant and comes with a message of its own, catering to each and every customer’s personalized needs. This line of unique designs is set up entirely by the efforts of two students who initially started this as a semester project at university but the overwhelming response and number of orders received encouraged them to take it further. Whilst speaking on the topic of how networking has helped their start-up, Gryphon Wear’s CEO Mr. Abdur Rahman Khan said:
“Networking is about making friends at every opportunity you get. Whenever we encounter a problem our contacts, who are experts in their fields are the ones that have helped us make what Gryphon is today. The key is keeping a good relationship with all stakeholders involved starting right from the manufacturer who makes the cloth to the online partners that publicize our products on their portals. That’s what Gryphon Wear’s marketing strategy is.”