Networking Strategies for Startups

November 16, 2015 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Although a startup company can be an exciting place to work, there's always a constant pressure to perform. Whether you're the head of your own startup, a stakeholder or even a low-level employee, networking will be crucial to meeting the business's initial goals. Common sense tells us that the bigger and diverse your professional network, the more opportunity you'll have for funding, winning new clients and gaining advice.

Attend Industry Events

No matter what industry you're in, you'll be sure to find events and conferences that cater to your business's space. Attending these events aren't just important in terms of furthering your education, they also provide an ample opportunity to cultivate professional relationships that can benefit your company.

Before attending your event, do your homework. Research which companies will be there so you can speak intelligently about their business and brainstorm how a relationship might be mutually beneficial. And, finally, make sure you actually talk to the attendees. Now is not the time to be coy. Engage other attendees and show an interest in what they're doing with their business.

Stay Active on Professional Social Network Sites

It's not enough to simply join LinkedIn. Be active. Share articles, comment on posts. Don't be afraid to join in on an opinionated discussion. At the very least, you'll learn something new. At best, you'll make a connection that can make an impact on your company's future.

Also, LinkedIn is great for general networking, but there are many networking sites that cater to specific industries and job types. Research to find a networking site that suits you and your business model best, engage and stay on top of current industry trends.

Seek Out Accelerators

Startup accelerators provide advice, mentorship, seed investment in exchange for equity. Most importantly, accelerators will bring you an instant network. Since accelerators have equity in your company, they are tied to your success and will bring along mentors to help guide important business decisions and strategies. To get the most out of accelerators, make an effort to connect with as many people as possible.

Have Your Elevator Pitch Down

An elevator pitch is simply a concise conversation or ice breaker with the intention of leading into a larger dialogue about your business. Your pitch should provide an overview of what makes your company unique. You'll turn to your elevator pitch in many networking situations, so it's important to make it appear natural and not rehearsed.