Branson on How to Network
Matt Ellsworth stashed this in Biz Dev Hacks (AKA Good Business Development)
Matt, I'm guessing you're referring to Hint: Early and Often.
Branson offers tips on building a network:
To get started, attend industry events and meet key players; join regional business associations and start learning about local market conditions. Also remember that you can meet potential mentors at schools, clubs and business groups. Someday, when you get stuck or when something goes wrong, these contacts will be the people you’ll turn to for help. (Finding investors is a step that follows: People buy from people, so if you’re limited in terms of who you can access, talk to and sell to, well, you probably won’t get very far.)
Launching a startup is tough and scary, so it is important that as you build your network, you look for smart, supportive partners and employees who understand and share your goals for the business. When I started Student magazine as a teenager, I worked with a small group of other students. Their tireless support and our camaraderie was invaluable as we got the magazine going. Some of us continued to work together for decades, and I count these people among my closest friends. My parents were also very important to that project (Yes, your family is part of your network too -- don’t underestimate their ability to help you), and without their backing we probably would not have succeeded.
Finally, you’re also going to need a network of peers, so don’t be wary of making friends with your competition. When you see other people achieving similar goals, you will be reminded that your own plans and dreams are possible. And if you are feeling daunted by a task, there’s no better encouragement than learning that somebody else has already achieved something similar. In my experience, moments like those have been the tipping point for many a new business venture, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition!
Richard Branson has clearly been networking for a long time.
Sometimes connect with new people; sometimes re-connect w folks you already know.
Over time, those small acts of connecting really add up.
Definitely what I was referring to. I've always done a lot of these things naturally because I enjoy it. Ever since reading Never Eat Alone, I've made it a habit and I love it.
It's a good habit.
The best networks are the ones that grow naturally.