As an “Extroverted Introvert,” I know the value of networking. I can make the rounds at a cocktail party and leave with several new business cards. However, the place where I genuinely shine is at the table during a dinner where I can really talk to the seven people I am sharing a meal with. I am happy to dive into the conversation and make real connections. This type of networking generally happens within a specific area of interest. Of course, there are conferences geared around the same interests. For people who use Pinterest there is Pinners Conference & Expo, and for bloggers, there is Snap Conference. These conferences might lead you to create connections with others who share similar interests, but the second type of networking is hugely important and somewhat underrated.
Networking with people that possess skills you do not is, for me, the most important type of networking. Do you need a great CPA? I have one I can connect you to (no, I don’t get a referral fee, nor does he know this blog exists). Are you ready to hone in the marketing of your business to harness the power that is Instagram and Facebook? I have a phenomenal brand specialist who will work magic for you. Or what about a photographer? There are photographers everywhere (yes, I also own a DSLR) but, which photographers are there that can produce quality headshots and flat lays for your company? Do you need a website? How do you know which platform to choose? I mean Squarespace use to be the gold standard (for template based websites), but recently ShowIt has made an appearance. Do you need help creating a website design to set you apart? I know someone who can help.
All businesses require a variety of skills. As with most things in life, you can either pay in time or money. Time to develop the required skills to design a usable website, or money to pay someone who designs websites professionally. Time to create a logo, sub logo, branding colors, cohesive fonts, or money to pay a branding specialist. Time to learn SEO and website optimization, or money to pay a knowledgeable expert. It is a trade off that only you can decide, and when ready, I have some great contacts to point you towards.
This is where I tell you how great I am, and how much an attorney on your team is worth. So if you already have an attorney or are convinced of my benefit, you can skip this part. To become a lawyer, I did an additional three years of school to learn a trade that isn’t readily available to many people starting a business. I know that there are places where you can go and purchase a basic operating agreement, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and other various legal documents. However, in each of those shops you are purchasing a general contract which is not specifically tailored to you. You also are not creating an attorney-client relationship. That relationship is valuable. I know attorneys can be expensive and sometimes cost prohibitive. However, having the foundation right from the start is invaluable. By starting a relationship with you, I can guide you as to what legal documents you do really need (based on your business model and product) and let you know which can slide for a bit. I’ll also be there to tell you when things can no longer slide. Additional bonus, as I create a contract designed specifically for you, I will explain what each portion means, so if something arises, you already have a good idea if you are covered.
I know it seems like an obvious question, yes networking is necessary. However, I hope that when networking you start looking outside your area to find other people to connect with. People that can supplement the skills you have in a way that is beneficial to both your new contact and your business.