Startup Diaries — IV

Networking is the most important task when you’re trying to get into the market and you’re newbie. It has got different phases and different modes at different stages.

When you’re thinking of starting up, networking is must in all the stages. At early stage networking is to validate your idea, thoughts, business plan etc. An entrepreneur is the one who has got his own rich network of people, those who can guide, help & motivate at times.

When starting up, start looking for the people who’re already doing something, though in a different domain but they have started something. From these kinds of people you always get to learn from their experiences, try to connect with’em using your 2nd/3rd degree connections. Networking is something when you share what you’re trying to achieve and why you’re doing. When you share it, people ask you questions and initially it’ll happen that you won’t have answers of some of the questions. Now that’s the biggest advantage of sharing. Start with your parents, tell them what you are doing, how and why you are doing so. They might not be technical people to ask you about the technology but they’ll surely share their similar work experience or their own learning from someone else’s life. Next, move out from your near ones and start sharing with the people like your mentor and take their feedback as well. Discussing with people and sharing your ideas has got so many benefits like first your personality will improve, you’ll learn how to talk to someone whoever a person may be. How to share your idea without revealing the confidentiality of your work. Also you’ll learn how to start conversation with unknown people.

There may be chances when you’ll have to talk to strangers and with the people you never know or you never met before. It’s quite a small challenge for the people who has no experience of talking with people whom they don’t know. Many times people feel shy, and most of the time people struggle for starting the conversation. Once it has started it’ll go with the flow but starting a conversation in such a way that a person will take interest in talking is a great start. The next challenge is to drive the conversation to the point where you have a conclusion or something good to share with each other. Possibilities are like the discussion earns you the important contacts, some guidance/suggestions for what you’re doing.

When starting up, the most important thing is to validate your idea, imagination, vision and your road map. Most of the time it’ll happen that while starting to meet people you don’t have many of the answers prepared what they’ll usually ask, and that’s why networking is useful.

To start with, first make a list of people you know in your first degree connection, who you think might be useful for your venture. Then highlight those people who you think has got a rich network of people. Now prioritize accordingly and make a list. Next step is to contact them, ask them for a meeting in person and so they’ll definitely ask you the reason for a meeting. And this is the time when you have to pitch your idea in just 10 seconds and these 10 seconds will decide the fate of your meeting. If you end up putting an impression to the person you called for a meeting that “this does sound interesting” and he agrees for a meeting, this is your first validation of yourself, then your idea/pitch. Now when you go for a meeting​, briefly explain him the purpose of the meeting and what you’re expecting from him. If he/she is of some degree of connection, then definitely they’ll discuss about the people you both know in common. And this is how you have to drive your discussion with anyone.

One more important aspect of networking is the sequence you meet the people. If you have a list of people, then categorize starting from the people in the different domain, similar domain, experienced veterans and at last VCs or angels. The reason behind this is you start sharing your idea with the people from whom you’re not expecting funding, these people will surely ask you questions and out of all the questions, you might have answers for some and you might have no answers or you haven’t thought of something which they’ll ask. Because of this, it’ll be great learning experience for you about what people are thinking about your idea, what else is missing in your preparation and how should you move forward. After having meetings with advisers, start scheduling meeting with the VCs and angel investors from whom you’re expecting funds, now you’re well prepared and have almost all the answers you can perform really well in-front of them.

There may be situations, you’re meeting two or more people in the same domain who’re doing similar work, you shared your idea to them and obviously they will suggest you something and put their opinions. It’ll surely happen that both of them will suggest something very different for the same question asked. Now it’s confusing state where you need to decide who’s right and whom to follow!! In this kinds of situations you have to see number of parameters like what’s the background of the person and how much knowledgeable he’s in the particular domain. Then check his willingness to advice you, is he really interested in your work or he’s just suggesting because you asked. Compare these different parameters and then decide whom to follow. One more situation you may come across is the person you’re meeting will let you down by telling that whatever you’re doing is not recommended and it’s not worth doing it. Now again this will be a dilemma whether to listen or not and that’s the reason to network with more and more number of people with similar and/or different profile with different experience.

So networking is a most important aspect for an entrepreneur, an aspiring startup guy. It really helps in keeping yourself updated not only about around the world but also about yourself too.

I hope you like the post. Stay tuned for more updates about the experience of the Journey called Startup!!!! Thanks for reading the post.



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