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Working with founders and CEOs taught me the importance of building a network

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

One of your most significant assets in business is your network. A network is not just your friends and family; it’s everyone you encounter through a friendship, work, or a shared interest. The broader, the better, as you want to surround yourself with people with different interests, locations, skills, and a mix of fan club treatment and tough love.

Growing a network is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs and business owners. Access to a network of people who can help you is one of those things that can make success easier to achieve. Whether meeting a future investor or getting a boost in a much-needed skill, your network will open doors and help you see things differently. No doubt that the better your network, the more opportunities you’ll have to grow your business and develop ideas.

So, what can you do to create a more robust network? First, to quote something my Grams said to me nearly every day of my childhood (I was not an easy kid):

“You don’t have to like it. You just have to do it.”

Networking isn’t always easy, especially if you are an introvert like me. I’ve had my fair share of dodgy moments when meeting someone new– or invites to events where I end up standing in the corner clutching a drink.

I avoid “happy hour” events or business socials unless they have some interactive component, like a speaker or an opportunity to share more about your business. Events with some structure at least give you some starter material to talk to strangers.

For networking socials, the traditional advice is to go prepared with your elevator speech or quick intro. But I find that an easier tactic is to also go equipped with some ice breakers like, “Oh, I see your business is X. What do you love about what you do?” Or ask peo