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Networking is something all successful entrepreneurs are good at. The # 1 Skill of All Entrepreneurs. Professionals too in this age, have to be great networkers including CAs, Lawyers, Doctors. Over a period of time, as they gain experience they not only demand a premium but also have access to an invaluable intangible asset CONTACTS.

What do these contacts help us? If you thought this was all about getting admission for your cousin, relative, nephew or niece in the best school or college, you are mistaken. I do admit that networking/contacts help you in that area, but contacts can be used for a lot of purposes which can help you build your career or at times even save your life.

Entrepreneurs of the Information Age have to build contacts no matter what, it is not an option but a pre-requisite for survival in this world of intense competition. It is no surprise that successful entrepreneurs swear by CONTACTS. It is rightly said that who you know is equally important than what you know.

Also, in this lightning fast, changing world. Deals are finalised in a fraction of a second, the common man can know about these deals, only by the newspaper. Now the question, an individual who starts a business from scratch, how does he have access to such transactions.

The answer is again CONTACTS.


Now, the million dollar question is when should one start building contacts and how can he build this invaluable resource?

It is recommended for students to start when they are in college. College offers immense opportunities to network. Especially college festivals like NM’s (Umang). Management students have an advantage. Guest lecturers/ Speakers come to enlighten them in a particular topic. After the event is over one should go and shake hands and take their card.

According to a research carried out by a recruitment agency. 70% of all jobs are found by networking, 15% by placement agency, 10-12% through want ads and 2% by blindly sending out resumes. More people are hired by being in the right place at the right time than for any other single reason. But you can’t take advantage of that unless you stay in touch. This is one of the main reasons to have a network. Most people personally know at least 350 other people, and have even more acquaintances. BUT THEY ARE TOO LAZY TO KEEP IN TOUCH.

Other places where one can network is at seminars. Seminars are where only serious participants are present, thus if one is in the that field, or wishes to be there in the future, there cannot be a better chance than this. All one needs to do is get in a conversation (may not always be with a speaker) and find out the unique points of the other person. Even if he is not able to get you a job or some business, he can still mentor you and provide with crucial mentoring.

Any event which is a gathering, whether it is the annual alumni meet or a shareholders meeting of a very big company. In all of these lies an opportunity.

Go out of your way to meet every single person you can. Meeting new people may be easier for some than others, but the important thing is to start.

If none of these things work. START VOLUNTEERING. Volunteering will take away your shyness and will provide the MUCH NEEDED CONFIDENCE. Volunteering for a youth organisation AYBI I was able to know plenty of people and also find out people of similar interests.

Even if you aren’t looking for a job, it is always important to keep growing your network as networking allows you to be in a position to win and be in with the decision makers who are making things happen. You can’t take advantage of that unless you position yourself to win by staying in contact with your network.

So, lets start networking till we strike gold.

This Entrepreneurship article was written by Dhawal Shah on 2/11/2005