When people use the phrase it’s a small world, they are referring to the likelihood of interacting with the same people in either their social or professional circles over and over again. Networking is a chance to broaden that circle by interacting with other people, groups, and communities either in-person or online. The ultimate goal of networking is to exchange information about yourself and in order to develop additional professional or social contacts. Like branches of a tree, the art of networking leads to new connections which lead to new lines of communication and so forth.
As an entrepreneur, there are many reasons why you should get your name out there as widespread and frequently as possible. When looking for investors, you want to generate as much positive word of mouth as you can. The more people who know you, either personally or professionally, the better your chances are of landing a good review. People are more inclined to vouch for someone they have a pleasant association with.
The process can start as early as college. It is never too early to seek out a mentor-mentee relationship with an admired faculty member. Law schools already recommend the concept of networking while still in school so you can increase job opportunities after graduation. Once you do start working, make sure to never burn any bridges, keep a strong work ethic, and get letters of reference upon your departure. These same people, or acquaintances of them, are likely to appear again throughout your life, and there is no telling how important they might turn out to be.
Social media is one of the best ways to promote yourself. There are many free sites and apps to use nowadays, from LinkedIn to Twitter and beyond. Depending on your audience, some will rank better than others. You can raise your own ranking by frequently engaging with other users on sites and liking and following other people’s work. It’s a symbiotic relationship when everyone works together in cyberspace.
It’s also important to emerge from behind the computer and network in-person. Attend as many relevant social gatherings as possible. This is also a chance to see people out of their usual professional environment, and they may be more at ease and inclined to be friendly.