How to Build the Best Network Possible for Your Business

Apoptosis Network (alternate)One of the best ways to grow your startup is to build and then leverage your network. In this instance we aren’t talking about the computer network you’ve built up in your office, we’re talking about the network of business contacts and relationships that you will build up over time. You can’t become successful without one.

First, you have to understand that every startup has bugs in the system, especially in the beginning. While you might hope to gloss over them, it is more likely that you are going to have people complaining and maybe even filing some BBB complaints against you. This, believe it or not, can potentially be a good thing. It gives you a chance to show that you take all feedback, positive and negative seriously. Working to resolve these complaints in a positive fashion is one of the best ways that you will not just retain your clients but add them to your network as well.

It is important to see your network as an ever growing and evolving system. Just because you haven’t had a lot of contact with someone in a while does not mean that you can’t still work with them or ask them for help when you need it. The best way to reconnect with “older” network members is by asking if you can send business referrals their way. This shows that you are still interested in a symbiotic relationship and makes it less awkward if you do find yourself needing to ask that person for a favor later on. Even if you find that you aren’t as reliant upon them, referring your own clients and buyers to them is a good way to keep the lines of communication open.

This means, though, that you need to be working to build a network not just within your own niche and market but within the niches and markets that are complementary to yours. This helps you build relationships that are mutually beneficial to the both of you without either of you having to worry about sending business to a direct competitor and potentially losing that sale.

At the same time, sending business to your direct competitors is a great way to build up your reputation within your niche and market. It shows that you care more about the customer than your bottom line. It also shows that you are a team player. People will be more likely to refer their overflow clients to you when you do the same for them.

The thing you need to remember about networking is that it is about building, not tearing down. You can be cut throat and opportunistic within the business world but you probably won’t build a good network that way. If you truly want to succeed, having a good and reliable network is really important.

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