If there is one word that any and every college student has heard over and over again, it’s networking. Especially business students are frequently told that their key to thriving in the professional world is developing relationships with other professionals.
Is it worth it, though? What really are the benefits of developing a network for a college entrepreneurs?
Finding a Mentor
A college student might have the best idea in the world. Even then, they are still a student with limited professional experience. In addition, at no point does anyone in business know everything possible about their own and related fields.
As students, individuals are spending their time learning as much as they possibly can. When they run into a roadblock, they ask for someone with the knowledge to help. For instance, if they are stuck on an academic paper, they might turn to essay writing for help.
The same concept can be used as an entrepreneur. If an entrepreneur comes to a hurdle, they can ideally turn to someone more experienced than they are. Networking can help students find mentors to help them through.
Chances for Partnerships
There are a lot of benefits to joining in or changing your sole proprietorship into a partnership. For one, entrepreneurs may find that there are other professionals with skills complementary to theirs. This could be different specialties or a compilation of knowledge in the same field that leads to further innovation.
Building a Reputation
Someone can have the best idea in the world but if no one hears it, it won’t make a profit. Not to mention, it’s absolutely crucial to have a good reputation in a world where everyone’s life is available with an online search.
By meeting and interacting with other professionals, upcoming business figures can build a reputation for themselves. Not only is this great for gaining exposure, a good reputation helps your chances of working with other business entities such as potential suppliers and advertisers.
A big part of this is remembering that when you are interacting with another professional, that impression doesn’t stay with them alone. Instead, this impression reaches there associates and potentially those associates’ associates and so on and so forth.
To build a positive reputation, students won’t want to limit themselves to a simple introduction. A often suggested way to do this is to offer help to others. The goal is to show yourself to others as a force that they want and need rather than just exist in the same space as.
If a student were to work completely isolated, they are going to miss out on a lot of news. Particularly, they won’t hear about valuable opportunities to further themselves. This could be a partnership like discussed before or even word-of-mouth recommendations of the products or services you offer.
Increase Interpersonal Skills
Whether working with customers or other business people, interpersonal skills are critical to entrepreneurs. Unlike a business skill such as accounting or marketing, interpersonal skills have to be learned by practice.
For many, interpersonal skills are difficult to come by because it’s hard to push themselves out of their comfort zone and talk to strangers. However, the more someone commits to the practice of socializing with others, the better they will become at it.
This practice isn’t only helpful in teaching technical skills of socialization such as reading body language or turning a conversation. A big part of it is building a confidence that students will take with them to other areas of their professional life.
At the end of the day, networking isn’t something to be overlooked by students. Even if you are innovating and carving your own way in business, it’s important to have allies. When you are trying to build a business, it isn’t only about who you know but those connections are important.