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5 Must-Follow Networking Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

04/06/2016 03:24 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2016

If you were to ask most people who are successful in business or as entrepreneurs one thing they couldn't have skipped on their way to the top, they're likely to say networking. It's through networking that you build those connections that will prove to be invaluable to you throughout your life. Whether you're networking yourself or a product, it's not something that's avoidable, as mostly every successful person will tell you.

In fact, in many instances, the ability to network is one of the defining factors that separates successful entrepreneurs from those individuals who don't find success on the path to creating their own business.

The following are 5 must-dos if you're hoping to launch your brand or your business as an aspiring entrepreneur.

Don't Put Limits On Your Networking

When you're busy trying to build your business, you can find that you don't have time for everything. This can lead you to automatically cut out networking opportunities that you don't see as being relevant or valuable to you. Don't limit yourself in this way. You never know how or why someone or something will be valuable to you in terms of networking, so when you're presented with opportunities, take advantage of them. It can be the most surprising ones that also turn out to be most advantageous for a young entrepreneur.

Educate Yourself

You might not be able to thoroughly prepare yourself for every networking opportunity that comes your way, but there are some events you can study up on before you go. If you're going to a networking event, do a little research. Find out about who will be there, what their industry is about and maybe try to identify things you have in common. It never hurts to be prepared.

Get Organized

When you're a budding entrepreneur, and you're entering into the world of networking, you need to keep organized. It's just like anything else in your business, and you should approach it as such. Set-up a system for keeping track of contacts that become part of your network, and manage not just their names and their companies, but also make little notes for yourself as to how you met them or interesting things that could become relevant.

Observe

Networking isn't just about meeting contacts--it's also about surrounding yourself with people you want to emulate. When you're part of a networking event, observe what the successful people around you are doing, how they act and how they carry themselves. Any little insight or tidbits you can glean from being around successful entrepreneurs can help you along the way as well. You can learn how to conduct yourself in a more polished, professional way, which will be appealing to potential clients and partners.

Build a Network for the Sake of Building

Too often new entrepreneurs will view networking only as being valuable in that they "get something" from it. For example, they'll immediately reach out to a new contact to ask for help with something. This isn't the best approach. Instead, look at networking for what it is: just an opportunity to build connections with people. Eventually, you may receive help from a contact, but that shouldn't be your sole purpose going into it, particularly when you're just starting out as an entrepreneur.

Networking to Build Your Future

Being an entrepreneur-in-the-making is hard, but starting with a strong networking foundation can help you move forward more successfully. Take the five tips above and use them as part of your business strategy so networking can become one of your most valuable tools and resources.

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