Simply put, the business of fashion is fueled by art, commerce and contacts. And, as an entrepreneur, it’s important that you are able to balance a mix of these components. Networking is increasingly important because in the world of the digital consumer, human connections are still invaluable.
Keep in mind that there are a variety of networking events such as happy hours, Meetups, educational conferences, seminars, classes, talks and lectures to choose from to better suit your personality and comfort level. And, while it may be easy to stay in your space, get bogged down with other priorities or believe that networking isn’t one of your strengths, stepping out of your comfort zone is something that you should do for several reasons.
Develop your network
A strong network will help you accomplish your goals. You’ll have contacts to reach out to, information to share with one another and also build the support you need while you develop your venture. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or have a small and nimble team, you’ll realize that there are similarities amongst your peers that will allow you to feel like you are in it together.
Entrepreneurship thrives off of on-going learning and now, there are many outlets to seek this out. A talk, lecture or class can help you acquire a new set of knowledge or inspirational fodder that could impact your business all from just being in attendance. Plus, with so many resources and tools into the marketplace, it’s important to stay informed.
Bridge the offline and online worlds
There’s something to be said for putting a face to a name; especially since much of our communication is done through email or on social media. Networking allows you to bridge the online and offline worlds and bring a dose of humanity into the relationship. It then allows you to continue to grow that relationship digitally so it’s a win-win situation.
Seize the opportunity
There is so much opportunity to be had. Entrepreneurship is at a high and there are several organizations that understand the power of building communities. Plus, putting yourself out there can lead to a business contact, friend or strategic partnership. Or, it can be the gateway to pitching something new.
From a strategy perspective, this is one way to develop brand awareness because introducing yourself and talking about your business will help you stay top of mind with others and make your company relevant.
Adding networking to your marketing plan
One way to make networking a priority is to build it into your marketing calendar. Searching through online sources like Meetup and Eventbrite will help you find what’s in your area and other geographic locations if you’re traveling. You can set up a goal like committing to an activity once a month or quarter. This way, you can hold yourself accountable and be able to assess the outcome whether that’s learning something new, making a contact or building your confidence.
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