How to Start Networking as a First-Time Entrepreneur?

Networking as a first-time entrepreneur can sound exhilarating because it will be your first experience meeting a lot of people with different backgrounds, values, and mindsets. For entrepreneurs, this is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be overwhelming and nerve-racking if you don’t have a clear goal in mind.

What is the purpose of networking?

As an entrepreneur, networking is vital as part of the journey. It is almost impossible for someone to build everything by themselves, but with the help of people around them. Here are some of the few benefits of connecting with new people:

  • Potential collaborations
  • New resources
  • Build credibility
  • Gain useful insights and knowledge
  • Genuine connections for support

Know who do you want to network with

For the first time around, when you’re about to start this journey of networking, always take account of the people you want in your network. Start by considering your purpose and the kind of people or groups from which you can gain the necessary support for fulfilling the purpose: industry experts, potential clients, investors, mentors, or peers sharing similar interests. Knowing your target network makes your focus clear; hence, you will be able to seek out events, forums, or platforms where these individuals will likely be found. It allows you to know the necessary people for your business and hence make relationships that are meaningful and mutually beneficial, thus creating your backdrop for entrepreneurial success.

Practice for a good first impression

An excellent first impression is the ability to network effectively as a new entrepreneur. Put more energy into improving your communication skills by practicing a pitch, making it short, dynamic, and ready to explain your uniqueness. Dress well, mind your body language, give a firm handshake, sit up straight, and smile genuinely when trying to influence others to be on your side. Be prepared by studying the people you want to connect with, as this will help you have factual and relevant conversations. Also, stay grounded, focus and be very interested in what the other party has to say. Actively listening will build rapport and, consequently, a positive first impression.

Get their name cards, use social media and follow up

Getting the contact information of the other party is important, as this will create the impression that you are interested in getting to know more about them and their business. To make it better, explain your intention to wanting to be in touch with them. For instance, your tech business would like to put in marketing efforts, and the other party has extensive knowledge and tools that you could leverage. Hence, they could provide valuable insights, tools, and resources to enhance your marketing campaigns, optimizing your strategies for better reach and effectiveness.

Networking brings benefits for both parties to start a conversation, ensuring continuity. Believe it or not, name cards are still relevant, and they are available in both physical and digital form. These name cards are especially effective when meeting in person. For the digital ones, it can directly link to their social media, and you will be able to connect with them on social media right on the spot. This also creates a great impression. It is up to you and them to decide which is preferred.

Attend events

Be it physical or online events, networking can occur on both. Attending seminars, conferences, workshops or industry events will increase the chance to meet a lot of people with various levels of expertise. Especially with face-to-face interactions, this is very powerful for making a strong connection and great first impressions. Attending various events will provide a lot of opportunities to meet potential business partners and clients, increase brand awareness, and stay up-to-date with the current industry. As result, first-time entrepreneurs expand their network, which can bring benefits to both their business and their own professional development.

Prepare for an elevator pitch

Be ready to introduce yourself and your business in a short, simple and concise way. It can be done as minimal as 30 seconds or a maximum to 1 minute-duration. This way, introducing your business will be more quicker whenever you are attending events, meetings with investors or even during casual encounter with influential people in social settings. Your elevator pitch should highlight what you do, why it’s important, and what you’re looking for (e.g., advice, partnership, investment). Since the elevator pitch only lasts less than a minute, make it compelling so that it can capture their attention and grow curiosity, and the conversation will keep on flowing.

You can also offer them value

In networking, it is a mutual connection and it is not just about seeing for insights and feedback, but also about giving something back in return. Given that you’re an entrepreneur yourself, they’ll also be interested in gaining something valuable from what you bring to the table. This is an opportunity for a first-time entrepreneur to just start networking to introduce their product or service offerings that might spark interest. Start by asking them, “Have you heard of…?” “What do you think of…?” and if they seem interested, then you can continue to further talk about how your business is doing. This is a subtle way to gauge interest and open the door to discussing your business further. By increasing curiosity, you will also be able to build meaningful and valuable discussions.


Starting to network as a first-time entrepreneur can be a daunting task, but with a clear understanding of your goals and a strategic approach, it can be a powerful way building connections, gaining insights, and driving business growth. By following the guide above, you can turn networking into a valuable asset that supports your business and personal growth, ultimately leading to greater success and fulfillment.

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