HOW LAUNCHING A STARTUP IMPROVED MY NETWORKING CAPABILITIES
My name is Peter Schou Petersen. In September 2017, I began my master’s degree in International Business Communication at Copenhagen Business School. In the very same month, I founded my company SearchZoo, a digital marketing agency.
Prior to launching my company, I was not much of a networker. Boy, did I change.
The different hats a sole founder have to put on
Being a sole founder is comparable to writing your bachelor’s assignment on your own. There are several reasons why it is recommendable to have a partner. Knowledge sharing, support, and being a part of a team are some of them.
As a sole founder, you have to put on different hats. Distributing tasks isn’t an option at this stage, why it’s up to you to pull up your bootstraps, crack your knuckles, and do what needs to be done.
Thus, you are running accounting, sales, operations, marketing and more at the same time. Some of these tasks you will find interesting and funny, and some just the opposite. Likely, you will face failures and successes in most of them. You learn from this, step out of your comfort zone, and grow.
That is what I did.
Talk with anyone about anything
Getting used to continue stepping out of your comfort zone, you increasingly interact and reach out to new potential business partners. It can be done through e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, voluntary associations, work-related networks, and personal relations.
SearchZoo is a B2B-company, why I engage with different clients across different industries with different priorities, though the target group is small and medium-sized businesses. 2 clients are never alike. For this reason, I must be able to adapt my approach to each individual client.
Adapting language, directness and structure are vital. With some clients, you must be patient and establish trust as decision-making processes are slower, e.g. when engaging with a municipality. With other clients, you can reveal your intentions, e.g. when engaging with a partnering agency or an open-minded dentist.
Eventually, you learn how to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Be that C-level or not.
Put yourself in their shoes
The pay-offs of learning how to put yourself in another person’s shoes are truly worth it. If you can relate to people, it is easier for you to understand their reality and eventually do business with them. You become likeable in the eyes of other people – and why not? You just seem to understand them!
Personally, I have found that being genuine, an active listener, and helping people to help you, will take you a long way. If you are able not only relate to other people but also create a scenario beneficial for both parties, you will have improved your networking capabilities and also started to reap the fruits of just these capabilities. Good for you!
Thus, the importance of continuously improving your networking capabilities cannot be overrated. So, put yourself out there! And moreover, feel free to reach out to me through our website or connect with me on LinkedIn 😉