The power of networking
- By Zoe Jackson -
- Jun 11, 2012
Is networking all it's cracked up to be? Here's a guest blog on the power of networking...
Networking is something I began to take seriously last year when I started to develop my business, the Living the Dream Performing Arts Company. I started it six years ago when I was 16 and by the time I graduated from university in 2010, my brand had become quite well known.
Then, last May, I stumbled upon Virgin Media Pioneers, an online network for young entrepreneurs. After networking in the community for only a month, I had made myself known and Virgin Media Pioneers selected me as one of three young entrepreneurs to take part in Richard Branson’s Control Shift campaign to launch the Youth Enterprise Loan (now referred to as Start Up Loans).
After numerous events, from speaking on a panel with Richard Branson at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to lobbying David Cameron and Vince Cable, the Start Up Loans became a reality when they were announced in the 2012 budget with a £85 million scheme to support young entrepreneurs with great business ideas.
Through the Virgin Media Pioneers network, I was not only able to help them make the Start Up Loans happen, but also, to promote and grow my own business, making some brilliant contacts along the way. Since pitching my ideas to the CEO of Virgin Media, they have now selected Living the Dream to produce an interactive on-demand Dance App on their revolutionary TiVo service.
Business success has a lot to do with luck. However, I sincerely believe that the power of networking - getting out there, talking to people and building relationships - have helped make this luck happen. I have been known throughout my career for asking too many questions, sometimes challenging ones. Have the confidence to ask for advice or potential contacts, even to someone you met five minutes ago, you never know, their help or connections could be invaluable.
Networking isn’t just about promoting your business, it’s about building and developing relationships with people and looking for opportunities to help and connect people - and although they might not be able to return the favour, unexpected opportunities have come from unexpected people.
Most importantly, I’ve learned from Richard Branson’s business philosophy, “Have fun, do good and the business will come”. I sincerely endorse his view that every business has a moral obligation to make a significant positive difference in today’s world. The key is to help others selflessly in any way you can, and the karma will return to you when you need it most.
I would certainly recommend to any entrepreneur that utilising networking at events and finding opportunities to meet the right people will have a significant impact on your business. See the Start Up Britain calendar of events for some great opportunities to network coming up.
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