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Networking and Collaboration - Why Aren't You Doing This?
by Startacus Admin
Digital connections are stronger than ever, and more businesses are taking to an online format every day. This means that networking among startups has become increasingly more important – but also, incredibly easier.
What do you mean by networking? Simply put, talking with other businesses and possible investors, collaborating and even just getting inspiration where you can to help keep your startup fresh. Even if you have an amazing business model and idea, there’s ALWAYS room for improvement, and finding out from other businesses, especially more successful ones, is always a plus. By more successful, we don’t mean Richard Branson or Alan Sugar, it could just be a company who gets social media better than yours, or who can offer advice towards selling products online, because that’s something they’re already doing.
There’s no real point to this, how is talking to other businesses and investors going to change my already ‘perfect’ business? There’s no point in leaving an idea to stagnate; you wouldn’t sell stale milk, why try to sell anything else that’s stale? “Mmmm...Outdated services...Yay!” Said no customer. Ever. Even if your product is to become the next Facebook, or replace televisions forever, no one is going to want it if it’s just the same thing over time, especially today when the consumer only wants the next big thing. (The reason a startling amount of people spend obscene amounts of money on the newest iPhone, despite the main reason behind the upgrade, as far as they know, is a number and a colour scheme). In fact, evolution of products is arguably the reason we have the services and goods we have today. Radios became TV, which became OD and Streaming. Which came from, wait for it, discussing and working with other companies to maximise their products’ potential.
How can I network my startup? That’s the best part, Networking and Collaboration is becoming so easy thanks to the internet, that there are literally dozens of sites and companies you can find with a quick Google search, From crowdfunding giants who offer a feedback and discussion platform, to Startup communities with Collaboration spaces, intended to show off your ideas, as well as seek help from others, to make the goal of your business startup, a reality. Networking doesn’t even have to be online, geographically viable businesses also take part in this. For example, if a taxi company is situated near a bar, you’ll often find them networking to offer a new service to the patrons of both businesses, thus improving the intake for both bodies from customers using the combined works. They don’t even have to combine, from one entrepreneur to another, they may just have a really good idea they may just share.
Wouldn’t that just take away from my business or show off a business fault to another potential entrepreneur? Well, yes and no, if your primary business is one thing, but you branch into another, you always risk the new venture becoming more popular or even lucrative. Thus leaving the older product to wither, but as the entrepreneur, that’s up to you, if you take care of the original ventures. On the other side of the same coin though, the new venture could be a flop, and leave you with your original work. The key here is to avoid investing too much in it until it finds a footing, and more importantly if it’s a joint venture, make sure that if there is any risk of loss, that it’s split, and won’t endanger your entire business, due to an attempted venture going South. Of course, if that does happen,it’s not necessarily the end of the world. As for showing off a business fault, well look at it this way, if you network with a company that offers something different from yourself, they will probably know a lot less about your industry than you do. Therefore wouldn’t it be worth their time to try and muscle in? If however they do know the industry, then they know that you’re involved there and that you have your own customer base. It will all ultimately boil down to marketing and good business rather than the “who said what?” of a business collaboration.
Wouldn’t I need to have a business before networking? Absolutely NOT! You can network with entrepreneurs and businesses on most sites and even through contact, as long as you have a decent idea in your head. Investors are always interested to hear your ideas. Once you decide to start your business, and even beforehand, there’s never any harm in collaborating with other startups and businesses in order to get some ground floor ideas, as well as inspiration and maybe even some help with the whole process. Let’s face it; the startup community is pretty fantastic.
There you have it, the most basic pros of networking and collaborating, as well as the miniscule cons attached. Sounds good right? Why not pay a visit to our Collaboration Space and give it a try - you never know!
For More Information on Networking and Collaboration; Why not check out these other articles?
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.