Wednesday, November 9, 2011

7 Ways to Build Your Entrepreneur Support Network

Tina C. Wells
Everyone needs a network of people they can count on, in both in their personal lives, and in business. For entrepreneurs especially, these support networks can make the difference between feeling like you’re out there on your own, to being deeply connected to other entrepreneurs and having a team of friends, advisers or partners to turn to when you’re not sure which direction to go. 
Here are seven tips for building the ultimate network to support your entrepreneurial goals.

CREATE A SMALL GROUP OF FIVE LIKE-MINDED ENTREPRENEURS. You may have already heard of these “mastermind” groups. But what do you call a group for those who haven’t yet mastered something? Call it whatever you like, but build one — quickly. Make sure that the four other people you engage don’t have competing businesses, and think of ways you can help each other. I know of groups that meet monthly and each member has to come to the meeting with at least one lead for another member of the group. Also, be mindful of time. You’re all very busy entrepreneurs, so don’t schedule more than 60 to 90 minutes once each month.

JOIN SOCIAL CLUBS. It’s important to build your personal network, and joining social clubs is a great way. Not only will you be exposed to great events, you’ll also meet potential clients, employees, and friends. Check out clubs like the Union League for “Young Friends” memberships, as well as the Young Friends clubs at your local museums, orchestra, and ballet.

JOIN ASSOCIATIONS. If you’re a female entrepreneur, look into local chapters of the National Association of Women Business Owners. If you are starting a plumbing company, check out the local chapter of a national plumbers association. You’d be surprised how many fields have associations. You can receive great product discounts, invitations to great conferences, and a network of peers. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, so cultivating a group of peers is important. And of course, there is the newly formed Young Entrepreneur Council (I’m a board member!).

Read more tips from Tina C. Wells at:

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