Stronger together: the case for entrepreneurial networks

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Photo by Hans Peter Gauster, Unsplash

One of the terms used in the Accountable Care Act is Essential Health Benefits (EHB). Theoretically, EHB’s was put in place to cover the care people need. This same concept can be applied to the Essential Business Builder Tools. One of the most essential tools in building a business is not a thing, but people. Any city, large or small, has entrepreneurial communities. There is strength in numbers, as they say. If you haven’t tapped into the power of these networks, it’s better late than never.

The NIIC established four essential entrepreneurial pillars (The EHBs of entrepreneurship), which are access to: capital, talent, workspaces, and networks.

Here are 5 reasons to engage with fellow business builders:

1. Learn from each other.

Do you have anyone holding you accountable at work? Co-workers can be too close to the situation, which is why you should look to people outside your organization. Fellow entrepreneurs and business builders may recognize mistakes early on and help you get back on course. Sometimes it takes someone who has no personal stake in the business to tell you the truth and helps you avoid a total flop at the same time.

2. Compare notes by exchanging industry know-how.

While it helps to hear or read books and material from industry leaders, sometimes the best knowledge is ascertained from your peers firsthand. These exchanges about the “tips of the trade” will help you forge deeper connections with these people. They reciprocate and seek you out, which can boost your confidence.

3. Find or become a mentor.

In these circles of trust, people feel comfortable sharing their anxieties as well as hopes and dreams for the business. These conversations can develop into more formal relationships. Soon you might find that you’re acting as a de facto mentor or have someone to lean on yourself.

4. Make connections.

There’s a saying that people do business with people they know and like. Networking builds trust and confidence, making you a more attractive referral partner. Advertising may be one venue to grow your business in the short term, but face time can yield long term results.

5. Learn new transferable and marketable business skills.

You may be an expert in your domain but unfamiliar with other skills that can enhance your offering. Your community of B2B entrepreneurs can serve as a resource for professional development. For example, you might consider hosting a skill share summit where each person presents on an area of expertise so that everyone walks away with a takeaway they can apply to their business. Share your insights and knowledge through teaching, workshop facilitation and one-on-one interactions with others.

Not sure how to tap into the entrepreneurial community in Northeast Indiana? The NIIC can act as your liaison. We serve businesses at every stage, from aspiring entrepreneurs, startups and growing businesses, to high-performance companies and progressive nonprofit organizations ready to scale. Our goal is to give your venture a competitive edge and help it thrive. Regardless of how successful you’ve been, or what stage you are in your venture–your entrepreneurial network of professionals, peers and colleagues is enormously valuable.

With connections on local, national and international levels, working at The NIIC will expand your network connections to get you in contact with the right people at the right time.

Let us put our connections to work for you. Call one of our business concierges for an appointment with a business coach at 260-407-NIIC (6442).


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