Posted by:  | August 13, 2012 on Entrepreneur.com; picture taken by Mark Royce

 

When I started networking on behalf of Virgin Music –- meeting with agents, persuading musicians to sign with us, finding distributors -– it often involved swapping phone numbers scrawled on napkins. It was the ’70s, after all!

These days it’s much easier to connect with people who can help you launch and grow your business. Just think: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all provide opportunities for you to meet and interact with fellow entrepreneurs, experts in the field and innovative newcomers. However you go about making connections, from the very first moment you begin to realize that your idea is worth pursuing, the first step on the road to success is building a network.

To get started, attend industry events and meet key players; join regional business associations and start learning about local market conditions. Also remember that you can meet potential mentors at schools, clubs and business groups. Someday, when you get stuck or when something goes wrong, these contacts will be the people you’ll turn to for help. (Finding investors is a step that follows: People buy from people, so if you’re limited in terms of who you can access, talk to and sell to, well, you probably won’t get very far.)