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Networking for survival

How networking can create extraordinary opportunities for your business

How smart networking can help you get great advice, get funding and grow as a business. “Succeeding in Business is all about making connection” Honorary President of E2Exchange.

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Networking for survival

With a community of over 12,000 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, investors, non-execs and partners, E2Exchange’s Founder and CEO Shalini Khemka shows you why you shouldn’t skip your next networking drinks.

E2E is a community of the UK’s most established entrepreneurs, sophisticated investors, world-class providers and experienced non-executive directors. Alongside our Honorary President Sir Richard Branson, we work to connect individuals and their companies with opportunities for growth.

I have long held a passion for entrepreneurship. Whilst working in investment banking in the 90s, my idea for a cutting-edge internet finance business was turned down by the powers that be. Despite this setback, I believed in my company, and I believed in my own chances of making this venture work. Having met three former Managing Directors of Deutsche Bank and shared my plans, we formally co-founded the company in 1999. We sold the business to a hedge fund in 2004.

Without taking the opportunities to meet with the people who would share my vision and develop my business, I would never have had nearly as much success. Making the right connections has proven, time and time again throughout my career, to be invaluable.

Making the right connections for your business

At a time of incredible uncertainty for the British economy in the run up to the Brexit vote, the inevitable set-backs and unforeseen hurdles that most, if not all, businesses experience are only exacerbated. There has never been a better time to make that extra effort to safeguard your company’s future with new people and the opportunities they bring.

Effective networking will help to overcome your company’s barriers to growth in 3 key ways:

1. Getting advice from those in the know

Often the largest challenge facing a hard working entrepreneur is the lack of opportunity or time to discuss, share and resolve the issues and opportunities with people who have faced them before.

Rather than tackling these challenges alone, successful entrepreneurs take a proactive approach and seek out guidance from their peers. Simply put, asking another business leader about the choices they have previously made, and what they would do differently next time, can provide unparalleled insight at very little cost.

Likewise, asking for guidance gives an entrepreneur exposure to opposing, or even devil’s advocate views. With this intelligence, business leaders can evaluate their own strategies and review the way in which their businesses are run.

Asking for advice shows that you are realistic about the state of your business, recognise its limitations, and are making practical steps towards tackling those hurdles. Exactly the kind of entrepreneur that others will want to work with in the future.

2. Seeking and obtaining financial support

Many ventures fail, not due to the skills or strength of the idea driving the business but factors such as the wrong financial advice, poor property or contracts and restrictive cash flow.

Ventures that do succeed have used networking opportunities to encounter as many funding and support options as possible, and can therefore manage the risk of poor finances. The more individuals and companies you meet whilst looking for financial backing, the more likely you are to come across the funding options that will best serve your business’ needs.

Whether you are looking for an investment, a partnership, a joint venture or something else, the UK has more opportunities than ever before.

Through my work with E2E’s entrepreneurs, I am seeing an unprecedented amount of investment coming from key growth areas to the UK. Notably, entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley have made London their second home, both to invest and work here themselves. Technology is expanding numerous industries like never before, and now is the time to get to know our peers and talk finances.

3. Finding people who fit your vision, mission and values

Leaders in companies scaling rapidly need to learn to cope quickly with changing demands, but many struggle to develop their managerial and leadership talent.

If your venture is going to be successful, the people working alongside you not only need to excel in their field, but truly fit the ethos of the business. Networking events are my number one way of recruiting talent for your team, and finding the right mix of personalities, skills and experience to make up your Board of Directors.

This is because networking and events allow positions to be filled naturally, when the right person comes up, rather than applying arbitrary deadlines to get a role filled. Likewise finding people in this way tends to produce talent who are more invested in the company’s ambitions, and therefore more able to adapt in their role as the business changes.

And for all the people you don’t recruit during the networking process, you gain exposure for you and your business, which could lead to growth opportunities in the future.

Above all, after meeting an interesting individual for any of the reasons above, it is vital to follow up.

Maintaining well matched connections, and lending your hand to their causes where possible, is a sure-fire way to stay visible and engaged with likeminded people and ideas. Without these connections, your business will not grow as quickly as it should.

So stop putting it off, accept that Outlook invite, and get talking. With thousands of events up and down the country hosted by E2E and others, the next opportunity for your business could only be an introduction away.

E2Exchange is hosting a National Reception on the 16th of June with one of the most influential Entrepreneurs in UK. This is our largest event of the year where circa 300+ entrepreneurs from scale-up businesses come together to network, exchange ideas, and take part in a detailed discussion regarding the entrepreneurial journeys of several highly talented and successful entrepreneurs. Among these are Sir Tom Farmer CBE, Founder & CEO, Kwikfit, Hilary Devey CBE, Founder, CEO & Chairman, The Pall-Ex Group, & Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL, Co-Founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer. Please find more invormation Link to the here

E2Exchange - The Power of Networking