So, I just met you, and this is crazy…

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As SeamBLiSS moves along the “legit startup” track toward the start of the accelerator next week, it’s got me wondering: what is the most important skill an aspiring entrepreneur can have? I’m sure we’ll get a crash course in this during the accelerator, but still, I feel like we need to know NOW. Is it raising capital? Writing an amazing business plan? Brewing coffee? Seriously, somebody tell me!!

Actually, I think plenty of people have already told me. Pretty much every article, blog post, advice column, etc. that I’ve read about entrepreneurship, or even just about business in general, has said the same thing: NETWORKING is the most important skill in your business arsenal!

We’ve all heard the stories: people who’ve found their dream jobs through networking connections, people who’ve found their biggest sales clients through networking, even people who met their spouses through friends of friends! Obviously, these connections can be quite powerful!

However, networking is also harder than it looks. If you’re like lil’ old me, it’s not that easy for you to walk up and strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, even if you know you should! I always feel like I don’t know what to say to start out, and am also kind of worried about coming off like a jerk, especially if I’m asking for a potential investment!

Fortunately, I think networking might be one of those things for which “practice makes perfect”. We at SeamBLiSS had the privilege of attending a networking event for the TechLaunch accelerator program on Monday, and it was a really great way to just “jump right in” to talking with mentors and possible angels. Everyone we spoke to was incredibly supportive, and gave us some great advice! Also, I definitely started to get more comfortable with the whole networking thing as the event went on.

So, if you’re nervous about networking, my advice is to just start doin’ it! You’ll never get better until you start trying! Remember: practice makes perfect, in sports and in business!

Be sure to check back here soon for more Adventures in Entrepreneurship!

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One response to “So, I just met you, and this is crazy…”

  1. Kathleen says :

    I think the most important thing to have is something another party sees as having value. One could only get that job if they had skills. One can only meet a future spouse if considerations were congruent. Moreover, if one has mad skills or considerable assets, one needn’t network much at all because people will seek you out.

    Be wary of confirmation bias. How many meet ups were unsuccessful? One hears less of those yet those are easily the vast majority of results. Of those that succeed, the outcome is tied to the luck of a fortuitous meeting when it all would have been for naught had the person not been prepared to be in the given situation and or not having had the skills or resources to follow through.

    The second most important thing is to circulate in circles where one aspires to belong. Rather than being fortuitous or a matter of serendipity, contacts can be acquired by intent and design. As Paul Graham says, “stay upwind, work on things that maximize your future options.” It is best to hang where people you aspire to rub shoulders with go to resolve their own problems. Seriously.

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