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Entrepreneur Diaries: you aren’t working if you aren’t networking


August 26, 2013 1:52 by

By Adnan Karimjee, operations consultant with an extreme passion for startups.

At first, going up to somebody and striking up a conversation without any provocation frightened me. The fact is it still does. However, when immersed in the world of entrepreneurship, contacts and knowledge is the key to moving forward. Unfortunately…no strike that…fortunately, the only way to do that is by networking.

My first dose of the start-up world came from answering a classifieds advert. I was tired of the regular job postings on offer and this one really stuck out. Responding to it was probably the best thing I have ever done. As the more astute of you may have realised, it had nothing to do with networking.

However what came after that, where I am today and where I hope to be in the future, is all down to networking. I have met some amazing people and networking has changed my whole perspective on ‘judging a book by its cover’. Some of the brightest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with didn’t even have a business card when I first met them.

During the latter period of my first job, I took on (among other things) a business development role in sales – a department that I felt was way out of my comfort zone. In all honesty it boiled down to my fear of rejection. However, after my first few sales it became easier to get my teeth sunk into it. It was not something I looked forward to doing, but the experience proved a lot less painful.

My issue with networking ran parallel to my struggle with sales. Knowing I overcame that struggle made me dive into networking a lot less restrained. In fact, it helped me immensely because, at the end of the day, when you network you are selling yourself.

Today, I met all the people I have worked with through – yes you guessed it – networking. Allowing me to speak for myself rather than a piece of paper is definitely the way forward. So get out there and meet as many people as you can. You may not always meet your next big client, but I guarantee that the fringe benefits are just as rewarding.

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