Making Connections to Start Your Own Business

I recently got asked a really great question on Ask Entrepreneur: Where do I get connected with people who can help me open a business?

Though there is evidence that business is currently on the rise and the economy is moving in a positive direction, the recent downturn in the economy prompted many people who found themselves unemployed to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and consider starting their own business.

This begs the question above–are there efficient ways to get in touch with people who can help you start your own business?

The answer is yes, and here are my three recommendations:

1) Go through your contacts and talk to people you personally know who have started a business. Set an appointment.  Let them know what you are doing and ask if they’d give you an hour of mentoring.  If possible, meet with them in person.  Show up with specific questions written out in advance.  Send them the questions prior to the meeting so they have a good understanding of what kind of information you’re looking for.  When you meet, focus on those questions, write down the answers, and stick to the time frame you promised.  If the conversation goes well, ask if you can meet with them in the future.  Follow this process with two or three people who have opened a business successfully.  I guarantee you will find this to be very valuable.

2) Find a business coach who has experience with start-up businesses. Hire them to coach you through the process.

3) Read, read, read!  There are a lot of books out there on opening a business. I have personally reviewed many of the books published by Entrepreneur Press on starting a business and they are excellent.  Go to EntrepreneurPress.com to see some of them.

I strongly encourage anyone genuinely interested in starting their own business to pursue the endeavor. I have owned my own business for almost thirty years (that’s a picture of me at top right, when I first started my company, BNI, and was running it from my house and garage with only one other employee in the mid ’80s) and it continues to be an amazing and fulfilling journey. I don’t think I would ever go back to working for someone else.

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8 thoughts on “Making Connections to Start Your Own Business

  1. Dear Mr Misner

    I am a membework between the group for Golden r of the UK BNI M20 Ashford Chapter and saw your blog on LinkedIn. I have actually just set up a company http://www.almas-estates.com based upon a Property and Lifestyle Power Team concept and the link on this website shows a list of consultants. These consultants I have secured via networking and they are listed as professionals in their own field but who will also hopefully bring business, for a referral fee, to my company. I will also refer business to them and facilitate power team meetings to secure Golden Referrals for each other.

    So, this is a prime example I feel of making connections to start a business.

    Thanks for all you have and are continuing to do re BNI. I have been a member for just 3 months and have won the best networkeing award for all three months for most referrals passed each month. It does work!

    Kind regards

    John Murray
    john@almas-estates.com

  2. This is great article and feedback on networking. Please dedicate more time to this subject as I believe its importance is one of the highest on the list for Entrepreneurs!

    I personally have found that making a plan months in advance to identify which events, mixers, vendor events etc.. and make a plan to attend well in advance to ensure you spend proper time meeting new people. I try to go to a minimum of one event per month and the connections I make are very valuable. I will add, that I notice your connections improve ten fold when you are consistent in showing up for the events sponsored/offered by the same chapter/organization as once people start to see you active over and over again they really start to see you as being involved and more and more people will want to get to know you. Try it you will be amazed after a few months!

    I have formed an informal network event group in NJ/NYC area and have 8-15 people attend to connect, share ideas over a cocktail or cigar. Amazing how well the networking goes for those who attend.

    We welcome entrepreneurs from all areas, entrepreneurs in the making are welcome too! Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested to learn more.

    contact: Brad
    LaunchBig@Gmail.com

  3. Ivan – Before I opened my law practice back in 1995, I spoke with multiple attorneys who had gone through the same process. We discussed everything from which person I should call to get my insurance to which software programs I would need. No one had told me about BNI yet or I would have gotten all of these products and services from my chapter members. 🙂 Speaking with these other attorneys, who had all been open for a number of years, made me feel much more confident that I could succeed.

  4. I especially love the thought on hiring a coach to help through the start up process. Too many new entrepreneurs think of a coach as something they’ll use, once they’re on their way. However, a good coach (one whose successfully built their own practice as well as helped others through the start-up process) will help them get “on their way” and to their destination faster and with a lot less pain.

    Although I love being an entrepreneur and am passionate about helping others take the leap, it isn’t for everyone. If someone is considering entrepreneurship I’d encourage them to hire a coach for a few months to help them decide that’s the right move and to get real about what that move means BEFORE pulling the trigger.

    Great thoughts Dr. Misner! I for one, am really glad you started your business, without your risk I might not have been given the opportunity to take mine. Thank you for providing the inspiration and the tools to follow through on it.

  5. Not only books, but blogs! There are hundreds of blogs across the web that offer such great advice for FREE! Like this very blog. 😉

    I make connections all through Twitter and Facebook. I know a lot of individuals who have started their own business – even my mom. Maybe I’ve just been lucky that way, but I guarantee at least one of your friends or family members knows an entrepreneur.

    Cool article! Owning your own business rocks!

  6. Fully agree with you Ivan! Talk to someone who is more successful than you are who owns a business. Hire a professional, such as a business coach, marketing coach, etc. I’d also say network with like-minded people who can teach you mistakes that only experience can show you.

  7. Great points Ivan – and Renia as well.

    I have been “psychologically unemployable” ie stubbornly independent and entrepreneurial the bulk of my adult life. Ultimately who you become in the process of building your business is the ultimate reward.

    Live With Intention,
    DrBillToth.com/blog

  8. Don’t forget about social media. Linkedin is a great place to make connections for the future. People are willing to give advice and assistance if they view you as a friend for the future.

    Linkedin is also a great place to scan Q&A and specific group discussions to learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know.

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