5 People You Need to Meet If You Want to Start a Business

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Meeting people is one of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur. While it’s certainly possible to start a business on your own, it’s almost impossible to advance far without people in your corner helping you along the way, in one way or another.

The types of people you meet, and how you keep them in your circles, will have a massive impact on how successful your business is.

Why Other People Are Fundamental to Your Success

There are actually several ways that meeting new people can help you become more successful:

· Partnership. For starters, you could find people who you can work with directly, in the business overall or in one specific dimension of the business. For example, you may find someone to start a business with, someone to hire, or you may find a vendor or supplier to make your business run smoother.

· Resources. You may also get to meet people who have connections to major resources, like publishers at media establishments. This can give you new opportunities you would otherwise miss out on.

· Knowledge. New people always know things that you don’t know. Talk to them for a little while, and you may be able to learn a new skill, a new concept, or just flesh out an idea you’ve had in the past. There’s always new information to gain.

· Connections. Every new person you meet will have his/her own network of contacts, increasing your range of potential connections many times over. It gives you more potential ways to achieve any of the benefits above, with even more new people in your extended range of contacts.

Types of People to Meet

These are the best types of people to meet, for any of the above functions:

1. The mentor. The mentor is someone who has done what you’re doing — sometimes, many times over. They have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that you don’t have, and will be able to help you out of a number of problems with advice, resources, and new insights. As an added benefit, most people in a “mentor” position already have an extended network of different contacts, which you’ll be able to tap into for any of your needs. There are many key places to find mentors, all of which have advantages and disadvantages.

2. The community maven. One of the best ways to build a reputation and tap into your local market is to meet people who already have a reputation in your local area. There are two main benefits to this. First off, you’ll gain the secondary reputation advantage of being associated with this community influencer — they could share your material and give it a huge boost or send new social media followers your way. Second, they’ll be able to recommend resources, opportunities, and contacts for your needs.

3. Peers. Peers are also good to meet, even though they won’t have as much experience as mentors or as much influence as mavens. These are other business owners and professionals in your area trying to do the same things you’re trying to do. Since they occupy a similar niche, their network of contacts is likely to be highly valuable to you (and in turn, yours will be valuable to them). They’ll also be facing most of the same problems and opportunities as you, so you’ll be able to work together to find solutions and new directions.

4. Local talent. The benefit of local talent is that you’ll find people already skilled in one key area (or more) who are already connected into your region. You can find these people freshly out of college, starting businesses of their own, or even working under other entrepreneurs.

5. The investor. Every business needs working capital to get moving, even if you have a frugal business model. Unless you have a sum of capital to work with on your own, you’ll need to find an investor to build momentum or bail you out of tough problems. There are many key areas to find investors, including dedicated platforms and opportunities, but none are strictly better than others. Investors are also valuable sources of wisdom and connections — especially if they end up with interest in your business.

The problem with trying to meet these types of people is that nobody has a sign around their neck advertising what type of person they are. The solution to the problem is to meet as many people as possible, in as many contexts as possible.

You never know what someone is going to be able to offer you, or what you’ll be able to offer other people, so it’s in your best interest to diversify your new meetings as much as you can.

CEO of EmailAnalytics (emailanalytics.com), a productivity tool that visualizes team email activity, and measures email response time. Check out the free trial!

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