5 Ways Networking Pays Off When You’re Raising Capital

“We have deep depth.” – Yogi Berra

This is the seventh article in our Capital Access series.

We began when last winter’s snow was deep on the ground. Our first topics were heavy lifting ones. We talked about the financial side of raising capital—matching milestones to capital needs, being tight-fisted with cash, taking personal financial risk and bootstrapping.

Then, as winter moved to spring and baseball season began, we’ve been channeling the wisdom of the great Yogi Berra.

His quotes helped us express the importance of setting up a process from day one for due diligence. We’ve encouraged entrepreneurs to seek out trusted advisors and listen to what they have to do. And we’ve recommended cost-effective ways that a company can toot its own horn.

Tom Walker – President & CEO of TechColumbus

Now, in the dog days of summer, with the baseball season half over and the Cubs in last place, we’d like to lighten up a bit and talk about one of the best and most uplifting aspects of entrepreneurship—networking. Purposeful, results-yielding, and, yes, fun networking.

1. “Warm” leads yield better results than cold calls. When it comes to finding early adopters, paying customers, or the right new hire or service provider with the skills your company needs, introductions and referrals are an entrepreneur’s lifeline. Investors favor startups that have customers and a strong team.

2. Networking helps expand limited resources. In entrepreneurship, limited resources is the name of the game. Human relationships are a terrific way to fill in the gaps in your experience or knowledge—especially in Central Ohio where so many individuals and organizations stand ready to help entrepreneurs succeed.

3. Experienced investors invest in people more than business plans. Assuming that you are a coachable, approachable, entrepreneur—and you’d better be if you want to attract investment capital—networking can create opportunities for potential investors to get to know you personally before you present your business plan.

4. Networking is a great way to multi-task. Every time you interact with another human being is a chance to network. With a networking mindset, entrepreneurs can recognize opportunities to connect every day. Sometimes it’s the day-to-day connections that produce the most startling and unexpected business results.

5. Feeling connected feels good. People feel connected when they have something in common. Being a company founder can sometimes be a lonely path. It helps to be part of a community.

And that brings me back to Yogi’s quote. The entrepreneurial community in Central Ohio does have “deep depth.”

We’ll be celebrating that on November 6, 2014 at VentureNEXT, an exciting new annual networking event for the region’s entrepreneurial sector hosted by TechColumbus.

The evening will be a collage of social connection and Startup/Entrepreneurial Awards. (Nominations are open.)

VentureNEXT is a wear-your-jeans and enjoy kind of event. There will be terrific local food, some drinks, tons of networking—and plenty of fun.

Whether you have a small stack of business cards on the corner of your desk or a thousand connections through LinkedIn, you won’t want to miss VentureNEXT.