28 October 2013, by A. Cedilla
The level of technology accessible to people today has certainly let single proprietorships flourish. Solo-preneurs can make their mark on their own website, or manage sideline businesses on virtual marketplaces like Etsy and Artfire for the crafters, or eBay, Craiglist and Amazon for anyone wanting to sell particular items.
The other half of the paradox fueling this phenomenon is that nobody ever really does it alone. Businesses have always needed customers, yes, but nurturing successful customer relationships is only part of the whole network. Establishing the network itself takes all kinds — technical support from your internet provider, for example, and your web-host team. Then there’s stuff like suppliers, delivery services, payment processing, security in terms of information protection (back-up and encryption) and keeping financial details secured, then there’s financial services (yes, credit lines are important, even if you’re keeping it ‘in the family’ — if not also keeping one with actual banks.)
Nobody does it alone. In tough times, relationships help us keep afloat and somewhat sane. In tech times, relationships still help us survive, and when we use them to help others up, we end up helping the whole network get better.
Strong networking gets you the following:
- More people in the pool of knowledge anchors (experts) and exposure to experiences that sharpen your own skills.
- More exposure to practice your own people skills. One notable personal skill to have, one that many experts say ranks above technical skills (which can be addresses with training) is getting along with different types of people. Emotional intelligence is just as, if not more, important as the skill sets needed to run the nuts-and-bolts side of running your own enterprise.
- More opening to help other people up, and get the chance to be helped up as well. It’s not ‘just business’, it’s personal. You take the risk of getting out there, and in learning things about people, you also learn about yourself. You can grow as a person as well as grow a sense of community and connection. This affects all the areas of your life, not just the facets covering making money.