People do business with people they know, like and trust. Building relationships, however, takes time and effort. Even so, relationships are fundamental to growing small businesses, and entrepreneurs should never lose sight of that.
At small business accelerator Property Point, a Growthpoint initiative, relationships are considered to be so fundamental for building sustainable small companies that they are one of its three pillars: Risk, Reputation and Relationships.
“The obvious relationships that a small business wants to nurture are those with clients, funders, suppliers or mentors. While less apparent, when you are building a business from the ground up, the power of peer networking is invaluable,” says Desigan Chetty, Head of Operations at Property Point.
“Entrepreneurship can be an isolating journey, but you don’t have to go it alone. Having a strong peer network can help you as a business owner, and support you with referrals, advice or even just an empathetic friend to meet for coffee after a long week. Connections with other entrepreneurs whose values, focus or field aligns with your own can become the basis for formidable relationships.”
But, where do you make these connections?
Many business incubators assume that entrepreneurs will collaborate, but this generally that doesn’t happen on its own. We have seen that small black businesses specifically don’t talk to each other. Perhaps it is because they view each other as competition rather than as peers,” notes Chetty.
Peer networking platforms are an excellent way of gaining access to introductions and making connections. The one offered by Property Point, Entrepreneurship To The Point, and is also one of South Africa’s longest running small business networking platforms.
Entrepreneurship To The Point is about informing, equipping and inspiring entrepreneurs from various walks of life to reach their full potential. Its insightful monthly networking sessions run over 10 months every year – from February to November. They facilitate access to useful information, knowledgeable people, and resources to help along every step of the entrepreneurial journey.
Each month, expert guest speakers discuss pertinent topics with a focus on providing practical, real-world information, and sharing tools and tips that can be implemented straight away. The sessions are open to all entrepreneurs, whatever industry they may be in, and the benefits are huge.
By throwing up a topic and inviting conversation, these peer networking sessions help get aspirant young business people talking to each other, share similar experiences, and break down barriers.
“Investing in skills, compliance, and services are essential for building sustainable small businesses, but the human side of doing business and the relationships we invest in are equally important. Peer networking offers guidance from a place of shared experience, and the opportunity to reciprocate and become a leader in the process. It catalyses networks that galvanise people around opportunities,” says Chetty.
The first Entrepreneurship To the Point Session of 2019 will be held on Thursday 21 February and you can find more details on Facebook at Entrepreneurship To The Point, Twitter at @eToThePoint and www.ettp.co.za.
Business Essentials is Africa’s premium networking and business directory.
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