Learning Objectives

14-1: Explain the role of networks in building social capital.

Networks provide social capital such as access to sources of financing, information, expertise, and support; and networks can be excellent sources for loyalty. They allow for learning and information exchange; and social capital enables access to a range of resources, including venture capitalists, angel investors, advisors, banks and trade shows.

14-2: Demonstrate the value of networks for entrepreneurs.

Relationships are key to business success, and entrepreneurs in particular will need to skillfully interact with a vast array of stakeholders. Networks provide entrepreneurs with access to private information, diverse skillsets, and power. Networks can also be relied on for personal and emotional support.

14-3: Describe different ways of building networks.

Building a network extends beyond socializing with friends and acquaintances, and it often involves active participation in organized networking events. In a new relationship, it is better to give value to get value; value is a two-way game.

14-4: Illustrate the benefits of virtual networking.

Social media sites and other forms of virtual networking provide additional channels to meet or interact with stakeholders from the world over. Entrepreneurs have a number of different virtual communities in which they can participate, with many communities offering access to a specific subset of interests in entrepreneurship. Common social media platforms like Facebook also contain groups that are similar in fashion to online entrepreneurship communities.

14-5: Explain how networking can help to build the founding team.

One of the most valuable things an entrepreneur can do is connect with individuals who serve as great complements on a founding team. Research even suggests that team-started ventures are more successful than solo-founded ventures. Networking skills can often be relied on as the means to that end.