” Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Helen Keller’s words will stand the test of time and always celebrate a pinnacle of our existence – working together in solidarity. When we do, we achieve great things beyond imagination and push humanity forward.
When I first became an entrepreneur, I thought it was all about being a one-man-band and was proud I could tackle all sorts of problems… one of many failures that turned me into the person I am today. I learned early on that the only way to build for success is to work with people who share a common vision, driven by the same passion.
If you ask any successful entrepreneur what their secret is, they’ll likely mention networks, teams, mentors, close friends, and peer support groups helping them along their journey. The power of their community/tribe provides a meaningful exchange of ideas and collaboration which helps them accelerate growth and eventually, achieve loftier goals.
I’ve been fortunate to rub shoulders with legions of successful people in various industries which gives me push-button access to answers when I need them.
How Peer Networks Build Stronger Businesses
True story, I was fortunate enough to exchange ideas and thoughts on Twitter with influencers hosting the 2017 National Entrepreneurship Week (powered by Microsoft). In fact, the experience inspired these three core reasons to never underestimate the power of being sociable.
- You CAN Build a Network of Trusted Advisors
Challenges are a dime a dozen when you play with entrepreneurship. But, and this is a shocker (not really), most people don’t think they have the skills necessary, or the personality, or drive, to rally an elite group around them.
Trust me, you can. Anyone can. Few take on the challenge though. First, “put yourself out there.” Meaning, just show up. After that it’s about being genuine, and doing what you can to be helpful to people that share a vision like yours.
By networking with other founders in possession of more experience and insight, not only will you have a support group of brilliant minds who can help you solve your problems – but also an opportunity for you to build TRUST by helping them over their hurdles.
- It CAN Be a Healthy Outlet to Vent & Learn from Mistakes
It’s stressful keeping all your rants to yourself. When I try doing that for too long something always gets broken in my office. It’s critical to have nonjudgmental support that helps put you in a maintained zen-like state to keep your creative-ambitious juices flowing.
Not only will you learn from your mistakes, but you’ll learn from others as well when you share your pain points – from raising capital, improving sales, a better marketing strategy, or negotiating equities. You can take notes from others or vice-versa. This will save you TIME when resources are limited.
Plenty of people don’t enjoy “drama” but entrepreneurs don’t fit into this group because we LOVE hearing about the trials, obstacles, and challenges of others. We put them into a file cabinet in our mind we can tap into at will when facing something similar.
- Networking Promotes Diversity
The entrepreneurial ecosystem, like ours, thrives on diversity. It needs to combine unlikely ideas, bring things together to create unique combinations and well, business-mutations, if you will.
By intentionally networking with folks outside your comfort bubble, not only are you helping close racial and gender gaps among entrepreneurs in your local community, but encouraging everyone to participate in making a difference as a business owner without prejudice. It also provides more opportunities to learn and work with people with unique skills-sets.
At the end of the day, whether you build your own peer support group or join one, it simply feels good to help and be appreciated for the value you’re sharing. It’s like a chemical reaction, that feel-good endorphin rush that overwhelms you when you do something good, no matter how small.
Now, before we dive into all the neat MeetUp groups, I want to give a special shoutout to local entrepreneurs in Cleveland. If you’re in the neighborhood, or expect to be, feel free to stop by and hangout. IT’s a great city – Cleveland Entrepreneurs Meetup
U.S. Entrepreneur & Networking Meetups
If you’re crazy enough to not live in Cleveland, here are some links to entrepreneurial & networking-focused Meetup groups from popular cities in the U.S and around the world. If one’s close by and you could get involved, what’s holding you back?
New York Entrepreneurs
- Ilana Eberson – The NYC Business Networking
- Ari Shamash – Google NYC Tech Talks
- NY Tech Meetup
- Julia – Free NYC!
- Andy Troy – New York Creative Socials
- Joanna Allen – Top NYC Friends
- Trang To – New York Entrepreneurs & Startup Network
Los Angeles Entrepreneurs
- Rolando Marin Jr – LAFC Group
- Zach Sekar – LA Tech Happy Hour
- James Miller – Network After Work
- Marina Z – SM New Tech
- Barry Craine – Los Angeles Hiking Group
- Brett Greene – New Tech Seattle
- Eric – Seattle Volunteers
- Brent DaPron – Seattle Outdoor Adventurer’s Meetup
- Jeremy R – Pacific Northwest Hiking & Adventure Group
- Saul_K – Seattle Get Up, Get On Out
- Ralph – 20’s/30’s
San Francisco Entrepreneurs
- Joe Robinson – Designers + Geeks
- Todd Holloway – SF Data Mining
- Logan (mylo) Johnston – SF Free School
- Mandy Ivy – Tech in Motion SF
- Rob – Silicon Valley Startup
- Tammy Lee – SF Data Science
- Steve Stone – Creative Connections
- Josh Churlik – Denver Founders
- Jason Knoll – Startup Meetup
- Rima & Rodney – There’s a New Kid in Town @Denver
Other US States
- (Las Vegas) Paul – LV Entrepreneur Business Network
- (Boston) Chris Requena – Boston New Technology
- (Detroit) a2geeks
United Kingdom Meetups
- Patrick M. Powers – Entrepreneurs in London
- Irfan Khalil – Startups, Entrepreneurs and Investors
- Peter Evans – Business Networking and Growth
- Amiel – Young Professionals in London
- Prabir Saha – Entrepreneur, Personal Growth and Networking Mind
- Armin – Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub
- Scott Handsaker – Startup Victoria
- Phil Brierley – Data Science Melbourne
- Scott – 30+ Professionals
- Sally A Curtis – Adelaide Personal & Business Development Group
- Rob Horkings – Entrepreneurs In Adelaide
Hong Kong Entrepreneurs
- Josephine – Multi-Networking Business Community
- Jonathan Greechan – Startup Founder 101
- Gentleman Zhao – The Hong Kong Expats
You get it, networking is important – nay, critical even. It bears repeating though, a ton, to really get it into the modern entrepreneur’s mind that it’s much more than social media, or just saying hi, or just bringing people together…it’s creating strong communities with a shared vision ready to make the change they wish to see in the world. See you around!
Followup Challenge: Tons of people haven’t yet discovered local Meetup groups. Have you used them before, or perhaps even hosted a similar kind of meeting yourself? Please, briefly, in the comments below let our readers know what you love (or dislike…nothing’s perfect) about them. Thanks so much.