One of the top bits of advice any experienced entrepreneur will tell you is how important “who you know” is in the success equation. The importance of collaborating with like-minded business owners — especially those who know more than you do — cannot be overstated.
It’s so important to limit the connections you have with people who get in the way of your goals. Of equal importance is seeking out and finding those who can help you overcome the hurdles that will get in the way of those ambitions. Hurdles including information, networking and financial woes.
Making connections with other business owners and those who work for them can foster lucrative partnerships. Smart networking also offers marketing opportunities for your startup you might otherwise never find. Luckily, there are a number of social sites that have cropped up over the years, which offer entrepreneurs a networking base to make necessary connections with those who work in business.
Just as the name suggests, Meetup is all about meeting up with people. The idea is simple, yet the networking opportunities offered can put you in touch with people with very complex interests. Interests including tech (all kinds), sports, entertainment, fashion, social issues, and career and business networking meetup events.
Whether you want to learn more about entrepreneurs or consumers in your industry, need to find influencers for marketing purposes, or wish to collab with like-minded business folk, Meetup can help put you in touch with people near and far from your geographic location.
CoFoundersLab is an interesting platform that offers a lot of options for startup founders to network with other professionals. When you first sign in, you’ll be asked about your main interest on the site: finding a cofounder; becoming an adviser to startup founders; or simply networking to find side projects, part-time jobs, or opportunities for mentorship from others.
After filling out a comprehensive profile on your interests, skills, and traits you want to find in others, you’ll be plugged into one of the most powerful online startup networking platforms. The knowledge-base is very complete, and the daily user-base is extensive and constantly growing. While sites like FounderDating offer good networking opportunities too, CofoundersLab owns them and has absorbed many other competitors over the years — meaning you needn’t go any further than this site if you wish.
The great thing about Startups Anonymous is that it currently doesn’t require a paid membership, though you can help them out via Patreon if you wish. This sharing site allows you to anonymously share your startup story, and ask and answer questions. While questions can be asked anonymously, users are free to message the question authors — even though they’re not obliged to answer if they don’t wish to.
The site has a Reddit/Quora feel with the question and answer format, and aspiring founders can read through tons of new and old posts asking questions from the common to off-the-beaten-path type of questions weighing on entrepreneurs. The AMA section of the site is all but dead, but the other sections are full of golden startup nuggets — and cheeky entertainment too!
Micromentor may well deserve to be first on this list of top networking sites for startup founders. One of the most difficult challenges to overcome for any founder is finding a mentor to guide them along the path they’re embarking upon. Micromentor specializes in bringing mentors and mentees together in one place.
Just click onto the site and you’ll immediately see the potential it has. Simply create a profile and start reaching out to their bevy of mentors. If you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you can mentor people on the site. Micromentor encourages its members to talk directly on the phone. This place is all about fostering entrepreneurial dreams and accelerating startup growth.
AngelList is one of, if not THE most established platform on this list. They specialize in virtually every stage of the startup process, including employee recruitment, partnerships, incubators, helping determine valuations, and finding investors. For investors, AngelList is a great platform for finding suitable startups to invest in.
While the site is heavily focused on the job finding/recruitment and investing side of startups, the very best and biggest angels on the planet frequent the site. Networking opportunities abound, and it’s also a great place to diversify your personal portfolio, as you can invest in several startups at once with a single one-time investment.
The 5 sites mentioned above are, in my opinion, the very best networking sites to get your entrepreneurial feet wet with. By no means are they the be-all, end-all. Here’s the rest of the sites mentioned in the accompanying infographic – brought to you by Wrike project management software and tools: