Some of the best technology-enabled firms started with a few people in a basement. The importance of putting your nose down and getting to work cannot be overstated; however, networking and building a community should not be ignored by technologists.
Research released by the Economist Intelligence Unit, "Informal Innovation: Entrepreneurship and Informal Communities," reveals that professional networking and communities are vital for entrepreneurial success. In a survey of 1,000 entrepreneurs from 10 cities, active networking resulted in a positive impact on business performance.
For growth-oriented startups, networking can result in relationships that help scale your business more quickly. Attending and effectively engaging in networking opportunities can open doors for meeting influential partners, attracting new talent or growing your client base.
Your firm should not ignore the opportunity networking provides for free advice. Jon Levy, the founder of the Influencers Dinner and The Salon, urges professionals to use communities to ask people for opinions and insights. “Especially if you are new to an industry, it is important to know the players involved and the lay of the land.”
If you’re ready to “get your tech on”, you don’t need to go far to connect with other tech-minded professionals. Loudoun County continues to add new opportunities for the technology community to build relationships.
- Loudoun Tech Startups, a monthly meetup for learning more about best practices and opportunities for small/startup firms.
- Loudoun Tech Coalition, a Loudoun Chamber of Commerce initiative for engaging tech businesses while providing valuable information to the greater business community. (You don’t need to be a member to attend your first meeting.)
- Bytes and Bites: Loudoun, a gathering spot for medium to larger tech firms to do business together.
- 1 Million Cups, an event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to a peer network of founders in Loudoun County. It’s a great way to get feedback on your presentation and any aspect of your business strategy that you want to refine.
A word of caution: if you don’t have a tech business, please respect the format. Many of these events are created to foster peer-to-peer relationships or educate the greater community on advancements and opportunities in technology. If you are not in tech, leave your sales pitch at the door and enjoy learning more about what this community is working on.