In a digital world, why do entrepreneurs still need to meet face-to-face?

Research has shown that face-to-face communication really makes the difference

Zeta Yarwood
Zeta Yarwood
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This week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley brings together hundreds of budding entrepreneurs from around the world.

But with more and more communication taking place online, what makes meet-and-greet events – in this case involving expensive international air tickets, hotels and meals – so important?

For anyone who has embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship, the term “emotional rollercoaster” is probably one of profound familiarity. The seemingly continuous swaying between excitement and fear, not to mention all the other emotions in between, can be quite unnerving for any new entrepreneur.

Emotions play a larger part in success than people realize. It is our emotions that determine the quality and effectiveness of every decision we make and action we take. Decisions made in a state of stress or fear are more likely to be impulsive and ill-considered rather than those made from a place of confidence and inspiration - decisions that could make (or break) your business.

Being able to keep your emotions on an even keel is going to be crucial for your success. Connecting with people who can help and support you, and vice versa, will do wonders for your sanity levels – and your business.

Connecting with other entrepreneurs who are going through or have been through similar experiences can be particularly beneficial. But is simply ‘connecting’ to other entrepreneurs enough? While connecting online or over the phone does have its merits, research has shown that face-to-face communication really makes the difference.

Why? Because people are more likely to trust you if they have personally met you. And it’s this trust that will open up the door to a whole new world of possibilities you never knew existed before.

If you’ve never really been interested in meeting other entrepreneurs face-to-face before, then it’s time to change. Here are some reasons why.

As a start-up company, building your brand and getting it out there is crucial. Meeting other entrepreneurs is a great way to do just that. Most entrepreneurs will be in the same boat as you and will be going to every networking event under the sun, and meeting all kinds of people. If they are aware of your brand and what you do, they can act as a ‘sneezer’ and promote it to anyone and everyone they meet. However – they will only promote your brand if they trust your brand. Meaning: if they trust you. And the only way they will ever really trust you is if they have met you. The great thing is, if you trust them and their brand, you can do the same for them. It’s a win-win situation.

Depending on your line of business, other entrepreneurs might be interested in buying your product or services. As a start-up they will be looking to keep costs down, and might prefer using your company rather than an established company with higher prices. If they trust you, they will be more likely to buy off you. And even if they don’t personally need your services – they will be more likely to recommend you to someone they know if they believe they can trust you. You never know who you will meet or what that relationship could lead to. Take every opportunity you get to meet as many people as you can and watch your business soar.

The above of course is true in reverse. You yourself will be trying to keep costs down and you might meet an entrepreneur who can help you with a problem you are facing at a markedly lower price than a bigger company. The more they trust you, the more they will like you. This could lead to being given ‘mates rates’ further down the line. An alternative option – one which I use regularly – is bartering. Swapping one service for another. Again though. Someone will only enter a bartering relationship with you if they trust you.

One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is being your own boss. The downside to that of course is not having any support – emotionally or otherwise. Meeting other entrepreneurs face-to-face allows for the building of trust – resulting in both parties feeling safe to talk about their challenges and creating an environment where they might find solutions. If you don’t have coach to help you manage the emotional side of entrepreneurship, then joining or starting a group for entrepreneurs to create that support network would be extremely beneficial – to both you and your business.

As entrepreneurs – we don’t know it all. Meeting other entrepreneurs can open the doors to a world of knowledge and experience that could be hugely valuable to your business. Doors that might otherwise be closed if you hadn’t taken the time to meet people face-to-face.

Entrepreneurship can often bring with it feelings of isolation, and dare I say it, loneliness. Meeting other entrepreneurs face-to-face offers an amazing opportunity to build meaningful friendships which are vital to our psychological and physical well-being. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, developing solid friendships along the way will be key.

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