Some of our hard-working people at itnig.

If you’re running a startup, or working in one, you probably know how much work it takes to build a brand new product from scratch. It’s not unlikely that you’re reading this post by your desk at 10pm, just because you needed a break from your sweaty keyboard.

But no matter how much and how hard you work, it’s not enough. At least that’s what some experts claim.

Most humans are social creatures, and even though the tech world is built by developers (not famous for being super keen on networking), the startup industry arranges more networking events than most other industries.

In Barcelona you can go to several events every night if you have time.

Is hard work enough?

As I’ve worked as a journalist, meeting founders and entrepreneurs every week the last year, I’ve been asking several of them why I haven’t seen them at tech events before?

The answer is usually:

“We’re busy working, I don’t have time to attend events and drink beers several times every week.”

It’s a valid point. Nine out of ten startups fail, so working day and night makes perfect sense.

I went to cover a startup competition for a major European tech blog earlier this year. After tough competition between some of Spain’s best performing startups, one of them were crowned the winner. Me and my college were surprised that we hadn’t heard of the company before, and asked them how they went beneath our radar. The founders told us:

“We usually never go to events. We actually signed up for this competition almost by accident.”

This made me wonder how many other great startups go under the radar, missing out on important exposure because they’re too busy working (too hard?).

Another example is the founder of Tradesy’s, Tracy DiNunzio, who says she thinks too many founders are wasting time going to tech events:

When I was bootstrapping through Tradesy’s first two years, I never attended events. Instead, I stayed focused (obsessed, really) on improving our product and technology. I was glued to the computer for 17 hours a day.

Building a network

It’s clear that networking is important, but it’s probably also true that many entrepreneurs would benefit more from working, than from sipping beer at tech events every other night.

To some people networking is the most natural thing to do, the ones that have the gift of speaking to anyone, anywhere about anything (or nothing). To them it’s like breathing.

For others it’s more about building a network, doing a job, rather than talking to a massive amount of people. And to some people, a small group, it’s torture.

But no matter what group you belong to, as long as your startup is being built, you’re the product. Before you have users, customers, a physical product, or any metrics at all, you and your team are the only thing representing your startup.

Connections are key, and good advice are extremely valuable, especially from people with experience from your own industry. But tech connections are not necessarily found through going to events.

It’s about being present, and especially talking to the right people. It does not have to be at tech events, but any place you can meet people caring about the product your startup is building.

Connecting to people via mail (or social media etc.) can be just as good as going to an event. Mark Suster made a good Snapstorm on how to send email intros, because there are mistakes to be made.

To sum it up:

Growing a solid network of people in your startup ecosystem can never go wrong, not to think about the vital support you can provide to other entrepreneurs building their respective upstarts.

But hard work is still as crucial as it always has been. Just because there is an event every night with great headliners and interesting topics, does not mean you have to attend.

Tech events are often a blast, and networking is good, but not for the sake of networking itself. Going to events will rarely create more value than a well-functioning team can accomplish in the same amount of time.

However building a network and providing value for your ecosystem is guaranteed to benefit both you and your startup. Just don’t do it on the expense of your startup.

…….

This post is written by Sindre Hopland, Media Manager at itnig.

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W.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A COWORKING SPACE FOR YOUR STARTUP

Your home office or a coffee shop won’t be enough!

Yes, we all know the tale about the guy who starts a small company in their garage or basement, has a brilliant idea and becomes the next Steve Jobs. It’s true, most successes have very humble beginnings. It’s also true that not all garage or basements are going to magically get you a successful business. They might work in the very (veeeery) early stages of your startup, but you can’t always meet a client at coffee shops, not to say your basement. 

A great, if not the best, solution is to find a coworking space. Coworking spaces have become very popular all over the world, either for freelancers or entrepreneurs and startups. 

Coworking spaces are not just big rooms with desks and chairs with high-speed wifi. The areas are made to be exciting places to work and improve your productivity.

As a startup, you need to find resources fast and affordably. More importantly, you’ll need motivation. This is why you should consider a coworking space. 

Here are some basic but amazing benefits from coworking spaces:

Community

Joining a coworking means joining a community.  Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, freelancers and talented independent people is without doubt a one of the best features of a coworking.

Motivation is key when starting a new project and trying to develop your own business. The road will get though and you’ll appreciate other entrepreneurs’ vision and support! Other workers’ feedback can be very useful to improve your service/product before trying to sell it to the world. 

Networking, networking and…networking!

As a startup, you’ll be looking for networking opportunities. Most coworkings host professionals from different kind of industries, which can open up many doors for you and your business. Not all coworking spaces are about networking, some of them prefer to have a quiet individual work environment, so as a startup you have to make sure to choose a coworking with networking opportunities.

At Itnig, for example, we love to share ideas and support other entrepreneurs. Don’t be shy, some of the other coworking tenants can bring great business opportunities, or even become new clients (and friends)! 

Budgetfriendly

As entrepreneurs (or people for that matter) it’s very important to understand the importance of money, more specifically: budget. Tight budgets call for smart spending. Coworkings are usually budget friendly, most of them offer different membership options depending on your startup’s needs and budget.

Amenities 

A coworking provides you with everything needed to be as productive as possible. High speed internet connection, printers, conference rooms and COFFEE. Some coworkings even plan afterwork activities and events to make it all more fun! As a startup, a coworking space is your best chance at having all the basic amenities but also the fun ones, like a ping pong table or a nice chill out terrace. 

Happy clients

As you grow and have more clients, it can get messy if you keep meeting them in coffee shops. Coworking spaces offer office services such as conference rooms. That way your meetings will be more professional and comfortable for everyone. 

Barcelona is a city full of coworkings of every kind! Our Itnig community keeps growing, we now have up to 20 startups such as Andjoy, Classlife, Factorial and Freeverse, all under the same roof. We have afterwork activities and we also plan different kinds of events open to anyone interested in marketing, tech stuff, entrepreneurship and design. Our space is about 2.100m2 with up to 800m2 of conference rooms, events space, ping pong and fun activities. 

There’s also  wifi, endless coffee and talented people. Join us!