Hi readers, welcome to my fifth blog about Entrepreneurship and Networks!
For this blog, I had another interview with the 29-year-old male entrepreneur I had interviewed for last week´s blog about networking behavior. This time, I talked to him about association memberships and its returns. I used the paper from Teckchandani and a guest lecture from Ronald van Es as the basis for my questions.
The entrepreneur told me that he had been a member of a lot of associations, mainly business related, but he did not actively attend meetings or anything like that anymore, so he found that irrelevant. Then he told me that he is nowadays a voluntary and active member of 3 associations, consisting of 1 social/civil association and 2 business/professional associations, as described by Teckchandi (2014) in his paper. The social/civil association is an American football club named Amsterdam Crusaders, which he visits about 3 times per week. The 2 business/professional associations are Enactus VU and TechClub, both for which he attends weekly meetings with other members and friends.
When I asked the entrepreneur about which of those associations were most interesting to his business, without hesitation, he immediately replied that Enactus VU and TechClub were most interesting. At those associations, he had great networking opportunities and he found new and relevant information from young people for his own company and the companies he invested in, since he explained that everyone who went there, especially TechClub, had the same interests. According to Teckchandani (2014), membership associations can, among other things, bring like-minded people together who may not otherwise meet, which is true in this case. The Amsterdam Crusaders however was more like a hobby and a leisure activity with his friends.
When I think about for example how the entrepreneur can make his memberships more productive, I think that it is important for the entrepreneur to realize that a mix of both civil and business relations is very important. As Ronald van Es told in his lecture: a variety in members gives the best chance of finding what you need, concerning resources and information. However, key to realizing this is trust, so spending time with those people, and not just in a business and professional setting, is very important. That is why I think that it is important for the entrepreneur to either make sure that he gets more involved with people from the Amsterdam Crusaders that can be valuable for his company, or to find other social/civil associations, in order to meet new people that can be of value for his company.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and hopefully you will read my next week’s blog as well! 🙂