Scholars point toward the importance of creating networks as a noteworthy element for entrepreneurial success. But, may this be the missing link without which we cannot be successful in our entrepreneurial endeavors?
In fact, most of the experts in the field highlight the positive effect of networking for a business’s start-up and sustainability. However, others question this by stating these relationships may destroy the likelihood for success of a business, instead of helping it.
In view of this dilemma I wonder: is the creation of networks and the relations these entail so powerful, to the point of being capable of defining the success and/or failure of an entrepreneur? Furthermore, is it the relations per se, or is it with whom, when, how and for what means these relations are built that is important? Or is it our openness and flexibility towards creating new relations? What is it in the creation of networks that can really make the difference? Or, is the business’s success and/or failure disjointed from the people and institutions that the entrepreneur relates him/herself with?
In my study, for example, I found that entrepreneurs’ relationships with other individuals and institutions seems to play an essential role in the success and/or failure of businesses in Puerto Rico. So much so that I was able to identify differences in the type and use of networks between successful entrepreneurs and non-successful ones. In addition, through my quantitative research, I was able to observe that the individual relationships that entrepreneurs are establishing, instead of helping towards the positive development of the firm performance, are being detrimental. Also, we could corroborate that most entrepreneurs do not search to establish relationships with entrepreneurial institutions and depend principally on their private/close network, which mainly includes friends and family members.
This leads us to think whether or not there is a truly key role from the part of entrepreneurial networking as to entrepreneurial success. And even if we cannot solely attribute the success and/or failure of an enterprise to this specific factor, I think that we should better understand entrepreneurs’ networking processes and inquire about their true effect, if any, on the success and/or failure of a business. What do you think?
Moraima DeHoyos-Ruperto is a Professor of Business Administration in the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez. (http://www.uprm.edu/about/indexen.html) She is currently the Program Advisor for “The Key for Your Business” of the Puerto Rico Trade Office. Moraima is also a Doctor of Management (DM) candidate at Case Western Reserve University.