Networking is not only the establishment of professional contacts, but the continued maintenance of them.The network you establish should not be designed to benefit customers or your company–it’s about you and the people you connect with, trading ideas and helping each other out. Of course, these connections can (and likely will) have a knock-on effect that may benefit third parties, but the focus is on you and your network. Ideally, your networks will sustain over a long period of time and continue to benefit everybody involved.It’s true of the working world that jobs are often obtained through connections, or at least interviews are offered and good words passed on.A good network will benefit any professional, but if you’re a founder or hopeful entrepreneur, networking is essential. A well maintained, versatile network will give you access to suppliers for your resources, investors to help you get off the ground, and business partners who might be interested in joining up with your venture. If you’re in the early stages of founding your business and you feel you lack connections, don’t worry. This is precisely the time to get started.