March 1, 2016 3:03 PM

Julie ShieldsIn the latest edition of the Business Journal of Midcentral Illinois, Julie Shields, director of Millikin University's Center for Entrepreneurship, weighed in on the importance of networking to help a grow a business.

Shields says there are three kinds of networks entrepreneurs need to nurture regularly: social, digital and business networks.

"Savvy entrepreneurs in big cities are blending of all three types of networks at co-working spaces that are often networked with entrepreneurs in other cities," Shields said. "They recognize that networks are perhaps the greatest investment in their competitive edge and the long-term health of their businesses."

So where can entrepreneurs start networking? Shields says it's important to take time and think of trusted colleagues in different categories including social, digital and business networks, as well as all the types of people or resources that are important in your business such as accountants, graphic designers and any aspirational types of resources.

"To build your local network, there are existing groups of business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders," Shields said. "There's Millikin University's Micro Business Network, Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce, Millikin-Decatur Executive Association, Decatur Area Women's Network, Rotary and other service clubs just to name a few."

Click here to read more from Julie Shields in an article from the Business Journal of Midcentral Illinois.