It’s Not What You Know. It’s Who You Know.

connecting[1]Isn’t that the truth! A few months ago, I met with a friend who is a very successful entrepreneur and asked him for advice about launching my new business. He responded that you already have everything you need to launch your new venture: expertise, passion, and most importantly, your network.

My new company isn’t going to look anything like yesterday’s companies. Business development will likely be more important than human resources. And I spend a lot of time meeting with really smart people who can help me figure out the future. I would bet that everyone you need to know to build a successful startup is within 3 degrees from you on LinkedIn or FB.

“Who you know” is a two-way street. I can’t stress this enough. I also spend a fair amount of time helping other people build the network. This is critical. And, you can’t believe what you learn by giving advice or connections to someone in need. By so doing, you have also earned the right to reach out and ask others for help.

A few tips for increasing “who you know”:

  • Get involved in some organization or association related to your start up. Begin giving back now!
  • Online networks are a treasure trove. If you “meet” someone who could help you with your startup, contact them. There is no online equivalent for a live conversation—face to face is ideal, but virtual is great too.
  • Conferences are expensive, but dollar for dollar, and if you use the opportunity to network, you get the best value for your investment.
  • Connect with people who are in between jobs, especially those who are pretty high up the food chain. They have time, and a little more perspective than people in very busy jobs, so they often have great ideas and advice and connections for you.

If you want a primer on building your network, check out the book: The Connect Effect, by Michael Dulworth, who is an expert on building personal, professional and virtual networks.

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