Building your network and ensuring you’re well-known to the who's who in your sector can great benefit your startup journey
Your network is the most important factor in determining your future success. The age-old adage of “It isn’t what you know, but who you know” is largely true. However, I would add “and who knows you.” Simply put, the better your network is, the better the opportunities available to you are.
Relationships are spanning the globe and are no longer restricted to the people you physically meet every day. Success depends on your connections with good, smart, and talented people.
Given the choice I would choose deep and narrow over broad and shallow every time. It’s the depth of a relationship that creates trust and it’s only when trusted that we find significant opportunities.
So here are six things to consider in 2019 for deeper, more trusting relationships.
(1) Habituate networking
Most people don’t prioritise networking at all. It’s an afterthought or borne out of necessity when work dries up. Instead, you must start to create small habits. This takes a little discipline but yields great results. Habituate making new connections, keeping in touch with established connections, creating regular value-add content and status updates that provoke engagement, new conversations and new opportunities.
(2) Demonstrate expertise
It’s not enough to just know your stuff – people need to recognise that you do. Essentially, almost all business decisions are based on confidence and the most effective way to show it is to demonstrate your expertise. You can add value through thought leadership through your website, social networks and even delivering talks.
(3) Focus on influencers
Credibility by association is the simple premise that we’re known by the company we keep. If we’re seen rubbing shoulders with highly respected leaders, there is a perception that we too are important. Think about who already has great profile in your industry or niche and think about how you can build that relationship.
(4) Build social proof
A good reputation opens doors and attracts support, whereas a bad one creates obstacles and causes those same doors to slam in your face. A good testimonial is 12 times more likely to be trusted over your own marketing materials, yet most people don’t invite them. In an age of due diligence, people are doing their research, so encourage your happiest customers to endorse you.
(5) Share your values
One of the most satisfying things you can do in your personal and business life is to live your values. It’s even better when we attract people to us that share these values with us. Think about how you can wear your values on your digital sleeve, weave them into your website copy and tell stories which show them off.
(6) Contribute first
Being a connector can generate an enormous amount of good will. The more you understand your network, their wants and needs, the better positioned you are to help. Every time you connect two people, your credibility increases in both of their eyes.
In the end, being a socially savvy entrepreneur could mean more business benefits. So get mingling.