I want to make money, who cares about the people…

In high school I had a friend that would always so “It’s all about who you know”. This phrase was tossed around so frequently that it got annoying and I don’t think any of us truly understood the impact of that statement. But it is all too true in the business world today. You could have the greatest product idea in the world but if you don’t know anyone to market it, fund it, produce it, and sell it then you don’t have anything. On the flip side if you have an inferior product but you have 10 investors, your brother owns a marketing agency, and your fraternity brother is the President of a manufacturing company then you are probably going to make a solid run at a new product launch. Hence the statement “It’s all about who you know”. 

This is why relationships and networking are so important. Many people think of networking or business relationships as a one and done. Go to a networking event and make a sale or land a job, that is not the goal. An early mentor gave me some networking advice that consisted of two basic principles; 1. Meet People 2. Ask them to introduce you to 3 more people. 

The larger you can grow your network and build legitimate relationships with your network the more successful you will be. Don’t you want to be the person that always seems to “know a guy”. This is done through extensive networking and sometimes you don’t even realize you are networking. The absolute best networking event is your four year college career. 10-20 years after graduation you will likely know someone in management in about every industry. This is one of the reasons that I believe college is so important. 

The back side to developing relationships is, firstly, that it has to be reciprocal, offer to help someone in your network, or throw someone in your network a referral. Secondly, you can’t be afraid to ask. This is the same sort of fear that creeps into people as they are trying to ask for the business at the end of a sales pitch. You have a relationship why not use it, if you need expertise then leverage a relationship. The worst they can say is no but if they say yes be sure to reciprocate.

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