‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’. We’ve all heard that phrase, but how true is it? Pretty true as it turns out! 

I have talked a lot about the need to have a plan, but in order to execute that plan, you are probably going to need some help. A little help from your friends.    

It doesn’t matter if you need help with a fundraiser or a new job, you can be your own best marketing tool simply by leveraging your network!  

We all have circles of people in our lives, depending on our relationships – we have our inner circle of friends, then the next layer are friends, but not always your go-to people, then acquaintances, colleagues, friends-of-friends, etc. Do you know how each of those people can help support your goals? Do they even know what your goals are? 

When you make the mind shift to treat everyone you meet as a potential contact/prospect/client/helper you realize your plan doesn’t have to be a solo gig! You can lean on your friends for a little help. All you have to do is ask! We all like to help one another.  

When you have a long-range plan, the network is crucial to helping to make that plan a reality. You get focused on your purpose and who can help and then your networking goals become clear. You then start to focus on who you need to meet and build relationships with in the long term, to reach your goals.  

In the last few blogs, I’ve touched on techniques for building that plan, including activities for those who struggle with being shy, those who need help with small talk and others who have a hard time not being pushy in reaching their end game. Bottom line: Having a plan to reach your goals should include leveraging your network. 

So, sit down and really think about the potential value of your network in terms of leverage. Is there an area of your network that’s a little on the slim side, for example, are you heavy on friends in marketing but would benefit from knowing some accounting professionals? This exercise works personally and professionally! Think about what you need, what you have to offer, and fill in those networking gaps. 

Next, think about how close you are to your contacts. How strong are your ties? Are there some relationships you need to reach out to, to keep the momentum? Don’t be shy about asking your network – your friends and colleagues – to help introduce you to their own network. The online fundraising platform Go Fund Me is built on this premise – leveraging networks to do good!   

Do your friends and other network contacts understand your plan? Do they know what you need? Don’t be shy about telling them! They don’t need to know every detail, but if they know your end-game, they can probably help you get there.  

It’s well worth the time to invest thought and time into your networking plan to reach your goals. Always be developing relationships, and when the time comes, you can pick up the phone and make your goals happen!