You’ve probably heard that your network is one of the most important things when establishing a business. But what does “network” really mean? How does a strong “network” reflect a strong business?
According to Porter Gale, author of Your Network Is Your Net worth, the concept of a network has changed as we continue to move into a technological economy. What used to be seen as a transaction between two people- “what can you give me that would motivate me to return a favor” -is now a transformation of character.
Your network is what you leave behind in the world. Network, or networking, is a lifestyle rather than a process. Your success, happiness, and productivity do not depend on the material aspects of a company. It’s based on the authentic connections in our lives and the relationships we have built.
This transformation of the idea of a network coincides with the fact that business life and personal life are not separated anymore. In our economy, many of the people you work with are friends or even family. Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist, linguist, and science author found that in the past we had 10 connections that matter but now we are up to around 150. Everything we do affects this large web of people.
“What you do today and the relationships you develop impact events in your future.”
In an article on FireBrand.com, Andrew Hutchinson explores why making connections is so important, specifically through LinkedIn and other online communities. He writes, “One key element of LinkedIn is making connections. Having people willing to connect with you is effectively an endorsement of your professional capability, so it’s worth building your connection count if you can.” Having a few connections shows that others are not willing to connect with you, which can be a red flag for potential clients, employers or investors.
As a college student, I was required to take a class where we created a LinkedIn profile and were graded on the professionalism and amount of connections gathered. This is a big deal! The future workforce understands that a network is the most important thing when job hunting. We are taught to respect people regardless of age, title or income because they may one day be a reference for a job opportunity.
Creating authentic connections from the beginning is the first step in being successful in the future. The word authentic is important because connections are only as valuable as you’re able to make them.
“Having a lot of connections without nurturing the relationships is like having lots of followers but a low engagement rate.”
So how does one go about authentically developing their network?
The key is getting involved. Gale recommends beginning by connecting based on passion. She recommends having three passions that you use as talking points every time you meet a new person. From there find a way to help that person. Andrew Sobel, author of the book “Power Relationships”, suggests that, “It’s always worth the trouble to find out a contact’s desires and concerns. The chances are high that you’ll be able to find something worthwhile you can offer.” Creating useful connections relies on how you treat others in your field, as well as fields that could correlate with your own!
WomenAmbition was built based on this idea. It was created to be an online community where women can be raw and real about their experience in entrepreneurship. Like Jessica Alba, Founder of The Honest Company, once said, “Being a woman in business doesn’t come without challenges. My advice? Surround yourself with other supportive women that encourage you, share ideas, and get you motivated.”
Through our online community platform, our members can meet like-minded women who have the potential to become beneficial connections. We offer free space to find inspiration, direction, clarity, knowledge and unlimited authentic support. And it’s more important to join now than ever! A new study, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that women were more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions if they had a solid support group of other women. So what are you waiting for?