How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth
Every intelligent person involved in business knows to invest in money, but only the wise also invest in relationships. How much time do we spend thinking about, planning for, and executing actions regarding financial investments? We work to balance our assets and liabilities and dream about stock options and retirement, but how often do we invest in our most valuable assets – people?
In a 2013 article in The Huffington Post, Porter Gale, author of the bestselling book, Your Network Is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age wrote, “I believe your social capital, or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, not your financial capital, is the most important asset in your portfolio.” She goes on to elaborate how the book explains her affirmations that our net worth is not based solely on the size of our portfolio, but on our ability to work with other people who share our passions and values. This network of people will become an interpersonal safety net that guarantees greater output and personal fulfillment.
Better Business Opportunities
Powerful networks mean powerful position and business opportunities. More and more in today’s business world, leaders prefer to become intermingled in important transactions with people they trust. Relationships establish and fortify that trust. That’s why serious serial entrepreneurs, influencers, deal makers and multiple project players choose to seek out exclusive business networking opportunities.
A prime example of how networking creates and facilitates job and business opportunities was the topic of an article on Entrepreneur by business writer Alp Mimaroglu. He related how Eloqua, a marketing automation and intelligence platform, was sold to Oracle for $871 million in 2012. The entire deal went through seamlessly because Eloqua co-owner Paul Teshima had built strong, shared relationships with the people at Oracle. How valuable was Teshima’s network? Eloqua was purchased for more than 200 percent of its estimated public market value, which was a $400 million-plus increase in shareholder net worth.
In a 2014 study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was discovered that among the 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, those who networked effectively both internally and externally, were highly successful. They were better able to bring business into the firm and get themselves assigned to choose clients. Moreover, those who avoided networking had fewer billable hours than their peers.
Being visible and getting seen is a benefit of networking that is vital in building and growing your career and business. More than this, being visible and getting seen in tandem with the right people can also mean an increase in your own standing among peers and others in your industry. “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know” is true in business around the world. If you want a successful business, then you need to have a great source of relevant connections in your network that you can call on when you need them.
Networking provides you with a great source of connections and opens the door to highly influential people that can be a boon for your business. Often, just having a networking relationship with certain people enhances your standing and credibility, which therefore helps your business in numerous ways. And that influential person will already have a network you can tap into as well.
Networking can help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable, and supportive person who can provide useful information and connections to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer. The right network can put you into contact with high quality, trusted, and powerful connections throughout numerous business and professional communities.
Networking builds your knowledge power, and not just through gaining insider information on the latest big deal. Having like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs with whom you can confer gives you the opportunity to learn and obtain advice from them on any conceivable topic related to your business and obtaining that important work-life balance. Family and business in this culture is inexorably entwined, so maintaining good family and business relationships are top in everyone’s mind.
Networking is a superb way to tap into advice and expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain. Solid advice from the right person can sometimes be a critical factor in business and personal success. That knowledge can come through intense conversations, dinner meetings, or even casual discussions of mutual interest.
Very often, networking provides opportunities for advanced training, conferences, and mentoring relationships that you may otherwise miss. A recommendation from a top entrepreneur or business owner for a conference or learning pathway can point you to knowledge of incalculable value.
The people with whom you associate and spend time with influence who you are and what you become. Therefore, it is important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner and as a person. Positive people naturally exude their best attributes; these are the individuals with whom you want to associate and connect with.
Networking is great for this because entrepreneurs, business owners, and successful people who are themselves involved in networking are typically people who are pursuing excellence in their business and personal lives and are naturally positive and uplifting. You cannot help but receive a charge just from being in their presence. The knowledge you may gain is important, but the mindset you can adopt from them is invaluable.
Regularly participating in the right network and pushing yourself to engage with people you don’t know, will help to increase your confidence. This is vitally important as a business owner or entrepreneur, because your business growth depends on talking to the right people and forging lasting connections. If you are not very confident, networking is a great pathway to gaining the confidence you need for success. Pushing yourself to connect with others and being accepted into a network alongside them is a great confidence booster. As you become a part of the group, opening in conversations and creating lasting connections with people further enhance your confidence.
In addition to the business-related benefits of networking, the personal satisfaction you can gain from contributing to the growth and opportunity of others is often the great reward. Networking can and should provide altruistic opportunities as well as business rewards. These may come through connections with other network partners who serve in non-profit causes or through the casual or structured mentoring of others.
Mentoring is an important aspect of networking. Virtually everyone has gained value from a mentoring relationship, either formally or informally. Bill Gates often refers to his ongoing relationship with Warren Buffett as a mentor. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg counted Apple Founder Steve Jobs as a key mentor. If they were asked, who would Ahmed Moor, Founder of capital loan company Liwwa, or Joy Ajlouny, a successful two-time startup entrepreneur and business mentor, share as the most important mentor in their lives?
If you have learned any lessons about life and business, you have something to pass on to others. Healthy people have both inlets where people invest in them, and outlets where they themselves invest in other people. The Dead Sea is dead because it has inlets but no outlet. To thrive as successful people, we need to be receiving quality and pouring quality into others around us. This is a defining virtue of networking.
This article was originally published on Entrepreneur Middle East and has been reposted on Dubai Startup Hub based on a mutual agreement between the websites.