A strong network is invaluable for your success, regardless of whether you are self-employed, own a small business, or working in someone else’s business. Having a list of contacts that you can reach out to when you’re in need of advice, skilled assistance, or a good deal can really be a great help. But how do you measure the strength of your network?
Let’s do a little math. You might want to grab a calculator…the one on your phone will work. First take the number of Facebook Friends that you have; add in your Instagram Followers and 1st Level LinkedIn Connections. Take that total and multiple by 5. Add your 2nd and 3rd tier LinkedIn Connections plus any other social network contacts and multiply by 3. Add those two totals together and take that grand total and divide by zero. What answer did you get?
Yeah, undefined or error. That’s about right. Most of those numbers, especially for you power networkers or “open networkers” are fake, inflated, maybe even ego-driven numbers. Those people aren’t your real network. There’s a well-known saying in business that it’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know. But there’s a less well-known saying with even more truth in it: it’s not who YOU KNOW, but who KNOWS YOU that matters. Do you know Bill Gates? Sure, everyone knows Bill Gates…or rather everyone knows OF Bill Gates…but does he know you?
Go back to all those lists of friends, contacts and connections and take a new look. How many of those folks do you know well enough that you could pick up your cell phone right now and call their cell phone, and they’d take your call? Here’s a hint: are you in their address book? Most people that I know these days don’t answer calls on their cell phones that come from unrecognized numbers, so if you’re not in their address book, you’re probably not getting through. Or if they don’t take your call right away, how many would actually call you back after you left a message? THAT list is the real strength of your network. I know it’s not as sexy as saying you have 500+ connections or 10,000 followers, but it’s real, and you can do business on that.