No matter how much we tell ourselves that our achievements are the result of hard work, it is often more important to be in the right place at the right time, surrounded by the right people. These people are the catalysts for a new phase in your business, career or life.
Entrepreneurs need solid customers, employees and mentors. Athletes need a good coach and strong teammates. In any profession, the relationships with the people around you are crucial. Your network is your greatest asset.
The better you are at networking, the stronger this asset is. There is a reason why every successful tech company in Silicon Valley employs many innovative and talented people. They understand that people are the main reason for the growth of their business.
Whether you’re working for yourself, striving to achieve this, or simply want to move up the ladder, you’ll achieve much more in much less time by surrounding yourself with the right people.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
However, here comes the problem: building relationships takes time. It’s not always a productive way to spend your time, because you’re dealing with people, not deadlines. It can cost money and it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a return on investment. As your commitments and workload increase, it is tempting to keep your circle small.
But if your network doesn’t grow, it’s dying. Even if you don’t have to look for new clients every day, strengthening your current relationships should be a priority.
A potential solution? Consider adding ‘contact stacking’ to your daily habits. Think of contact stacking as a shortened, deliberate session in which you spend time building new relationships and maintaining existing ones.
Start by spending 10 minutes every day on your network. Put it on your agenda if it helps you.
- Make a list of all the skills or talents you have to offer a relationship. What do people pay you for? Are you a leader, a strong coach or mentor? It may feel weird to apply this to your private life, but it’s a good question to ask yourself – what do you have to offer?
- Take the time to write down the names of all the people in your network. Divide them into groups. Examples include clients, friends, family, colleagues and mentors. You can also take notes, such as “Dennis = marketing expert”, “Patty = great hostess” and so on.
- Determine three people or archetypes (e.g. “business mentor”) you want to add to your network over the next six months. Where can you find these people? What do you have to offer them?
- Get to work! Take 10 minutes every day to strengthen your network.
These are two ways you can start contact stacking:
OPTION 1: SEND AN APP OR EMAIL
Take 10 minutes today to send a message to people on your list. Don’t ask out of the blue how they are doing. Spend the first 9 minutes on their Facebook, LinkedIn or website to see what they are doing. Then ask them essential questions and don’t rush. People can tell perfectly well when you are not being straight with them.
OPTION 2: A HANDWRITTEN CARD
When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? Even though it may seem old-fashioned, it often means a lot to receive a handwritten card from someone.
Who deserves a thank you or a boost in your personal or business life? Write a sincere message to someone who deserves it.