Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to Build Your Network Like a Super Connector

How to Build Your Network Like a Super Connector
Image credit: Shutterstock
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the role that "connectors” play in social epidemics. According to Gladwell, connectors aren’t just people who know a lot of people; they’re people with a knack for making friends and acquaintances wherever they go.
When trying to get their new businesses off the ground, most entrepreneurs would love their startups to become social epidemics. To be successful, they have to play the part of the connector and form relationships with the right people who can help them spread their message.
Building your tribe of potential clients, partners and mentors can be tough if you’re not a natural networker, but it’s not impossible. Here are three of the most valuable takeaways I’ve learned about building more meaningful relationships:
1. Grow your social capital. Not just a buzzword, social capital is very real currency that can make your company stronger and even uncover new business opportunities. It’s all about whom you know, whom that person knows and whether that person is willing to help you.
Instead of asking what you can get from someone else, think about your connections and how you might be able to help them. This expands your network naturally so that when you want an introduction or need help, you know exactly whom to ask.
Consult your colleagues and connections who seem to know everyone. Scott Gerber, a “super connector” and founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, helped me when I needed strategic advice about scaling my business. He tapped into his network and increased my chances of speaking with someone whom I would never have connected with if I had reached out cold.
Although social capital isn’t a tangible resource, it still drives success. The wider your social reach is and the more people you help, the more power you've built behind your business.
2. Have a networking strategy. Networking is vital to your career, but you must have a strategy for doing it right. Think for a moment about how many hundreds of pitch emails someone like Mark Cuban receives each day from people who haven’t sold a single unit or raised any money.
Sometimes, it pays to swing for the fences. Other times, it’s a waste of  your time and your connection’s time. Instead, always network with a plan and purpose.
Attend local meetups, startup competitions, hackathons, demo days and open investor pitch meetings to widen your network organically; sign up for alerts for this type of events in your area.
Then, consider with whom you should connect and why. Will this connection create introductions for you or your co-workers? Does he or she know about your industry? Does his or her expertise mesh well with yours? Creating the right strategic relationship is crucial.
3. Focus on making a few high-quality connections. People who network merely to collect business cards have completely missed the mark. You can’t meet 50 people at a three-day conference and expect to instantly have a network.
If you’re good at networking, you may come out of an event with 10 to 15 potential contacts with follow-up actions or appointments (and a purpose for each connection) already established. Some of the best-connected entrepreneurs don’t have the biggest networks or the highest number of connections on LinkedIn. Instead, they might work with smaller, tightly knit groups of connections.
Making a plan for each connection forces you to clarify what your needs are and decide who can help you the most. On the flip side, you’ll meet others that you can help with your resources or expertise. Make these connections a priority, too.
The next time you find yourself across the table from a peer, a seasoned entrepreneur or, better yet, a super connector, cherish that person’s time, knowledge and connections. Think about not only about what he or she can do for you, but also what you can do for him or her.
When you’ve learned all you can from your new connections, pay it forward with new entrepreneurs who need guidance or introductions. You’ll eventually cash in on your networking karma and jump-start the next phase of your entrepreneurial journey. 
Jared Ringel is a founder of First Dynamic, a website design and development agency in New York City. Founded while Ringel was an undergrad at Rutgers in 2010, First Dynamic has launched scores of websites for startups and medium-sized businesses. 

Beating The Odds.....

One Day At A Time.....

Wow, it was four years ago, when I was diagnosed with Stage 3B Endocervical Cancer.  So much has happened since then.  Seems like a lifetime ago.  I am doing well I think for all I have gone through.  No, my life did not ever go back to what it was before cancer, in which I am very thankful.
I have found out that life is very much worth living, experiencing and that I love life.

I had my appointment today with my Medical Oncologist and he said cervical cancer if it returns is pretty fast and usually see it within the first 2-3 years.  He said I am close to the four year mark and am doing amazingly well, that it looks like I will beat cervical cancer.    When I left the cancer center today I cried, this time tears of joy.

I am a SURVIVOR not a victim.

Finding Your Why???

This is a big motivator for me, knowing my Why?  When I am training my new representatives I ask them what their Why is and have them write it down.  When they have those days they don't feel like it, etc that is when they have to keep their WHY in front of them.

To Motivate Yourself to Success, Find Your 'Why'

To Motivate Yourself to Success, Find Your 'Why'
Image credit: BuzzFarmers via Flickr
In the beginning, my lack of success had nothing to do with a lack of knowledge. I read, Googled, researched, asked questions, studied, read more and watched more instructional YouTube videos than I can count. I had knowledge.
There wasn’t a lack of understanding on how to build a social media following, design my own website or use great SEO techniques. Information is everywhere. We no longer have the excuse of not being able to be successful because the logistical information on how to build a business is not available to us. All of the information you need to become wealthy is available now.
What I was missing was a really good “why.” Don’t get me wrong, I had thought long and hard about what my goals were. My first goal was to make $10,000 a month. That was a big goal for me and I knew it would take a lot to get there. Just like all the books said, I wrote down my goal and why I wanted to achieve that goal. I felt that $10,000 a month was enough money to pay all my bills and set aside funds for the family to do fun activities (such as traveling), with enough left over for me to invest in my future and the kids’ education.
Pretty good reasons, right? I fervently believed in this goal and my reasons. But it was not enough. I needed something more to push me forward, get me out of bed at 5 a.m. each morning, or propel me to work through the night and not go to bed at all.
I had to become a child again. The average 4-year-old girl asks 390 questions per day. The majority of them are, “Why?” So I asked myself, “Why.” Why was it important to me to pay my bills, create fun moments with the kids and invest in our future? I determined it was because I wanted my kids to grow up in a safe and fun environment. I wanted them to know that there was going to be a house to come home to and a car for us to drive. There have been times in our life where we did not have either of those.
Again, I asked the question, “But why is it important for me to provide that safe environment for the kids?” That is when I realized that, up until that point, I had felt like a failure of a mother. I had not been the best that I could be. I believed that providing my kids with a safe and fun environment would make me feel like I was a successful parent.
Once again, I asked myself another question, “Why was it so important for me to be a successful parent?” And that is when I began to cry. My son was 10 and I knew the clock was ticking. In eight years he was going to be out of the house and on his own. Never again would I have the opportunity to give him the childhood that I wanted to give him. There was a countdown going on, a limited-time opportunity. It was now or never.
When it is 5 a.m. and I need to get out of bed to finish a project, which do you believe is more compelling:
1. “I need to get up because I want to make $10,000 a month to pay my bills, travel, and invest for the future."
2. “I need to get up because the clock is ticking and I have eight years to do everything I possibly can to provide my kids with the childhood I’ve always wanted them to have.”
If you are not feeling motivated, if your business is not moving forward, or if you find yourself feeling “stuck,” it is most likely because your “why” is not strong enough to pull you through the rough spots and make you push yourself to do things when you don’t want to do them. Anyone can easily find out how to build a business. Only you can find out your true “why.”
Katherine Keller is the president of Chumcubo Designs, an online marketing and graphic design agency. She also works with small business entrepreneurs, building their success mindset and overcoming fears. Through her wit, wisdom and humor, she has endeared clients around the globe.