Renee Prejean-Motanky

10 Reasons Why Your Network Is Your Greatest Asset

In Business Development, Communications, marketing, Social Media on June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

An individual’s greatest asset is his/her network. The network that’s an asset is the one made up of real relationships.

Facebook and Twitter have no value if you don’t use them properly.  In looking at profiles on these social media for a number of large and small businesses, I’ve observed that most of them aren’t going about it in the right way. Businesses jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons with the hope of generating sales. They load their news feeds with sales plugs and expect   “friends” to buy whatever they’re selling. They use Twitter to make announcements rather than to engage conversation.

The right way to use social media is to focus on building relationships. Wish friends and fans “Happy Birthday”; “Like” their statuses, share information and even provide  useful content that’s OUTSIDE of your business area of expertise to help them out (for example: share an interesting news item, a great sale on computer equipment, a super auto repair shop, great business tips, etc.). Show that your thread is useful and that you are there to connect with them, not simply sell them something and you will see results.

DON’T create a business profile and start adding people as friends – users hate this. Get to know your privacy settings and use your personal profile as the “face” of your company.

Below is a list from Steve Tobak of BNET on what you stand to gain from building a great network:

  1. Introductions. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in need of venture capital or a marketing VP looking for the best PR firm, you’re more likely to find it through your network than by any other means.
  2. Opportunities. Over a 30-year career, most of my major career and business opportunities came from my network. Business associates, friends of friends, casual conversations, business meetings, social events, whatever. But you’ve got to pay attention.
  3. Sorting out thorny problems. Anyone who thinks they’ve never met a work problem they can’t resolve has never been a CEO. The problem with problems is that they keep getting escalated until there’s nowhere left to go. The buck has to stop somewhere. And getting a fellow exec to help sort out a monster problem is a big plus.
  4. Recruiting. Perhaps the most critical job of any manager is to hire talented people, and the best place to find them is through your network. And not just for direct reports, but also for recommendations on peers, key employees, board members, you name it.
  5. Ideas. I don’t know about you, but most of my best ideas come from bouncing them around with like-minded people.
  6. Competitive intelligence. It’s a big, hairy global market and smart executives dig for competitive intelligence. Much of that info comes from sales and marketing, but where do you think they get it from? That’s right, their network.
  7. Sensitive issues. Top executives often face sensitive issues they can’t discuss with others at the company. Sometimes they just need an outside perspective from another CEO. For example, some of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s friends are Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Mark Hurd (when he was CEO of H-P, as well). Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  8. Seeing the big market picture. A huge component of any manager’s success is her ability to anticipate significant market changes. While nobody has a crystal ball, if you get enough anecdotal data from enough sources, you can get a pretty good picture of what’s going on.
  9. Moral support. Business is full of tradeoffs. Rarely are critical and complex issues black and white. When top execs wrestle with gray issues, it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone for advice and support.
  10. You don’t know what you don’t know. While there are exceptions, know-it-alls don’t typically get ahead. Smart managers know what they don’t know and that means they depend very much on comparing notes with others in their network.

Is your network your biggest asset?

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