In any situation where you depend on cooperation from other people, there is strength to be found in diversity – it allows for varied skill sets that may come in handy someday. Your business circle is no different. In order to develop a robust professional network, it’s essential to be able to tap the expertise and strengths of others.
Imagine that your client makes a request that your organisation can't complete. Rather than disappointing the client, you could turn to someone within your circle who could help them. This way, you will be able to delight your customer and create goodwill that may be returned at a later date by your business contact in some way.
However, in order to do this, you need to have a variety of people within your network. Here are the types of individuals you should cultivate strong relationships with to give your business network a major boost.
Business coaches are people who have many years of experience in the industry and who are willing to impart their wisdom to you for your career development. Their influence and depth of knowledge can help you to improve your performance, clarify your goals, understand how to get things done outside a formal system and manage your subordinates. Under the mentorship of these veterans, you’ll have a steady hand to guide your progress to the top.
In business, your success often depends on who you know at least as much as what you know. For instance, networking is important to land a new job. This is why you need a connector in your business circle – these individuals are the ones who know everyone else, and who enjoy helping to bring acquaintances together to form synergetic relationships. If you want to get an introduction to someone outside your circle or are hoping for an invitation to an exclusive conference, the connector will most likely be your way to the right person.
If you’re interested in staying up to date with cutting-edge developments, you would greatly benefit from hanging out with this breed of innovative, curious-minded individuals. They’re always a step ahead of everyone else in identifying trends, and are the first to embrace new concepts and adopt new tools in the industry. A simple catch-up over coffee with an experimenter will often leave you feeling energised and inspired for having learnt something new.
To complete your network, it’s vital to have connections to professionals outside your own industry. One would be sorely mistaken to assume that a contact whose work is in no way related to your profession would never be able to help you in your career. On the contrary, these people can offer fresh insights and solutions to your problems, collaborate with you to create an original product and provide non-competitive, constructive criticism.
Identify these four types of people at events and work towards developing relationships with them. Don’t just collect business cards and allow them to gather dust; use a contact management solution such as Sansan to organise these various connections. You never know which one of them you might need to call upon for help.