The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” certainly carries some weight in the world. It’s not everything, but it is certainly a key component of opportunity. Networking and the exchange/sharing ideas and information is undoubtedly one of the most valuable efforts for any entrepreneur. I whole heartedly subscribe to the Tim Sanders concept of sharing networks and ideas as freely as possible. (I recommend his book “Love is the Killer App“-although I feel it may have a few twists a little more liberal than I could fully endorse).
Although I personally subscribe to some online communities, (such asLinked In) I still believe there is no substitute for the good old fashioned introduction. If I read an article about a successful entrepreneur, or I have an idea that I would like to bounce off someone whom I know is successful in a certain field pertaining to a business idea I might have, I call them up or send them an email. Most successful entrepreneurs that I have met this way are happy to share a brief moment of their time to help out a fellow pioneer, (within reason of course).
A quick email is certainly the least risky way, but every now and again I may wish to contact someone directly by phone. (I have found thatZaba Search almost without fail has the contact information I need to call someone). If I feel the idea or question I have would be worth someone’s time, sometimes I’ll just give ‘em a call. Not everyone is eager to meet up, but most people can spare a lunch time to share ideas.
I’ve learned you just never know what’s going to come next and if an opportunity comes up that I can’t take advantage of, I’m more than happy to pass it along to someone else in my network of friends and fellow entrepreneurs.