Your Network and Your NET NEW Network

Building and maintaining your network is important but there is more – your Net New network?

By now you have been inundated with advice from a variety of source including your favorite mentor, to your parents, to that charismatic college buddy who seems to know everyone and always has. OK, we get it – we need to get out there and connect with our network.

But, I think some of you are falling short of the optimal networking capability inside each of us. If your idea of managing your network is simply reaching out to old professional friends to get an update on what they are doing over a coffee or beer, then I would argue that you are operating at a “B” level. Congrats on actually reaching out to connect – it is still critical and obviously better than not reaching out at all.

There is another gear for optimizing your networking time. I would argue that you need to add NET NEW people to your network for you to be operating at a level “A”.  Of course, this is more difficult and does not necessarily feel as good as connecting with old friends.

NET NEW contacts expand your network power in so many ways.

First, you get to tell your story to a person who does not know your story.  They are now enabled with you, your story and your mojo. If they are local, you get to reinforce your position in the community. If they are not local you just created a new seed in a weaker networked area. The real value is then reached when they then tell your story within their network.  (This is why you always ask what you can do for them and then do it.)

The second benefit is that you have just added a resource to later utilize for you and/or your community. Every NET NEW person expands an industry niche, a functional skill, or a seasoned experience that you can lean on later.

Found some time to network this week? Think about how you can meet 5 NET NEW people to connect with and share stories. Your network thanks you in advance.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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