Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Most people think about networking when they are looking for a job. In reality, one should always be looking to meet new people. When you meet new people you can learn from them, share knowledge and insight, and connect them or yourself with others. Having a well-rounded group of people in your network can also help you to think about things in a different way or from a different perspective. Anne Wintour once said “I surround myself with a talented group of people that are opinionated and interesting. I try to remain very open to what others have to say.”
In the fashion industry, a designer’s network is their net worth. Why? Because the people you surround yourself with can help you progress your career or your business. You know that saying, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” The people in your network are the ones that will most likely bring you your next big opportunity. Your colleagues are going to move around from job to job. They will have the inside scoop on any new or upcoming opportunities in different companies. They can get your foot in the door.
Even if you are not looking for a new job having a deep network can provide other wonderful advantages. One reason to always grow your network is that this gives you a new wealth of people to learn from, get their point of view or perspective. They might have a great idea that will make you an all-star in your own organization.
Build Your Million Dollar Network
To build a truly useful network of friends and colleagues that you can learn and grow from you should consider the following:
Quantity of people
Is true that the more people are in your network the more potential opportunities and resources will be available to you. However, if these people have nothing to contribute, whether it be support or encouragement, then they really are more of an acquaintance.
Quality of people
There is a wonderful article in Forbes magazine that talks about the types of people you should include in your network that will in turn help grow you as a person. The list includes a mentor, a coach, industry insider, trendsetter, connector, idealist, realist, visionary, partner, and the wanna-be.
A well-rounded network
Try to think outside of your immediate industry or field. You will be surprised what you can learn from other industries that might be applicable to your own. Diversity is key. Try to add people from different industries, backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups, etc.
Action Steps to Build Your Network
There are several ways to build your network. Here are just a few places to start:
- Connect with people inside your current organization. Include people from design, sales, licensing, etc.
- Ask a friend or colleague to introduce you.
- Join groups and organizations. Now more than ever you can meet people through meet-ups, FaceBook groups, trade organizations, alumni groups, etc.