On January 8, 2001, I resolved to make one new business or social contact per week. I suggested you do the same. My goal was too lofty. It was not possible for me to cultivate a new relationship every week of the year. I did manage, however, to make about 20 new contacts, half of whom will be very good and helpful friends to me.
JDG and SL, for example, are doing business with one of my businesses. DL has brought to me and supervised a very lucrative business acquisition. TP is helping me edit my movie. JF introduced me to TLP, who lent me his van for two weeks. LG is talking to me about a local real-estate deal. BM has shown me how he buys expensive watches and luxury cars for pennies on the dollar. WP is talking to me about a potentially lucrative cross-marketing arrangement. And PR has hooked me up with someone who can keep my electrical gadgets working properly.
Networking is a two-way street. I’m doing favors/deals and providing advice/contacts to just as many people. All in all, it’s a very productive enterprise. As a result of my getting to know more than 20 new people this year, I’ve had (a) more fun, (b) more opportunity, (c) more money, and (d) fewer problems.
All in all, a great return on a very reasonable investment of time. Don’t underestimate the value of good contacts. Having a powerful Rolodex can make the difference between success and failure, happiness and frustration.
<How Did You Do in 2001?>
Did you make new contacts this year? If so, has anything positive come as a result?
Set realistic goals. Make at least two contacts per month (24 for the year) and hope that half of these will become part of your ongoing network of support. Some can be strictly business acquaintances. Some can be social ones. Some can be both. You can find good prospects by reading trade journals and attending business seminars, shows, and similar functions.
You’ll also get good leads by making it a habit to ask for them. Next time an interesting name comes up in conversation, ask for an introduction. Remember that good relationships are mutually beneficial. Start off on the right foot by doing something for the other person. Be generous and open. If your contact is worthy, you’ll get the same in return. If you do, continue. If you don’t, go on to the next lead.
[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]