Networking is a big part of how business gets done. But sometimes we forget that it's not just the networking that we do -- it's also important how our network of contacts does their networking that can affect us, too
Jeff Cohn, who is with the angle investor group Tech Coast Angles, has a list a ten attributes of successful angle investments. For networkers, one stood out clearly:
All investors contributed contacts, industry knowledge or competitive intelligence
The takeaway for entrepreneurs is that it's important to network with potential investors who bring more to the table than money. Investors who understand your industry can make introductions to prospective customers and potential business partners are worth a great deal.
The same holds true for everyone else, too. Strive to develop contacts with people who understand your industry and have connections who might be interested in what you offer.
If you're looking for a job, look for contacts who know managers who have made hiring decisions and are willing to make introductions for you.
If you're in sales, look for contacts who know purchasers of your type of products and are willing to make referrals.
If you're an investor, actively network with people who associate with entrepreneurs in the industry where you invest.
It takes time to research "who knows who," but it increases the value of your networking efforts tremendously.