Build Your Personal Network; Extend and Engage

September 14th, 2017

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Don’t ignore your personal network.

If I had a pound each time I heard this I’d be very rich! It’s true; whether in life or business. I’m regularly asked if I know a good accountant, lawyer, web designer etc. Fortunately, I do, and I save people huge amounts of time and effort finding a supplier. And it minimises the risk of contracting with a ‘not so good’ accountant, lawyer, or web designer. I know lots of fabulous people and I’m always happy to recommend them.

Generally business owners are so busy running the business, they’ve neglected their networks. The “extra” effort to re-engage with their networks seems to stop them.

In my business coaching sessions, I suggest my clients, map out their own personal network. This is useful when you’re having trouble finding someone to help. All you need is a pen, paper and a glass of something plus half an hour of your time. I love mind mapping but lists work just as well.

Start by putting down everyone you know; family, friends, neighbours, current and ex-colleagues, suppliers, club members, local businesses, and even ex-spouses and your children’s friend’s parents!

Then, add what they do and who they might know; the extended network.

One client discovered the right person living two doors – his wife’s horse riding friend who happened to run a very successful distribution business. My client didn’t know and it was exactly what he needed!

A second client was at a family occasion. He met up with a cousin he’d not seen for ages only to find out that he was in an influential position at the company that my client had been trying to work with. Needless to say, introductions followed.

My god-daughter was struggling to get an interview for a university gap year placement. After a quick chat, I introduced her to three people. She approached them, had an interview and, two job offers followed. All she needed was an introduction.

Reflect on your network; who’s in it, who should be in it and how can you extend its reach to a much wider network? You’ll be surprised, just how influential this type of network can be. On the next wet Sunday afternoon or evening why not try mapping your non-LinkedIn network – I bet you there will be someone there who can help you!

When have you been successful in finding a solution within your own personal network?Save


Shirley Mansfield is a highly experienced business coach and Master Problem Solver. With over 25 years’ experience, she founded CoachSME in 2011 to work with business owners to maximise growth, and she is still trying to reduce the 14 handicap! Keep up to date by following me on Twitter @coachsme