Every entrepreneur and leader needs the leverage that others provide. No one can do it alone. Acquiring these partnerships comes naturally for some people, while others may need to strategize a bit.
Networking is simply about knowing the people who could work with you—or one another—in some future capacity. The key is to look for ways you can help your friends and colleagues by connecting them with other friends or colleagues who have the knowledge and expertise to help them get the results they want.
You should literally have a database; save it on the cloud or on a jump drive that you won’t lose. Build and nurture your database of connections so that people are always happy to hear from you. If you like people, you can connect them. They win, and you win.
The first step in identifying folks to add to your database is to meet a lot of people and learn about them. If you have any hesitancy about meeting strangers, I suggest you work to overcome it. Just practice: Listen to what they say and ask a lot of questions. Some of my best connections have happened unexpectedly, when I met someone who turned out to be important to my success. Be open to meeting people when on vacation, on a plane, in an elevator or wherever.
I have 25,000 people in my contact database and I use those connections to help my clients connect and grow. It has taken me years to build that network and it’s one of my most valuable assets.