I'm sure you believe that everyone has something of value to contribute... perhaps a thought, a suggestion, or a vision. That one of the best ways to determine if you're headed on the right path is to bounce ideas off others, or that a successful business owner knows that a multi-faceted team is the best source for continued growth?
But, do you know that many business owners employ people with similar ideas, values and beliefs? Or, that someone who has absolutely nothing in common with you can provide you with truly invaluable information, resources, insights, or inspiration? We all know that no man is an island, and in both life and business this is so very true; but it is whom we have on the island with us that can be paramount.
Here's a scenario: Rosita is looking for ideas on how to build her business. She invites three of her closest friends to dinner, but one of them is looking after a younger sister while his parents are out of town, so he brings her along. During dinner they brainstorm ideas, but Rosita finds that everything her friends come up with are ideas that she has already tried, or ones that she's entertained and discarded. While listening to her best friend voice yet another idea that she'd tried unsuccessfully, she noticed the sneer that crossed the face of Gordon's sister. Once Hillary was done speaking Rosita asked Gordon's sister if she had something to say. Francesca took a deep breath and outlined a few ideas that left the entire group speechless for several long moments. Rosita was astonished at the brilliance that came from the teenager with a chip on her shoulder. Later that night when she was lying in bed Rosita thought about the evening and had an epiphany. She realized that Francesca's input provided her with a whole different perspective of how her business was viewed by others ... namely her potential customers, the ones she wanted to attract. She realized that because she was approaching her marketing campaigns from her perspective, that she was doing her business a great disservice. Francesca's ideas were fresh, innovative, and young, all qualities that could make her sales explode. In one afternoon Rosita learned just how invaluable stepping out of her inner circle can be.
So what does one do when the teenager of a friend is not available, or when someone with greater expertise is needed? The answer is network! In The One Minute Millionaire, Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen spend a great deal of time discussing the benefits of networking. But for the novice they discuss how to build your own personal million dollar network. How does one begin? According to Hansen and Allen, just about everyone knows 200-250 people. The first important piece of information is that networking does not just apply to your immediate circle of contacts, but to those people in your contacts' circles as well. So if there are 200 people in your circle, and each of those people has 200 contacts in their circle, your network becomes 40,000 strong! Not bad from an initial list of just 200 people. They also suggest that you compose a list of 200 people that you would love to "meet, study, grow with, talk to, spend time with, and imitate until you can emulate, match, and surpass." Hansen and Allen assure that just creating the list will provide you with the direction necessary to quickly assimilate into the networks of those you admire. Hansen and Allen state that "you will be astounded how fast you synchronize in time and space with these folks."
The benefits of a strong network are plentiful. Surrounding yourself with successful people will help you meet more successful people, which can only further your goals and enhance your success in all of your endeavors. Contacts are the key to success because more contacts mean greater leverage. Therefore, when you are looking for information and ideas, don't hesitate to look outside of your circle of friends and associates. Use the network that you have built, or are in the process of building, which will represent the hundreds of assets or "hot commodities" that will help you attract whatever success you are seeking ... personal or financial, or both. A strong network is the hottest commodity a person can have. So get out your pen, begin your list, and determine how you are going to make yours sizzle!