Do you really need more people in your business network?
Well, yes and no. I’m sure you have people in your business network you never talk to. I do. And while I want to remain connected with them, how I stay in touch depends on the value we provide each other.
You receive my weekly emails and a recap at the end of every month. But I don’t really know you unless you reach out to me—which I encourage you to do. You might have a question about referral selling I can answer, want to work together to build a referral culture, or put me in touch with a perfect referral partner. We’ll become part of each other’s business network. But chances are, we’ll never be a part of each other’s inner circle. Because those circles are small. And that’s OK.
There are a finite number of people with whom we can have a real relationship. I bet you can name everyone in your inner circle—the people you learn from, the people who inspire you, challenge you, expand your thinking, and yes, tell you to stop. Ideally, you have referral partners in your close business network—people who offer different services to the same size companies in the same industries as you. Powerful!
We’re all way too busy to have indiscriminate relationships. We need to nurture the ones that count. That’s why I resonated with this article, “Why Your Inner Circle Should Stay Small, and How to Shrink It,” by Scott Gerber in Harvard Business Review. He explains that everyone in your core group also has an inner circle and provides questions to ask yourself to determine the people to include in your inner circle.
Spoiler alert: Bigger isn’t always better.
Here’s a snippet from the article:
Why Your Inner Circle Should Stay Small, and How to Shrink It
By Scott Gerber
When it comes to networks, the bigger the better, right? Not necessarily. Carefully curate your most trusted, inner circle and you’ll be surprised at how much more valuable you’ll become to the larger community of people in the world who care about the same things you do.
We live in a time when “bigger is better” is the prevailing assumption when it comes to, well, just about anything. So it’s only natural for us to want to supersize our network of connections — both online and off — because the more people we know, the greater our chances of being exposed to opportunities that may lead to professional advancement, potential mentors, material success, and so on. But in fact, being what we call a “superconnector” has nothing to do with supersizing your network.
Read the rest of the article on HBR.org.
(Featured image attribution: Joel and Jasmine Forestbird)