Identifying the net worth of your network
Opendoorz Director, Cathy Dunbabin, shares a simple exercise to help you quantify the net worth of your network and identify opportunities to add value.
No matter how hard you work, how many hours you put in, or how much sleep you lose – you alone cannot make your business a success. One of the most common characteristics amongst successful entrepreneurs is the strength of their network – the range and depth of relationships they forge, nurture and develop in order to help them achieve their goals. In fact, it’s no under-statement to say that a strong network is often the deciding factor over a business’s success or its failure.
Understanding and identifying the value, or net worth, of your network is a valuable exercise to help you identify where there are strategic gaps in your network and where, sometimes, your network is a resource drain rather than helping to serve your goals and ambitions.
Using my experience over the last 20 years of networking, I’ve devised a simple exercise to help you identify the net worth of your network and identify where opportunities exist to help you achieve your goals.
Task 1: What do your get from your current network that helps you in business?
Grab a pen and paper and give yourself a quiet 5 minutes to think honestly about your current network. Jot down the things that it gives you in business at the moment. It’s important to note here that I don’t mean identify the things you think it should be giving you, only the things you actually get from it.
The top ten things you should be getting from your network.
Below are the top 10 things I believe you should be getting from your network.
- New Business Introduction
- Trusted Suppliers
- Repeat Business from Repeat Introducers
- Business/Personal Development
- Key Person of Influence (Reputation)
- Fun & Friendship
- Sounding Board
- Free Advice on Tap
- Accountability & Challenge
For our next task, I’m going to ask you to score yourself against each of these network values.
Task 2: How do you rank?
Have a look at your list of what you currently get from your network and compare it to the top 10 with descriptions below. Score your current network net worth using the following system:
- Full points if you fully match the description
- Half points if you sort of match the description
- No points if you can’t recognise the description in your current network
New Business Introductions
The holy grail of all networking! Introductions to new business opportunities that you would not have got without the help and support of your network.
People within your network that you have no qualms about recommending to your clients, friends and even family.
Those in your network you could take on a joint venture or that you can bring in to a project to help expand your offering.
Repeat business from repeat introducers
Those in your network who act almost as an extension to your service offering or you to theirs. You are their ‘go-to’ person for your area of expertise.
People who inspire you and who help you become a better business person. Or people in your network who give you opportunities to grow and develop your skills, such as speaking at events or conferences.
Key person of influence (reputation)
Are you a ‘go-to’ person for your area of expertise? Are you someone who your network turns to for sound advice or to add influence and credibility to an event?
Fun and friendship
Whoever said business and pleasure shouldn’t mix was bonkers! We spend so much time working your network absolutely should be a source of fun and friendship, not least because without those it’s impossible to have a genuine relationship with someone.
Is there an opportunity for you to go to a trusted contact and be brutally honest and know that you’re not going to be judged?
Free advice on tap
Different to a sounding board, this relates to someone in your network who you can pick up the phone to and ask them a quick question that helps you deliver a better service to your clients. Most commonly, these kinds of people are the lawyers, accountants and solicitors in your network.
Accountability and challenge
That all important ‘kick up the bum’ we all need every now and again. It’s the people in your network that help you focused and on track.
Task 3: Compare your scores
0 – 15 points
Your network is not yet offering you good value. You may be sitting comfortably in a group of lovely people or surrounding yourself with the same but there is definitely more you could be getting back.
It’s time to pull on those grown-up pants and make some changes. Look at the benefits you are not currently receiving and go find them!
16 – 29 points
You are enjoying many benefits from your network and this may feel enough but there’s a danger that you’ve worked hard to get it to this level and by sitting back now are missing out on so much more that is literally at your fingertips. Think about where the gaps lie in your network and make a concerted effort to cultivate new relationships that will serve you well. However, it’s not all about the new relationships, think carefully about those already in your network that could be of greater value to you.
30 – 35 points
Go you! Your network is desirable and solid. You’ll be receiving benefits in many areas, especially the ones that make most difference to personal and business success. Keep showing your appreciation and working hard to be as valuable to your connections as they are to you and you will never question the time or money you invest in developing your network!
Building a valuable network is not a quick win and does require time and effort. BUT, do it right and it will pay dividends for you and your business.
My top three tips when reviewing the networth of your network is to:
- Challenge the value you currently get
- Look for the gaps and make changes
- Decide where you should prioritise your energy
Connections are the currency of a successful business – how valuable are yours?
More about Cathy Dunbabin, Director of Opendoorz Limited
Any personality profile Cathy has ever done describes her as a full-on people person who is confident, has bags of energy and her own individual approach to life. So, it’s no surprise she loves hanging out with entrepreneurs and hearing all about their latest ideas and visions. What gets her up for work in the mornings is knowing that she will spend time with amazing aspirational people, learning from them, working with them and celebrating their successes.
Cathy founded OpenDoorz in 2011 with business partner Sonia Kearns. Based in Oxfordshire, Opendoorz is a revered professional network for established business owners, partners and senior managers in Oxfordshire.
Find out more about Opendoorz here: https://opendoorz.biz/