I recently crossed over 2,000 “connections” on Linkedin. As a speaker on raising capital, I pick up lots of business cards. Most of these cards find their way into Google contacts. I now have 3,200 people and businesses listed. I am rich! Or, am I?
I agree with many others that relationships are an entrepreneur’s greatest asset. It’s not what you know, but who you know!
A relationship is “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other,” according to Merriam Webster.
Other than a minimal digital pairing on Linkedin or a data file in Google Contacts, I do not really have a relationship with most of the people. In that respect, my Linkedin and Google Contacts are no better than a phone book.
I see a relationship as an exchange of benefits. If I give up something of value, but get nothing back, there is no relationship. If I get something of value, but give nothing, there is no relationship.
Relationships, like any asset, need management. Not all relationships have the same value. Certain relationships will require a greater investment to acquire and maintain. Of these relationships, some relationships will provide greater benefit.
Everyone should first consider himself or herself as a new product — a bundle of features that can generate certain outcomes that will benefit different people.
As a consultant, I can view myself like a product. I have certain capabilities and knowledge that I can sell
I decided that I needed to manage my relationships — enhance existing relationships, validate uncertain relationships and create new relationships — in 2017 to validate my relationships.
I identified a charity, Plant With Purpose, that is doing cool work in helping communities in developing countries. It reflects my values. I then planned a crowdfunding campaign, and I am now asking everyone in my network to support it with a contribution of $25. If each person gives up $25 to the charity at my request, then a validation of our relationship has been achieved.
I write and post articles, like this one, in Linkedin on a regular basis. This is a form of giving value. Is it enough? I know every one of my Linkedin connections does not read all of my articles. Therefore, am I giving value? Enough value?
I get nothing from nearly all of my connections. I questioned whether I should simply remove all of those connections or take some other action to validate the relationship. I began studying “Relationships are Everything!,” written by Mark Maraia. I decided that I wanted quality, not quantity. I wanted shared values.
Karl Dakin is president of Dakin Capital Services LLC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.