A handshake, a chat, a courteous exchange of business cards, then an add on LinkedIn. Another new connection for me. But that new connection needs nurturing for it to have meaning and only then can it become really powerful.
As an entrepreneur it is crucial to leverage the power of connections because they can give extraordinary access to a potential customer, vital piece of advice or a new platform to tell your story.
An unfair advantage can come as a warm introduction or recommendation. People place a great deal of value on a new person when they have been verified by an already trusted connection.
People making thoughtful introductions makes the world go round and that is a lot more efficient than standing in a room full of strangers in the hope of making a business match. Even in the last five years in London’s thriving tech start-up world I’ve witnessed a sea change of attitude from one of being very possessive of connections to one of understanding that in sharing that asset everyone can win. The halo effect of being helpful is not only good for the soul but can have an unintended consequence of reaping the rewards of the goodwill it generates towards you.
Building relationships can be time consuming and entrepreneurs know better than many how finite a resource that is, so it is important to have fun and share your passion for what you are doing. It is far more likely you’ll do business with someone you feel good being around.
To both kick off and maintain relationships and also spark ideas I’ve found Charlie App to be useful, it does a lot of the googling for you if you are doing some research on a contact.
My brother, Tristan, and our little sister’s boyfriend, Will, and I set up our own company, Howdy Hub, to help build powerful connections. LinkedIn is a remarkable vault of human professional interconnectivity but it tends towards making a link only after a physical meeting. We complement LinkedIn to allow people to discover others around them at meetups and conferences or when joining a new community. No more standing around in a room full of strangers.
Howdy is developing artificial intelligence to recommend who is a match for your professional needs. You can see who you have met before and where, it is contextualised so you can continue to develop the relationship. We plan for Howdy to become one of your trusted introducers. Howdy’s AI is in its infancy but the moonshot is to bring people together from different fields of expertise, people whose paths wouldn’t ordinarily cross. In doing so they have the chance to collaborate, solve problems and create new, as yet unimagined, opportunities.
When we only rely on being in the right place at the right time we miss countless opportunities or spend valuable time making connections that have no longevity.
At this dawn of artificial intelligence we should be exploiting it in our daily lives to help our businesses and careers flourish.
However useful Howdy becomes we won’t have a word said against the magic of smiling, striking up a conversation and seeing what journey that might take you on.