Having friends in the right places can just be what you need to help you succeed. It’s become the time when social capital is as important as financial capital. Social capital basically means having friends who can make big things happen for you when you need it.
For instance, your organisation may need to be a member of an association where it usually takes years to be approved. But you have someone that is close to you who works there who is more than willing to help make the process quicker for you. That is social capital.
Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need to Build Networks
- How to Build Strong Social Networks
Why Do You Need to Build Networks
1. Save Time
Social capital means having a good number of reliabe people who can always help you when you need them to. Naturally, that means you can leverage those networks to save time. Usually what stalls certain processes is the fact that there’s just not enough motivation in the people doing it.
When serving you is very important for someone, they will do anything they can to make sure you get through and faster. I have people that I have known for sometime who would naturally need to pay me a good amount of money for me to stop everything I am doing to help me. There are also other people that I would help in a heartbeat. Because helping them means so much to me.
If you have good and healthy connections with people they will help you get through lengthy processes faster than you would usually need. Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs there are just some things that we can’t afford to hold us back. Say you quickly need a corporate bank account and you need money deposited in it as soon as possible, a month may be too long. But if you have a friend who works there, he can even choose to work allnight for you.
I saw a tweet recently of a guy who had his brother choose to not knock off early like he should and get home to his family after a long day’s work. He sacrificed his evening just to help get a phone delivered in Shurugwi. And he made it happen for no cost at all. Social capital!
2. Avoid Pitfalls
I have wished several times if I had known someone who would have at least warned me of possible problems I would meet in my entrepreneurial journey. Once, I learnt that I needed to have affiliated with certain organisations to operate, and because I hadn’t and had already been operating, I was liable to some fines and restrictions.
Now, in another venture, I have a number of people that I know in bodies that are so related to my core business. As a result they are always eager to help me anticipate requirements, their worth and how to take advantage of that information that many would have to scout through painstaking paperwork. Just this 2021, I have avoided over 6 pitfalls that might have costed me half my revenues each – that would have meant closing my business. That, is the value of social capital.
3. Work Smarter
As entrepreneurs we often have to put on many hats. There is aways so much to do, and to be done perfectly. You could be having staff, but you learn you can’t always count on them to get everything done as well as we would hope to. There are papers to keep up with, there is news to read, there are files to be updated, there are technical tasks to be carried out and more.
But, did you know great leaders multiply themselves. I mean, you can do so much with so little time by making use of your networks. In a world where so many people specialise in very niche areas, they have gotten so good with certain tasks that things you would need a day to get done could be done in 5 minutes by someone. For instance, it doesn’t take me an hour to write more than one 4-paged academic essays, because I have been doing it for so long, I have got the hacks saved on my finger tips.
So, at the end of the day, if you have good networks, you’ll find most of the daunting tasks you need can mean doing a friend a favour and they will get you what you need without a drop of sweat.
International Negotiation experts and professors at Havard University, Roger Fisher and William Ury opened my mind in their timeless book about negotiation, Getting To Yes.
In that book, Mr Fisher and Mr Ury talk about how two girls who might need to share an orange might find each one of them with a full orange out of the 1 fruit available. By exploring interests they could find the one wants the orange skins while the other wants the pulp – there! They each get a full orange.
With good social capital you multiply yourself, everytime. You get to work smart. Not hard until you burn out.
Be more productive. Good networks keep your forcefield clear. You get to accomplish so much with so little, so you are more productive. With all that we have explored so far, I am sure you can agree that you will be able to use very little of what you have to do so much.
The #redmarketsunday campaign by Misred on twitter is a good example. So many of us have found ourselves getting more business from platforms like that. Because a well meaning person, with a great following is ready to leverage her platforms to get your product more awareness for nothing.
So, your 1GB data plan that is only worth a dollar is getting what you would otherwise get with 40 dollars. That, is capital productivity.
How to Build Strong Social Networks
Rapport! I’ve found that paying attention gives me a great advantage in my new acquaintances. I’m usually able to anticipate what their pain points, hopes and fears are. That helps me to connect with strangers at a deeper level that they tend to automatically need my business card and we keep up afterwards until they become a valuable connection.
By virtue of being humans, we are social beings. We have things that loosen us up, things that get us pumped and issues that we are passionate about, points we need to get across. In a world that is so bound and enslaved with work and the hustle, real conversation is easily relegated to unnecessary time-consuming nice-to-have.
Conversation is where these issues can intimately be given a platform.
The key to coversing for leadership is thoughtful questions and meaningfull listening. If you ask the right questions – the questions that tigger the people you’re connecting with to pour out their hearts and all you do is listen, you’ll find you will be more than abe to connect deeply with them. What’s more is if you can thoughtfully repeat what they have just told you and comment meaningfully. Conversation.
I spend about 1 fifth of my day in conversations – online and offline. Not the ‘hi’ and ‘how are you’ ‘I’m good’ kind of conversations.
But the; Person 1: ‘I have been trying to get my product out for a while but I just can’t figure out a way’ Me: ‘That is tough, and it can be so frustrating, I hope a way can be figured out soon.’ kind of conversations.
With this you can never go wrong at building and nurturing relcationships that become strong networks and social capital.
Read this piece on Entrepreneur by one of my favourite coaches, fellow entrepreneur, Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Jacqueline Whitmore: 6 Ways to Improve Your Conversations. I read this in 2014, I won’t ever forget a word from this. (Fine, that is exaggeration. But you get my point hahahah} This little 2 minute read article changed my life where building networks is concerned. It might even be one major block that helped me getting extroverted enough to make my way in the business world and beyond.
2. Build Relationships
Make it so that it doesn’t end with conversations only, but build something lasting. Connect further and when they share a pain you know you can take away, offer to help. When you find that they have something they are celebrating, show up with a thoughtful present and say nothing but great thoughtful words.
Make it so that you’re special in their minds, that you’re not easy to forget. Be empathetic, don’t always throw advices and solutions to every problem they share with you. If you would like to get a personal perspective or a hand in this area of your skills development, you can connect with me on WhatsApp.
To sum this up, I have gotten clients through referrals from people in high places. I know people who met their breaks by getting someone in the right places mention their name. Social capital is one form of capital that has been quite underrated and overlooked for too long by entrepreneurs, especially millennials.
It is not so expensive to build if you’re willing to earn. Give yourself to it and let it take control of you. Just to inspire you, I make a meaninful friend everyday, online and offline. I feel, that’s equpped me in more ways than I can count or care to write here. So Mr or Ms Entrepreneur go out there and make some great and lasting business connections.
Actually, start with me. Connect with me via WhatsApp here.