#1. If you don’t ask the question the answer will always be no
In my experience my most powerful asset has been to ask questions that nobody else wants to. Most people are deathly afraid of asking others for help or assistance or to check something out. The reality is business is essentially people finding solutions to other people’s problems. My theory is that if you don’t ask the question you are automatically receiving a no – if you ask and don’t get the answer you wanted originally then you will likely receive more information than you had before. They might know someone or be able to guide you in the right direction.
#2. Time doesn’t mean anything to a network connection
This means a few things – first part of this is when somebody cares about you and your passion, they will find time to give to you, it might not be right away but they will make time. The second part of this is that there is no expiry date on a connection. I once had a guy message me about 2 months after I pitched at the end of the Tech Ready Program basically saying he would love to help me out. Reach out even if it’s been a while, remind them of where you met – often you will meet the right people at the wrong time, it’s never too late to reach out again.
#3. Your network is your net worth
The most powerful thing you have is your network. Don’t ever undervalue who you know, it’s your most beneficial asset in building relationships and potential mentors. I had very little idea as to what I was doing when I started my business, I would often talk about all the problems I was facing with friends and family. When something was outside of the scope of my direct network this was when the magic happened, someone would always know someone that they could put me in contact with. I have had thousands of dollars’ worth of advice for free because I simply reached out to my network.
#4. Research and connect (TRW)
When I felt like I had exhausted my networks of all the answers, I knew I needed to expand my reach. I joined the Tech Ready Program to grow my network and leverage connections to further develop my business acumen and get the answers to the questions that were whirling around my head. The program helped connect me to the right people. The most profound moment for me was when I had had an investor decide not to invest for personal reasons – I wanted to quit, but walking into TRW Christie had found me a fashion tech guru and she sat down and breathed life back into me. I will never forget that moment as it was so powerful in the business’s journey – all built from networks.
#5. Don’t be afraid to reach out
If your extended networks can’t help you this is when the Hustler in you must come out. Suck it up and be humble in your approach. Reach out to those you don’t know via, Linkedin, Facebook business groups and networking events (it’s probably not appropriate via Social Media unless you have a warm introduction). Do your research and make sure you have a clear idea as to what you are reaching out for. Time is one of the most valuable assets to an entrepreneur so don’t waste it when someone offers it to you. People love to help those that are starting out, it’s encouraged in the start-up ecosystem.