If you think having a large network will guarantee success, you are mistaken.
Most entrepreneurs, especially the young ones, have the misconception that when it comes to networking quantity is more important. That is far from the truth. Just like with everything else, you should create a network that is reliable, trustworthy, and highly professional even if it is small. You might argue here that it is possible to build a network that is highly reliable and large at the same time. True, it is possible but how will you nurture it?
You can compare networking to tending an herb garden in order to understand this concept better. Initially you plant 2 herbs and nurture them just fine. You decide on expanding it and plant 2 more. After a while, you plant a few more. Remember, all these herbs are useful, helpful, and required. At the end of the year you have a huge garden full of various herbs but more than half of them are on the verge of perishing because you were not able to take good care of them through the year. This is what happens with networking: if you don’t tend to it, it will rot. That is the reason why we advise you to create a network that you can handle comfortably rather than creating an overwhelming network that can easily go out of control.
Apparently, the average person can handle not more than 250 contacts. Some can handle only 150 while others can reach 200 but there are barely any people who have been able to manage more than 250. If you have more contacts than this number and you’d like to manage all of them you will need to hire help. There is no rule to keep expanding your network when you can’t tend to it and you don’t need to do it either. It is the same as making friends – when you have too many, things can get stressful.
Here are tips that will help you:
- Be strategic: Get close to them but not too close. Also, do not spend all your time with only a chosen few. Spread it evenly.
- Be diverse: Don’t restrict yourself while growing your network. Include people from different wakes of life.
- Focus on quality: Coming back to where we started, it is quality that you should focus upon and not the quantity. Even if you have only 100 contacts but are in excellent terms with them, you are much better off when compared to those who have 250 contacts and are unable to handle them.
Networking is about growing your network smartly and not recklessly. Create contacts only if you are sure you can handle them.
Having a wide network in the entrepreneurial world is always advisable but that doesn’t mean you create more relationships than you can handle. When it comes to networking, even a few great contacts will suffice as long as you can handle them and nurture them.