Networking is Your Secret Weapon

We're Always Busy. That's Not Changing.

In the WordPress ecosystem, where I spend a good amount of time, there is never enough time to get everything done. There's also a long list (that never gets shorter) of things you should be doing to help your business grow. Even companies that are doing well never seem to slow down. There's always more to do. So it's no surprise that networking is left to an ad hoc activity that maybe happens when you meet in person. But today I want to make the case that networking is your secret weapon.

Are You Trying To Hire Someone?

The other day I wrote about hiring, and the things your new hire must believe. If you're trying to hire right now you know how hard it is. Everyone is looking. Everyone is being interviewed. The power balance sits with employees who can demonstrate immediate value and get paid well for it.

So how do you compete when others have more money or bigger titles ready for every employee who is looking for work?

I think the trick is talking to people who haven't yet started looking for work. In other words, it's all about the power of networking. It's no different than looking for an apartment in San Francisco, or New York City. It's better to know about a vacancy before it gets listed.

But it's more than just talking to someone before they start looking. Because once they start looking, there are a ton of options for them.

When it comes to networking, the power comes from crafting a position that is uniquely perfect for the candidate. And that can only happen if you know the candidate and know what would delight them, what would fit with their career narrative.

Are You Trying to Do Partnerships?

The other day I was talking to the folks who build FluentCRM. They had built some cool integration with LearnDash already but I noticed there was one or two things that I wished they had done.

If I was a stranger to them, I could still have sent an email to them. But we all know where those emails go. Every product owner gets emails asking for features.

Instead, I reached out to the leadership there to ask a question – to confirm what I thought was the case. They responded that I was right but that they'd work on the tighter integration!

That comes from talking with people you know. And that's the power of networking. You can build tighter partnerships with people you already know than with strangers.

In fact, that's one of the best parts of CaboPress. It's a conference I run that has done one thing well every year over the last 8. It helps people connect face to face, so that when they leave the event, there's enough trust and relationship to take next steps together.

Do You Need Help?

The other day I was struggling to solve a tough technical problem. I needed help. So I reached out to my buddy Chris, who is an expert in the problem I was facing.

I initiated contact via email and asked for a quick 15 minute call. It helps that we've known each other for years (as he's been a repeat CaboPress attendee). He sent me a calendar link and we were on the phone the next day.

More importantly, less than a week later he had an answer to my challenge. One that I would never have come up with.

Networking is your secret weapon because it expands your access to brilliance. And that's really all that I need to say about that. For no other reason than that alone, you should spend consistent time connecting with people.