I’ve written a lot about how valuable having a strong professional network can be. One of the most obvious benefits is being able to get warm introductions to people you want to work with. One of the less obvious benefits is that your network can be a great research tool.
There are so many people and businesses is in the word, it’s nearly impossible to know about everything. Having a strong network provides extra sets of eyes on the world.
For a venture capitalist, there are so many startups in the world, it would take a lifetime to do as much research or go to as many events. In addition, by the time a company is on something like Techcrunch or something, it may be too late to invest for many investors.
Having a network of people that are checking out new technologies, meeting entrepreneurs, etc. gives you exponentially more reach.
There are probably many things you would benefit from knowing about that simply isn’t publicised. For example, I’ve had people tell me about big companies starting initiatives where it would make sense to get involved.
In a job search, you could learn about which companies are hiring for your skillset, and what exactly they’re looking for so you can position yourself accordingly.
I even get most of my recommendations for movies, products, tv shows, restaurants, etc. from people I know.
To be a great connector, always have your eyes open for people and information that the your network would find valuable. There have been several times where I’ve introduced two people who I thought would know each other but simply didn’t. Everyone’s busy and can’t always be on the look out for people they should meet or potential customers or partners.
Key Takeaway: Everyone you know has a set of eyes that can be keeping a look out for relevant people and information for you. The more people you know the less “fog of war” you have. More relationships means more eyes on the world.