“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
One of the most important aspects of a business deal is the understanding, the look in the eye, the handshake and the personal trust that comes from those simple interactions.
It wasn’t long ago when most relationships were started over a handshake, introductions were initiated in person and social capital was built over a conversation.
Now with the power of the social networks at our disposal, the way we connect looks very different today. With the rapid nature of communication, the lack of barriers between people at different levels of career and industry, and the ease and speed with which messages spread, we can connect with professionals all over the world.
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But the way we build relationships will never change. Building relationships takes time, energy and a conscious effort to provide value to one another.
Throughout the Wichita community, I consistently see social capital being invested daily. Whether that be people connecting over a cup of coffee at Reverie, networking at 1 Million Cups, collaborating at the e2e, GroundWork or the Labor Party, connecting with entrepreneurs at Startup Grind, engaging in unexpected conversations, or taking five minutes to provide an introduction.
Results are created through interactions, and interactions are created through relationships.
The one thing I’ve consistently seen entrepreneurs do that has significant measurable impact – more than any other factor – is the management of their relationships and their social capital.
Entrepreneurs who do that really well are bound to find some measure of success somewhere in their life. It may not be the course they set initially, but there’s invariably some positive that comes from it.
Entrepreneurs who thrive make it a point to continuously find ways to improve their own ability to manage and maintain relationships and to learn from others.
To build social capital, one must spend a fair amount of time making introductions, providing referrals, providing connections and generally engaging with the breadth of the community to benefit the lives of others.
Think of it like an investment strategy: The more social capital that you spend, the more your network shows appreciation and the more social capital you ultimately have to spend in future endeavors.
Social capital – or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships – is your most important asset as you build your business.
Seeking out and working in collaboration with others who share your interests and values will provide a stronger foundation, enabling you to reach a higher level of success than you would on your own.
Jacob Wayman is director of the e2e Accelerator. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in writing for “Business Perspectives”? Contact Tom Shine at email@example.com or 316-268-6268.