Practice what you preach! That old adage is true yet we fail to comply by its simple logic. I work with practitioners of all sorts across the world and preach the importance of tapping into their networks. Well, I would like to share an experience of mine where I actually followed my own advice. It's simple, but I think it nicely illustrates the point.
I'm in the process of developing a new tool that walks individuals through the networking process. I had been using a printer for a couple of years and always felt, but not sure, that they were over charging me. I called a few printers on my own and found that they were either more expensive or less expensive, nothing consistent so I knew there was some wiggle room. I don't know any printers from my first degree of contacts, so I started to think about my network and who would be most likely to know someone in the printing trade. I thought about my contacts who would most likely know someone who worked in a capacity that required printing. That brought me to a friend who work for a large organization. I called him up and asked him if he knew anyone in his organization that required printing services on a regular basis. He quickly told me that a manager in their HR department just launched an internal program and had some printing done. I asked him what would be the best way to get in contact with this person. He said that he would get in contact with him and ask the individual if he could help me. Well, to make a long story short, I got in contact with the manager in my friends company and he was able to save me 40%.
This is a simple and but yet uncommon occurrence. What I do want to point out is that I made the conscious act of thinking about my network and the potential social resources that existed within it. My first degree contacts (friends, family) were not printers, so I had to think about the second degree contacts by thinking about who would most likely know a printer or someone who requires printing services on a regular basis. Taking that time to go through that process saved me 40%. Imagine what we can do if we think like this all the time. The sky is the limit. Just thought I would share an example of what I've been preaching for the longest time :).
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