To be able to truly grow your business and bring it to the next level, you need to have a solid and well-rounded network.
For your network to be effective, you should make sure that you have these 9 types of people in your network:
1. The Mentor
This is someone who has achieved the success you aspire to reach. A mentor gives you an honest feedback on how you’re doing, providing valuable inputs into important career or business decisions you make.
Sometimes a mentor can help you find sponsors and open doors of opportunities for you through his or her own connections.
2. The Coach
While a mentor supports and guides you to reach personal career growth, a coach focuses on providing actionable steps that can have direct impact in improving your job performance & skills.
3. The Industry Insider
This is someone with a level of expertise in your chosen industry. They have access to valuable information and have vast knowledge of industry trends, thus they can tell you, from an insider’s perspective, what’s currently happening in the market and where it’s headed. The insider also knows a lot of people in the industry that may be important to your business.
4. The Influencer
Infuencers are not necessarily high-profile leaders, but they have a natural ability to influence people and make things happen. They can convince others to get on board with their ideas.
If you have an influencer back your business ideas early on, you have high chances of getting it heard by sponsors and senior leaders.
5. The Connector
As the name suggest, the connector makes a lot of connecting – they can connect you with the right people, resources, opportunities or information. They have connections at all levels across multiple industries.
They do a lot of introductions and they love opening doors for people! You definitely want to have a connector in your network!
6. The Idealist
This is someone you can brainstorm with because no matter how farfetched or ‘out there’ your ideas are, they don’t tell you to stop. They help you dream big dreams, which is important when you’re an entrepreneur.
7. The Realist
The realist will bring you back down to the ‘world of the real’ when he or she sees that your expectations exceed your efforts. Realists don’t stop you from dreaming big, they want to see you achieve it by making sure that you’re working for it. You do still have to keep it real.
8. The Partner
Find someone who’s in the same place as you are now. If you have just launched a small business, find someone like you (outside of your industry). Because you are at the same level and venturing the same path, you can do a lot of sharing. Share your woes and wins, your resources, information or opportunities.
9. The Newbie
This is someone you can mentor. Someone you can guide just like how your own mentor guided you. In the business world, it’s always a give and take. You take some, you give some.
The trick to building a more diverse network is to make sure that you’re connecting with people within and outside your industry that fit into the 9 types above. You can meet these people almost anywhere: at social meetups, business gatherings, parents-teachers associations, corporate parties and at networking events like the upcoming MACs Women’s Entrepreneur Summit and EXPO.