When ‘Who Do You Know’ can really hurt your success. This is why.

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Almost everyone in every industry is familiar with the adage that success is built on who you know, no what you know. That certainly can be true.

We all want a wide network of people, colleagues and friends. It’s human nature and it helps us to have a community we can turn to when we want to socialize, learn about solutions for daily living and advance our careers.

Do you have problems with back pain? Ask someone you know to recommend a good doctor. Visiting somewhere out of town and want good restaurant recommendations? Ask a friend. Are you trying to raise seed capital for your startup business concept? Ask a business colleague if he knows of any investors to introduce to you.

Is that how it works. Who you know helps you find success in all aspects of life. Right? Maybe. But it can also be a “false positive”, especially when it comes to business. How? Let me share a few ways that an existing network can hurt you as you introduce your project to people.

1. The person you meet may not be a decision maker.

Just because you know someone with a great title doesn’t mean they can approve or take your project where it needs to go. Sometimes they can, but usually they can’t, especially today when authority and decision-making have become a complex web.

2. They don’t look at you in business terms

if you have a dude in an influential position, it can be difficult for them to take you seriously in business. They know you as a tennis partner or neighbor and have separated work from personal. They don’t see you in the same way as your business colleagues. They can be polite. But will they bet their business reputation on a person they know from the street? Maybe to your face, the answer is “sure,” but behind closed doors? Not necessarily. These “friends” can be the most devastating. They will “like” you to death and blame others for the last “no” you get. Sadly, you never had a chance.

Related: Friends without (without) benefits: mixing business with pleasure

3. It may be more difficult for you to ask a friend for a favor.

Let’s say your wife’s best friend is married to a company director and you ask him for a favor. What about weekly Friday night dinners or Sunday brunches? That couple will suddenly find excuses to skip these traditional events. Why? The husband does not want to be harassed, nor does he want to be confronted with a person he cannot help. The friendship days are off (or gone altogether), and your wife is mad at you forever.

4. Bad impressions on another project are hard to break

If you already have a network of people to go to with your projects and you’ve made bad decisions or produced poor projects with them (even if it’s just one time), they’ll remember you. Any new work you bring into the fold will be overshadowed by your old job or your old behavior. It’s hard to wipe the slate clean once it’s been dirty. This is even more true in today’s business atmosphere. Most executives are overly sensitive and risk averse when protecting their jobs. Beware. It is a challenge to reinvent yourself. Lots of people do it at some point in their lives, but once you’ve hit their net with a project that turns out to be a complete dud and a complete waste of time, reinvention is like pushing a peanut up Mount Kilimanjaro with your nose. . It’s just not going to happen very quickly or easily.

5. Once you ask someone for a favor, you will owe it to them.

Maybe not officially in a spoken way, but in that way under the shadows. And that? From then on, all your communication will be slightly restricted. Either for you or for them. You will be waiting for them to answer in your favor and speculate when you think they will have an answer for you. And they’ll be hesitant to let their guard down if you ask again… and over and over again. You don’t want to be embarrassed.

On the other hand, if they don’t help at all, then you have to suck it up and act like it doesn’t matter (when we all know it does matter, a lot, or you never would have asked in the first place.

6. Your connection might be too high

Do you remember the husband of your wife’s best friend? If he runs the place, he is too detached from the initial gatekeepers who scrutinize projects for value and appropriateness. He doesn’t do the job you’re asking him to do. Instead of asking for help with his project, he may want to ask the “right” person for a referral. A little nepotism isn’t bad, but you should know that there will be no discomfort when the deal doesn’t work out.

7. Your timing could be off.

You don’t always want to use your current network to make a project fly because you might want to save the favor. And if the project you have right now is not very good? You may think it’s awesome, but what do other people think? You don’t want to cash in on someone in your network until you know the project has legs and is good and powerful. You must be 100% sure of your time and preparation.

So, you see, there are quite a few reasons why taking advantage of the people you know can hurt your chances of success instead of helping them.

Can doors be opened that otherwise would not have been opened? Absolutely.

Consider what doors are opening and why.

Looking for solutions to a big question or just hoping to peek into a room you might not have otherwise seen? There is a big difference. So what is a person to do?

Seeking advice and knowledge through your own network is the best way to ask someone you know for a favor. You can find such doors on your own, without the help of your acquaintances. now. Most people are willing to help someone they don’t know when they feel the request is sincere and genuine.

Go out and meet people regularly, either in person or virtually. There are many groups, organizations, and mentoring programs to join. Start there and see where things go.

Related: 5 Ways to Connect and Network with Other Entrepreneurs

The key is learning to ask.

You’ll be surprised at what you can do without having to meet so many people. The thing that we all have at our fingertips today, which, if used correctly, can also change your path to success. Use LinkedIn and other social business sites to create new relationships based on the premise that you are networking to help each other. mutually. There are more opportunities for give and take and a fresh start in those scenarios.

No matter where you are on your way, someone needs your help or your ideas. Go out and create a new network of colleagues on your terms without worrying that your weekly Friday night dinner is now awkward and awkward.

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