Strategic Networking for Business

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  • Welcome to workshop
    Won’t bore you too long with theory - start very basic, get hands on

    Me: EBIN student, formerly IS, research on SN
    Made a startup out of our business plan, realised how much networking gave me
    And wrote my dissertation on StratNet
  • Why a workshop on this topic?!

  • Exchange:
    versus hierarchies (no search for resources required)
    versus markets (lowest price wins)
    Network: Knowing what people have & want
    Efficiency of exchange depends on relationship quality
    Strong (family) weak (

    BUT: Something is required for exchange in networks
  • How many people know what social capital is?
    Ask for definitions

    SC is granted by others through networking
  • 5 capitals:
    Unlike financial, manufactured, SC does not provide value by itself !

    Like human capital, but hard to express (PhD vs 5000 friends on facebook – or followers on twitter)



  • Diversity crucial !
    But we tend towards homophily

    You don’t know the right question
    Text Messaging, Walkman, ...
  • Note: Different benefits require different effort and levels of trust – i.e. Different relationships
  • Strategic: Also knowing when needs have to be fulfilled (my mistake – chatted with potential partners, but didnt have anything)
  • Plan: number your stages
    Needs: Dependent on stage
  • For Delivery plan: , e.g. put post-its per month on it, take away if done
    It’s build-measure-learn (set a target and see if it works out)
  • Strategic Networking for Business

    1. 1. Which relationships can boost your career and start-up? Strategic Networking
    2. 2.  Formerly Information Systems  Research project on social networks  EBIN 2009/2010  Business Plan (EBIN group)  Execution – with several twists and turns  Dissertation: Strategic Networking for Entrepreneurs  Now: Benjamin F. Wirtz
    3. 3. Meeting 2-3 people at an event and learning more about their needs and challenges is far more valuable than collecting (or giving away) 20 business cards. Many sales people get 80-90% of their business through networking organizations. About 70% of all jobs are found through networking A referral generates 80% more results than a cold call Socially embedded employees are 40% less likely to quit their job. 74% of all buying decisions are made on a friend’s recommendation
    4. 4.  Lecture  Basics of social theory  Why networking is valuable  How to utilise networks  Workshop (hands on!)  Analyse your goals and needs  Check if/how your network can help you  Plan to align your network towards success Overview
    5. 5. The lecture bit
    6. 6.  Talking to people  Swapping business cards  Selling yourself  The art of making and maintaining relationships  It’s all about exchange ! Strategic Networking What is Networking ?
    7. 7.  Crucial for exchange in networks:  Trust (comes from positive experiences over time)  Perceived value of further cooperation by others  Social capital = value of information, knowledge and resources, that an individual can potentially access, because others perceive cooperation (for exchange) as beneficial to themselves. What is Social Capital ? Strategic Networking
    8. 8. How can networking be valuable? Social Capital Goals Information, Knowledge, Resources Value Networking Strategic Networking
    9. 9.  Four eyes see better than two  Different points of view  New ideas  Complementary information  Examples  Students: Where to get a job  Entrepreneurs: Market insights, feedback  Managers: Moves of competitors, foresights Benefits (I): Information Input Strategic Networking
    10. 10.  Humans specialise  Complementary knowledge, skills  Tacit Knowledge (based on experiences, awareness)  Hard to transfer, needs a lot of trust and time  Examples  Students: How to write a successful application  Entrepreneurs: How to write a business plan  Managers: How to negotiate good deals Benefits (II): (Tacit) Knowledge Strategic Networking
    11. 11.  You don’t own the world  ...and your friends neither  But you can help each other out  “Activate” social capital to get money, time or goods  Examples  Students: Getting invited for dinner  Entrepreneurs: Investment, website redesign  Managers: Extra staff from another department Strategic Networking Benefits (III): Resources
    12. 12.  “Ideas that spread, win” (Seth Godin)  Visibility (let others know what you need)  Credibility  Search (for resources or knowledge)  Examples  Students: Get jobs by recommendation  Entrepreneurs: Market your product for free  Managers: Get promoted Strategic Networking Benefits (IV): Spreading Information
    13. 13.  Networking by itself has no value at all  Diversity: You can’t do/have everything yourself  Dunbar’s number: You can’t have more than (roughly) 150 friends  Cognitive constraint Strategic Networking Why a strategic approach?
    14. 14. Strategic Networking What is Strategic Networking?  Aligning your network towards achieving your goals  Strategic  Analysing your needs and haves  Planning your relationship portfolio  Tactical  Planning networking events (which ones and why)  Juggling socialising and working  Operational  The Talking & shake hands part (exchange)
    15. 15. The workshop bit
    16. 16. Strategic Networking Strategic Networking Framework Analyse - Needs - Haves Plan - Relationship Portfolio Network - Search and exchange - Contact and relationship analytics
    17. 17. 1. Define a goal (e.g. succeed with a business idea) 1. And make a rough plan how to achieve it 2. Define your needs 1. Information Input (e.g. competitors, market situation) 2. Tacit Knowledge (e.g. how to run a start-up) 3. Resources (e.g. funding) 4. Information Output (e.g. to get a strong partner on board) Strategic Networking Analyse
    18. 18. 3. Analyse what you have and whom you know 1. Match to needs 2. Plan A (easy) and plan B (backups or ideal) 3. Is your relationship at the right level? 4. Create your Relationship Portfolio 1. Know your “hubs” (people with lots of contacts) 2. Ensure diversity Strategic Networking Plan
    19. 19.  Use tools to support networking  LinkedIn (find suitable contacts)  Plancast (meet them at events)  Twitter (find out what they are up to)  Reflect if you are on target  HandyElephant Strategic Networking It’s all planned – what now?
    20. 20. Strategic Networking Networking Cycle Prepare Interact Post- Process
    21. 21.  For shy/introverted people:  http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/the-shy-connector  Ground breaking paper:  Granovetter (1973) – The Strength of Weak Ties  For short breaks:  TED.com (e.g. Daniel Kahneman)  Wikipedia: Expected Utility Theory, Prospect Theory Strategic Networking Further Reading
    22. 22. Benjamin F. Wirtz Email: ben@handyelephant.com Twitter: benfwirtz

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