It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I remember my Grandad telling me this at a very young age. He also said I should learn to play golf as the ‘right sort of people’ were to be found in golf clubs and on the greens. Sadly I followed in my father’s footsteps and played cricket. I had a go at golf (my mother’s uncle was club champion at Carnoustie so I got some pretty good coaching whenever we went to visit) but I just couldn’t hit the long balls straight enough. I was also pretty good at cricket and really enjoyed the game. It turns out I was also pretty good at rugby although I didn’t find this out until I was seventeen. I was invited to make the numbers up in the local rugby clubs second team one Saturday. I played for the rest of the season and then was picked for the first team, county U19s, U23s and the senior side. For some reason rugby seemed to be much better for meeting ‘the right sort’ than cricket. Or maybe it was because I was playing at a much higher level.

Anyway I went away to university and game playing stopped for a time. Thinking about it, my very first job after graduating came to me through one of the lecturers and I became a biologist in a hydroponics based business. Then my real breakthrough came from playing cricket for a Pharmaceutical giant works team. I was informed of a vacancy in the promotions department by a team mate and successfully applied for the post. Then a bit later on one of the medics, who signed off adverts or brochures as being medically correct and ethical, approached me on behalf of a larger healthcare advertising agency. I was headhunted.

Where am I going with this? It was obvious that my Grandad was right back then and is still right today. This is why networking is so important, both to owners and employee of SME’s and larger multinationals. Whether you are looking for new business, a new position, a new employee or a new supplier we all like to have a personal introduction from an influential person as this can at least break down any initial barrier and give you a better chance to be heard.

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