When people think of their “network” they probably think, yeah, I have such and such number of Facebook contacts.

Or we think, yes, I’m on LinkedIn and I currently have 1,543 people in my network.

That’s not networking, that’s number collecting.

There’s nothing wrong with numbers.

I coldly say “numbers” but perhaps it’s better to say online contacts.

Contacts share your content, and you share their content. You learn from one another.

It’s from these contacts that an eventual relationship sparks.

They become online friends. These folk transition to be business contacts.

Eventually through effort they may become part of your network.

People you meet in real time, in the real world are more likely to remain stalwarts in your network.

People you meet face-to-face will leap ahead of the “online numbers” to become strong contacts. They’ve seen you, heard you, learned about how you operate in daily scenarios.

Solid network

Here’s how you determine the true network.

How many of those numbers…I mean people, can you actually pick the phone up and call and arrange something?

Arrange a meeting?

Ask for help?

Offer assistance to them?

Once we figure this out we can start crunching numbers and determine our true network.

Recently our network came through

In just these recent weeks, we had a good opportunity to reap a reward from true, longterm networking.

This concept hit Li and me like a mac truck hauling bricks. And it did so in a marvelous way.

Many times, the power of your true circle of contacts really stands out during times of extreme problems.

As we’re changing our business model, pain accompanies the change.

It reveals who’s with us and who’s not.

When there’s a large change, folks who are grounded in routine and the past get confused.

They get worried.

They can get downright nasty.

People you see and work with everyday aren’t necessary in your true circle

Change opens wounds

These weeks, I’m documenting the change my business of 16 years is going through.

Not everyone who was part of the previous business model was a fan of the metamorphosis.

They’re gone.

But don’t think for a minute that big changes are free of big problems.

One reason we fail to change is because we don’t want to face the problems that the change unmasks.

But when problems come to light, solutions are not very far behind. Don’t they say it gets darkest before the dawn?

We were able to lean on our network.

Some folks we’ve known for 10+ years were able to fill in slots.

Other folks were able to fulfill the sourcing gap without us missing a beat.

This came from years of nurturing relationships.

Look for surprises in your networking

The people you see on a daily basis may be there because of routine, salary or no-place-else-to-go-mindset.

It doesn’t mean they’re “the ones”.

Love and respect everyone but maintain a wary attitude.

Remember that true help may come from surprise nooks and crannies.

Be in the habit of sweeping those nooks and crannies. Use the light of communication, the large broom of face-to-face visits and remembrance.

This pays off. It did for us anyway…