Shawn Maloney, Journal Prep, Montreal, QC, Futurpreneur Canada Mentor
We have all heard this expression: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Well, there is a certain amount of truth to that statement, particularly when it comes to business. Unfortunately, many new entrepreneurs interpret this to mean that their success will be largely determined by their current, limited networks. Most fail to see a network as dynamic, constantly expanding and being enriched with each and every interaction.
So let’s assume you agree that you can expand your network. Now, what’s it going to take? Quite simply, you need to push fear aside. Fear of criticism and rejection is what holds back most new entrepreneurs, preventing them — and their businesses — from ever reaching their true potential. Fortunately, entrepreneurs have had one tool in their toolbox for many years to help soften the blow, a tool that can open doors to opportunities beyond their wildest imaginations: email.
Nobody likes being criticized or rejected but it’s part of life (and often a big part of trying to grow a startup). But if you reach out to the people you really want to connect with via email, what’s the worst that could happen? They block you? Ignore you altogether? Now just imagine what could ensue if they did take interest in your email message.
I’ve used email thousands of times to reach out to people — even Nobel Prize winners, as I describe in this post on my company blog — and much of my success to date can be tied in one way or another to pushing aside fear and contacting influential people in various walks of life.
So go ahead and send out a few dozen emails to people with whom you would like to connect. Just be sure to have a good reason; if it’s just to rub shoulders then you likely won’t even get a reply. Of the few dozen emails you send, it might take just one positive response to help push you and your business to new heights.