Network to Fill Your Gaps and Stand Out

I talked to a founder who’s had an interesting journey. He built a great product and company. Before becoming a founder, he worked in corporate America and aspired to start his own company. He had a problem in mind that he wanted to solve but realized there was a lot he didn’t know about building a start-up and raising capital. With no connections to those worlds, he decided to focus on networking to forge some. He developed a list of people he believed could help him and began meeting with other people who might know them. Over the course of a year, he ended up meeting most of those on his list, and they invested in his company and introduced him to their networks. He then hired a team and built the first version of his product. He was off to the races.

The big takeaway from his story? The power of networking. He was intentional about building his network to fill his gaps. He hustled to find a way to get in the room with people who had the knowledge and relationships he needed to achieve his goal of being a founder. This resonated with me because networking—building relationships—is something most can do. A little bit of effort and consistency usually have an outsize return, though, because so few people do do it. Taking the initiative and being consistent will set you apart and sometimes are all you need.

This founder’s journey, like every founder’s, is unique. If you follow his example, there’s no guarantee you’ll have the same outcome (you still have to execute). But his story shows that relationship building is a powerful tool in the arsenal of founders and aspiring founders.