Your network is your net worth: this phrase can be interpreted in so many ways. Financially, Thione Niang said it best. He is quoted to have said that every person should know five people s/he can borrow money from at anytime in his/her immediate surroundings.
Why is this important? Simply because no (wo)man is an island and difficulties and opportunities are part of life. Facing difficulties or seizing opportunities require a support system of people who are prepared to stand up for you. And vice versa. In today’s society where narcissism and mistrust prevail, how does one go about building such a network?
1. It starts with you: cultivate honesty
Be truthful. Honor your commitments. Never take advantage of anyone. Show your true personality. These characteristics give you credibility and earn you a stellar reputation among your peers. Being known as an honest person who lives a serious lifestyle is at your advantage. When an honest person is in trouble or needs assistance, it is very rare that s/he doesn’t find a helping hand or two. It’s simply the law of nature.
2. Network with like minded individuals
If you’re serious about accomplishing great things in life, you need to be around like minded people. They will encourage and motivate you to keep on giving your best. They are also a great source to access resources, contacts, finances, etc. Such people usually have extra funds or know other people with funds that you could have access to.
3. Get to know your network’s lending policy
Although your good reputation might speak for yourself, not everyone you know believes in mixing money and friendship. You probably know people who don’t lend money at all; those who lend only to specific people; and those who set limits to their lending policy. Get to know that in order to know how to approach people in your network. You would be surprised to see that sometimes assistance comes from the most unexpected sources.
4. Set up a credible payment schedule
A loan is very distinct from a grant or a gift. When someone lends you money, s/he expects to get it back. It’s your responsibility when you ask for a loan to have a clear idea of when and how you will pay it back. Again, be honest. If you’re in trouble and you don’t know when you’ll see then end of it, let it be known. If you used the funds for an investment, you must have a clear idea of your returns in order to schedule your reimbursment. Otherwise, you should make plans to allocate parts of your sources of income to pay the loan back. You are the only person who knows your finances, in any case, be realistic about how the person will be reimbursed.
5. Share your progress: your word is your bond
Once you’ve agreed on the reimbursment plan, make sure you stick to it as much as possible. Ideally, you should pay back as promised or even before the deadline. If for various reasons, you can’t honor your commitments, don’t stay silent or abscond. Let the person know ahead of time if you’re having difficulties and suggest alternatives. If you used the money for a specific project or investment, share it with the person (send pictures, give updates, etc.) so that she feels involved and knows what her money has been used for.
Pulse check: how are you building your network?
Image source: Creative Live