Call us now on 1300 786 756

ARTICLE Business TipsAugust 9, 2017

Cashing in on the collaborative economy: 5 questions for Janine Garner


One thing successful entrepreneurs and leaders have in common is they surround themselves with a tight and trusted personal network. In this Q&A with internationally renowned entrepreneur, Fortune 500 mentor, author and LBD Group founder, Janine Garner, we explore why they do this and how you can too.

1. What traits have you found successful entrepreneurs share?

Every one of the successful entrepreneurs I have met, worked with and studied attests to the fact that true success lies in surrounding yourself with a small yet strong, trusted and tight network. This super connected group is powerful in that it is a marketing machine where cross pollination of contacts and opportunities are created and where collaborations are created to drive commercial growth.

Entrepreneurs are visionary, action oriented people – but nobody can do everything alone. Successful entrepreneurs know this and invest significantly to ensure they surround themselves with a key network that understands them, their vision, their dreams, their strengths and weaknesses and their fears, to work collaboratively to drive success.

2. What does having that strong network do for you?

Whether you are at the top of an organisation or just starting out, understanding the opportunity that exists when you own your network and act strategically is key.

In the Harvard Business Review article ‘Managing Yourself, A Smarter Way to Network’, authors Cross and Thomas found that “the executives who consistently rank in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and wellbeing have diverse but select networks.”

In addition, a 2011 study from the Centre for Work-Life Policy published by the Harvard Business Review found that the active promotion of others can result in a 30% increase in promotions, pay rises and projects for the individual than those who are trying to achieve success on their own.

The active and mutual support of others helps to:

  • boost confidence
  • achieve clear goals
  • open doors to opportunity
  • support decision making. 

3. What do you find good networkers have in common, what enables them to gather these people around them?

Good networkers understand that networking is a shared experience based on an exchange of value. They are:

  • engaged and active listeners always showing a genuine interest, focused on the conversation at hand and curious to find the connection point and how they can help
  • confident and willing to speak up, own their opinion because they know that their insights and knowledge matter
  • action takers understanding that when you have spent time with someone, engaging in conversation and exchanging value, then you must make sure your words align with your actions
  • value exchangers with the question ‘What can I do for you?’ running on continuous rotation, knowing that the cross fertilisation of intelligence and sharing of skills and knowledge is the new currency
  • memorable and interesting having the courage to own what is unique about them, feeding their intelligence bank continuously.

The point is to take the lead and ask for help.

4. So for the rest of us, if we meet people who inspire us or could support us, how do we draw them into our network?

The most important part of managing and nurturing your network is what you do after each meeting or connection. Following up sends the message that you are proactive, respectful and willing to invest the time and the effort. Here are some ways to follow up:

  • Send a message thanking them for their time, acknowledge what you found interesting and consider what, if anything, you can send them that relates to what was discussed.
  • If you have committed to an action add this to your note to confirm that you have listened, heard, understood and are acting on it.
  • Make sure to connect on LinkedIn, add them to your database and make a note of where you met them, what you talked about and any interesting snippets of information that you garnered.
  • Schedule a follow up – this could be within the week, month or quarter. It’s really important that you don't just connect when you want something as deep connection is built over time.
  • Give, give, give – the reality is that in the early stages of a connection you will find you are the one that gives in terms of investing time and energy. But with this transfer of humanity will come the solid foundations on which to build the connected network you need for your own success.

5. Once we’ve followed up with someone, how do we then ask them for help without feeling guilty about taking their time?

Nobody is successful alone and building a strong network is about the active and mutual exchange of value through ideas and insight, the active support of one another. You simply need to have the confidence to ask and the knowledge that you will always give in return.

Calling someone and asking if you can ‘pick their brains over coffee’ is not connecting. Neither is calling people and asking them to be part of your network. And sending a LinkedIn request or email with a lot of questions – well, that is actually an abuse of someone’s time.

Get clear on what help you need and be specific in your request – for example “I’d like to chat with you about the three key things that you did to grow your career” or “I’m looking to expand into a new market and noticed you have achieved this successfully” or even “I’m really struggling with social media and impressed with how you manage it, can you share your top 3 tips?”

The point is to take the lead and ask for help.

Did you know?

Looking for more industry insights? Sign up for SecurePay’s newsletter to get fresh content delivered straight to your inbox.

Related articles

Inspiration Six of our favourite inspirational women in business

Inspiration Unleashing your inner entrepreneur: A Q&A with Lisa Messenger

Business Tips From the corporate world to eCommerce entrepreneur