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Opening Your Network to Help Others….

July 23rd, 2009

                Aside from getting an email or phone call about a job offer, there’s no business communication that has a higher value than receiving notice from somebody in your network that an introduction you made for them culminated in a job offer.  The one thing I learned through my “transition lessons” is how important your network can be for securing the next opportunity. In my case, it has been equally helpful as a sounding board for pressing business issues. In fact, one mentor specifically, has really helped me navigate some pretty interesting business dilemmas.

                I was recently asked to provide some advisory work in the securing of additional working capital, as well as the implementation of a broader finance function for a new company. Although the company was well down the road for product development and patents, they were still start-up from an operational perspective. It became clear, and rather quickly, that they needed an immediate infusion of cash and had put too much faith in other advisors who were not able to deliver. I also knew that I was not going to be their next “rainmaker” and needed to pull in some expertise from my network.  Coincidentally, I had received a call from a classmate telling me about a change in his working situation.

                We met up for coffee and went through what had recently happened with his company. He worked for an OC-based software company and coordinated the majority of their M&A and business development transactions. He had grown tired of their empty promises, inability to execute, and the increasingly high level of politics. Exit….stage right. I knew how he worked and felt that the technical knowledge that he had with the other company would be a great fit for this start-up. Fast forward a few weeks after the introductions and I learned he had been offered a F/T position as their Director of Business Development.  I’ve been able to get 4 people in my network placed over the last year and each placement is equally satisfying. Who in your network have you offered to help lately and are there any folks who might benefit from you opening up your little black book? It’s worth the effort…..

Thanks for reading . . . .

Jeffrey Ishmael

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