Do I need thousands of contacts in my e-networks?

As you will see in the links on the home page of this website, I am a member of a quite a few e-networks, such as Ecademy. However, I feel that I am getting far too many contact requests from people who seem to be just trying to get a large number of contacts, rather than developing quality contacts.

I understand and accept the argument of Penny Power (Founder of Ecademy) that a large number of contacts are needed and it is also important to offer help and assistance to contacts. See more about this in Penny’s new book “Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me”.

However, unlike some other members of Ecademy, I have found that helping and advising my contacts has not resulted in any business for Nigel Adams & Company Ltd.  This is probably because my business is very specialist, working with and advising British companies to establish their businesses in Central and Eastern Europe.

I have found that in my other full-time job, as Programme Director, BSc Business Enterprise at the University of Buckingham, helping my e-contacts has resulted in help being given to me. e.g. Thomas and Penny Power have given talks to my BSc Business Enterprise students and have also “spread the word” about the Business Enterprise honours degree programme.

Recently I heard a talk on networking by David McQueen. Although he agreed with Penny Power that it is important to develop your reputation by helping your contacts, he also said that you should remember to ask for and accept help from your contacts!

I am not planning to stop helping any of my e-contacts, but feel that I must restrict the number of my e-contacts to a more manageable size. Otherwise I will just sink under the number of messages that I will receive.

In future I plan to restrict my new contacts to people who are interested in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Education or in developing their business in Central and Eastern Europe. It will be interesting to see the results of this change in my approach to e-networking.

Watch this space!

Copyright ©2009 Nigel Adams

Author: Professor Nigel Adams

Nigel is a Professor & the first Director of the Buckingham Enterprise & Innovation Unit (http://www.beiu.co.uk) part of the Vinson Centre (http://www.vinsoncentre.com) at the University of Buckingham He also teaches, advises and mentors undergraduate students taking the innovative two year (8 term) BSc in Business Enterprise (http://bit.ly/bbe_home1) and post-graduate students taking the MSc in Entrepreneurial Consultancy in Practice (MECP) Programme (http://bit.ly/mecp_home). This masters programme develops business consultants who are able to advise business owners how to successfully grow their businesses. BBE one of only a few similar honours degree programmes in the world which offer undergraduate students the opportunity to study for a degree in Business Enterprise, whilst also starting & developing a business. These types of degree are called Venture Creation Programmes (www.vcplist.com) , Within 4 months of starting the programme students must pitch for seed-corn capital from "Buckingham Angels". Nigel also teaches Entrepreneurship to other students at the University of Buckingham and advises and mentors university students and staff and local people who want to start business or grow their businesses. Between 2002 and 2011, Nigel was Managing Director of Nigel Adams & Company Ltd, providing business, management, international marketing, recruitment and other support and advice to the management of Western companies to help them establish business operations in Central & Eastern Europe & to improve their sales. Nigel is an experienced international business adviser with more than 40 years experience in business, enterprise, management, marketing & counter-trade. He was based in Poland from 1993 until 2002, working on Polish state company restructuring projects as a British Government Know How Fund Management Adviser. Nigel is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) & a Chartered Marketer.