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Do You Have an Opportunity Net(work)?

by Steve Woodruff  |  
October 14, 2008

Some months ago, I wrote a blog post (on my pharmaceutical consulting blog) on the importance of professional networking, especially as a "safety net" during times of corporate uncertainty.

There was always this vague discomfort that I was only telling part of the networking story, however. Because, while I view my network as a professional safety net, that was never actually the primary purpose. My strategy around using blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other tools has to do with creating opportunity. It's an Opportunity Net(work).
In fact, my entire consulting business model is the use of a growing network to bring together clients and providers. But furthermore, outside of pharma, I've been growing a network in the marketing/branding/social media field that now spans many industries, regions, and roles. These are all individuals, for whom I may be able to add value and open doors, and who may open doors for me. The shared sympathy that we've developed (primarily) via social media tools creates a giant, growing opportunity network.
What is coming of these bottom-up, individually-cultivated networks? New jobs for the displaced. New business for talented folks who can help each others' clients. The development of more efficient, virtual business models that will aggregate talent without regard for borders. More rapid integration into a community when someone moves. Exposure to new resources, tools, and approaches. Even something as simple as helpful advice when visiting a new area for vacation.
I wish I could travel more often. If I were flying to San Diego next week, I'd be sure to pal around with Becky Carroll. If I were to take a vacation in Hawaii with my wife, the first person I'd contact for advice would be Rosa Say. I've already had very fruitful contact with "Director" Tom Clifford, who freely and generously gave advice about film-making work to my interested son. And others have approached me for input and advice. Valued people, all "met" on-line, all part of a growing opportunity network.
Yes, the old corporate safety net is gone. But the new safety network, and the new opportunity network, is here for all of us to weave ourselves into. My faith has grown the longer I've participated, that "If we build it, (opportunity) will come."
What are some ways that your are building - and experiencing - the new Opportunity Network?
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Steve Woodruff is the world's only Clarity Therapist. He connects people with their purpose, their message, and with other people in order to create new business opportunities. He writes at the

Steve is an unusual hybrid of conceptualizer, strategist, marketer, analyst, wordsmith, semi-techie, and all-around decent fellow, except when there's bad coffee or lousy wine.

Steve can also be found on Twitter, LinkedIn.

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  • by Lewis Green Tue Oct 14, 2008 via blog

    Steve, Excellent post and I like the term opportunity network. That is what social media and social networking partially represent. (Of course, they also serve to enhance customer communications and value-added sales.) In addition to using SM and SN tools to create two-way opportunities, I deliver a monthly thought paper to my business distribution list via e-mail. The paper is on a single-subject focused usually on business growth. It is no more than 750 words and easily scanned. Like you, I attend very few conferences that are not in my backyard. However, I am active in two chambers and frequently invite local business people to join me for coffee, as well.

  • by Stacey Tue Oct 14, 2008 via blog

    I've taken the SM/SN tool one step further by joining cross-marketing or strategic partnership-focused groups within social media groups, e.g., WomenPartner International, which is a group with a presence. Such groups can exponentially accelerate the opportunity network process.

  • by Surprise Electrician Tue Oct 14, 2008 via blog

    Networking is the key!

  • by Andee Sellman, One Sherpa Tue Oct 14, 2008 via blog

    Hi Steve, Great post and so true. Long gone are the days when the corporation really looked out for you and your advancement. Having been retrenched twice in my career I know what it's like to be 'out in the cold'. Now I have my own business, part of the beauty is developing links with interesting people who play a part in the networks I'm part of. I guess the blogging platform allows this to happen on a far wider and broader scale. Now as you point out , there are opportunities to catch up with people all over the world

  • by Azhar Khan Wed Oct 15, 2008 via blog

    I've begun creating opportunity networks in my virtual exhibitions and conferences. When attendees register they have an opportunity to interact and meet other attendees and discuss the opportunities for their industry, visit Virtual Booths and attend on demand conferences. As a result attendees then proceed to network in the Virtual Lounge to dialogue on a variety of topics affecting the the industry participating. Plus the chat content is accessible by anyone. People then exchange virtual business contacts and create their own Virtual Opportunity Networks too.

  • by benjack Thu Oct 16, 2008 via blog

    Awesome blog .very useful info.Thanks!!

  • by Steve Woodruff Fri Oct 17, 2008 via blog

    Tangible illustration this week - I am contacted via Twitter by someone who's been reading my live-blogging/live-tweets, and needs a resource for a specific project. I look it over, decide it's not for me, search my network, put him in contact with a freelancer (met via blogging) that I think might be appropriate. Bingo. Opportunity Network!

  • by Nadine Burns Wed May 27, 2009 via blog

    This is exactly what I have been doing, creating an Opportunity Net(work) and now it is great to have a name for it. I have strategically positioned my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to make the contacts that my services would benefit and listen to their needs and also create a Community around the space (ala Peter Block's newest book.) Thanks for the moniker.

  • by Heather Hindle Fri Jul 23, 2010 via blog

    Great post. I love this idea and "handle". I recently talked about collaboration via Social Media on my blog, but was describing a more lurking-type activity, where you use SM to build creativity, confidence and measurable expectations. The idea of building real relationships is so much more rewarding and meaningful for all parties. It's good karma to connect the right people. The ROI is two-fold. All the best.

  • by Steve Woodruff Fri Jul 23, 2010 via blog

    Thanks, Heather. Good to "meet" you through Lisa Petrilli!

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