Networking is the process of building relationships with people or organizations for mutual gain. Parties get added to networks because each recognizes the other provides value and contributes to the realization of their own goals. The purpose and expectations are clear and respected.

Network partners are critical to the achievement of your goals. They bring you opportunities, creative ideas, Capital, resources, complementary skills, constructive criticism, and accountability.

To build a strong network follow these guidelines:

1. Understand the needs, skills, capabilities, and limitations of those in your network.
2. Look for opportunities to refer to support those in your network.
3. Make sure others in your network know your reputation, skills, and vision.
4. Always fulfill your obligations to the best of your ability and go the extra mile if possible.

Networks are built on respect and reciprocity. If you don’t give, don’t expect to get. They provide maximum benefit with the least effort. Each party supplements the other’s weakness with its strength. This allows you to avoid the energy drain and consequences of performing a task poorly.

Assess the 5 people you rely on most.