Business: The Network Eldorado

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Jérémie Vanopdenbosch offers up the keys to expanding your business – your network.

When you start a business or a new business, you are asked for two things. The first is to create a business plan and the second is to have a business model. Despite this, many companies go bankrupt within the first five years of their existence while, at the same time, other companies grow exponentially. These companies, which are more successful than the others, all have one thing in common: besides a business plan and a business model, they have integrated an additional component into their activities to make it a reality. A triptych. This last, lesser-known component, which makes all the difference at the beginning of the 21st century, is the Business Entourage.

Today, we live in a world that is evolving faster and faster, where half of the current professions will disappear within the next 10 to 15 years and where competition is increasingly important. In this bubbling ocean with millions of companies that all have skills and knowledge, only those who have taken the time to develop more of a network and, therefore, a Business Entourage, will really stand out and reach the very top in their sector. The proof? When a company celebrates an important milestone in its history, 80% of the speech of its founder or its CEO is devoted to thanks! This is to highlight all the relationships that have contributed directly or indirectly to its success, which have been decisive in the evolution of the company and without which this common goal of success could not have been possible.

This translates into the saying ‘No man is an island’. If you stay alone or isolated, you will not go very far! In the various stages of your company’s advancement, from start-ups, scale-ups to the ultimate level of a unicorn (a privately held start-up company valued at over $1 billion), you will need to surround yourself with people you will meet on your journey and who will guide you, propel you, advise you, support you, complement you and give you visibility to get through all these stages of growth.

The current paradox: Despite this, very few companies take the time to build a network. But why? Since childhood, we are preconditioned to have fears. Who has never heard his parents tell him, for example, “Don’t speak to strangers”? And the fear of the unknown is one of the biggest barriers in creating a network, just like the fear of reaching your goals, of being rejected, of not knowing what to say or feeling insignificant when meeting someone.

Mastering your fears will take you forward, and the entrepreneurs who have understood it realized that by overcoming their fears they were sometimes only a handshake away from changing their lives. The famous writer J.K Rowling is the proof. No fewer than a dozen publishing houses rejected her book. Surpassing this fear of rejection, she ended up signing the contract of her life, which has made her fortune estimated at one billion dollars!