If you search Wikipedia the network effect is how the value of the good or services increases with the number of participants. Companies which operate on this kind of a phenomenon grow in value exponentially. Think Amazon. The more the participants on the market place that they have created, the more the customers whose needs will get fulfilled and they will buy more, more often. This is positive feedback loop with more consumers on the marketplace, more the people who will want to sell on the Amazon Marketplace. The growth of these kind of companies is exponential.
In case of B2B having connections with people and keeping relationships alive is a big positive. While social media helps getting connected to people, it does not help build relationships. So while I may have a 1000+ connections on Linkedin, my relationships would be very limited.
You build relationships by giving first. By doing that you invoke the reciprocity principle espoused by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. What is however even more important, is to keep the relationships alive. People keep moving. They changes places, they change jobs. When they do that, they get connected to more people. To emphasise the value of your individual network, Joe Polish runs Genius Network which is a network where super successful entrepreneurs network and master mind.
The more people you know, the more people who fall into your network. I have had introductions to people because of my relationships that I cultivated over years. Those connects in turn helped us get even bigger, because now there were more people who got connected to us and invited us to work with them. Such people who can connect you to such major influencers can change the trajectory of your business completely. The more pf these kind of people you form relationships, the more influencers you get connected to indirectly.It was typical to the definition of the Network Effect I spoke about earlier. This kind of exponential growth is compounding over a period of time.
You have to however be patient. “Rome was not built in a Day” applies to building relationships as well. Also not everyone you “give first” will reciprocate and you don’t know the timeline when they will reciprocate, if they ever will. But you keep doing this work on a consistent basis because when the critical mass is reached, there’s a sudden explosion in the kind of business you can grow.
Till next time then.