Relationships, Business Networks and the Meaning of Life

Relationships, Business Networks and the Meaning of Life

On the train home last week I overheard something quite interesting. There were a group of people chatting away and as one of them got off the train he said to another:

I tried to add you as a friend on LinkedIn but you haven’t accepted my request

So after pulling the confused Denzel face…

denzel confused face







….I wanted to butt in and say…

Excuse me but you don’t add friends on LinkedIn you add contacts, you only technically have friends on Facebook (and followers on Twitter for that matter!

But I didn’t for two reasons:

  1. I would have sounded like a d!(%
  2. It made me realise something…

…I realised that in 2014 people are going to use the social and business networks in their own way and are not going to be restricted to how these platforms are defined.

More importantly however I realised that the term network itself may start to be replaced by the term relationship, in a very business context.

When I first ‘started out’ it didn’t take me too long to realise that in business, people did it with people they liked (business I mean). Phrases like trust, credibility and integrity are often used to describe the cornerstones of a successful business relationship.

I used to tell people that I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful business network that has helped me through the many highs and lows. But I realised that it wasn’t the network that helped me it was the relationships.

Networks simply facilitate the building of those relationships. It is simply a framework, and by itself at all useful. I mean if you created a new Linkedin profile and added no one, you’d be logged into the network but you’ll have no contacts relationships, rendering it useless.

In one of my first businesses I would instruct the business development manager to ensure that after attending a networking event to schedule 1-2-1’s and build relationships. This was somewhat of a struggle because he’d come from an environment where after a networking event you’d upload business cards collected into your favourite CRM and then start pitching for business.

That just didn’t seem right to me.

So I continued to build relationships and genuine friendships with people who came into my network at some point along the way. It has superseded any traditional business development strategy I’ve ever come across.

The business gurus will tell you that business should be fun. And for years that just sounded like one of those corny business philosophies that no one really believed. But as time went on and my relationships started to build I realised I was having fun, and lots of it.

But more importantly I was able to help others reach their goals, which turned fun into purpose, and purpose of course, is the meaning of life.


Julian ‘The Ultrapreneur’ Hall is a serial entrepreneur and #1 best selling author of ‘Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur‘. The founder of UltraEducation, a company that teaches entrepreneurship in primary (@UltraKidsClub) and secondary schools. 

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