Dear Entrepreneur,

Build value. If you aren’t the best at networking, be valuable. When you meet a complete stranger, and you need something from them or someone that they know, they become valuable to you. When you walk up to them and immediately ask them to give something important to you, what do you think they will say to you? If they are the most generous people in the world, you’ll probably get a yes. If they are rational human beings, you will probably get an outright no.

If you were an investor, and a complete stranger walks up to you and asks you to listen to their business pitch, ask for an introduction to someone you know, or asks for funding, in all honesty, your most likely response would be no. After all, just because they asked, doesn’t mean you’ll give up something important to a stranger. When you approach someone you need something important from, try to build a genuine connection with them. Make yourself valuable first. Ask them about their business and their goals. Ask them if you can help them out with anything. That way, they’re more likely to help you out when you ask in return.

To get, sometimes, you have to give first. No matter how little.

With love,