Networking has many benefits from increasing social and professional circles to spreading the news of a new business venture. Many people attend networking events in hopes of connecting with someone who is already well established; this is called networking up. The general point of networking up is in hopes of finding a person who will mentor or guide you towards future success; this person generally knows powerful people within your industry or has the money to invest in your company. Though this can be an effective strategy for some, this is an outdated way of thinking and you can potentially miss out on valuable people next to you who can help you along your way to the top.
The concept of connecting and building with those on the same level as you is considered networking across and truly effective networking starts with the people around you, not above you. Your peers that have creative passions and are working towards their entrepreneurial goals are the people that you should be connecting with the most. These people share your drive to succeed and will more than likely be your greatest assets as you work towards scaling up. Issa Rae said it best “We have a tendency of trying to network up, but it’s really about networking across.” This is the difference between effective networking and surface level networking.
Now don’t get it twisted, Aligners. This doesn’t mean if you run into the CEO or head honcho of a well-respected company in the bathroom that you shouldn’t network. By all means, give them your business card and sell sell SELL yourself and your business; but in the meantime, make use of those valuable connections that you already have.