We live in the age of the social network. Just as the Agricultural Age was railroaded by the Industrial Age, which was given the pink slip by the Information Age, it can be argued that we have now entered the Social Age.
Networking on Facebook has become a national pastime. I would not be surprised if it clocks in more hours than football, baseball, and video games combined. Networking is certainly an essential part of almost everyone's career. Networking is especially important for real estate investors. It is how you find pocket listings, get inside information to analyze markets, find private investors to fund your deals, and locate trustworthy people to manage and maintain your properties.
Whether you stick to your hometown and invest in local properties, or follow the trail of opportunity to emerging markets far from home – networking is how you build your power team.
Networking is also how your personal reputation spreads. All of which means if you do not have networking plan, then you're probably going about it haphazardly and sporadically-and thus you're not making the most of the opportunity.
You can build a good reputation by adhering to 3 simple rules:
- Say what you're going to do and do what you say.
- Don't be a pain in the butt.
- Make doing business with you easy.
A reputation for being direct, honest and trustworthy is a prized asset. But lets face it, any nasty S.O.B. can also have a reputation for being direct. That's why it's also important to distinguish yourself being easy to work with. Some contractors may even choose you over other jobs where they'll make more money because they know you present fewer hassles. Being nice pays off.
Time is Money For Everyone Involved
You can also add a fourth vital characteristic of a good reputation: timeliness. Just as you appreciate vendors who meet due-dates and don't waste your time, others will appreciate the same from you.
When you're checking references, it's okay to ask how timely, honest, direct and easy to work with someone is. After all, people will be asking the same questions about you.
Another “Age” will inevitably come along and people will log off of the Social Age. In a sense, it has always been the Age of the Entrepreneur whether farmers, industrialists, communicators, or Internet junkies ruled the world. As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to maximize all resources available to you. Don't overlook the emerging power of the Social Network.