Okay - what you know is important too, but it's no good knowing what you know if there is no-one you know who wants to know it.
What on earth is he on about, I hear you ask?
So I have just reached the 19th anniversary of getting my first job doing health and safety as the main bulk of my workload. Over that time, I have built up a vast wealth of knowledge, and skills that help to make me competent in what I do. And to a certain extent, while you work for other organisations that is fine - you grow a network of people who you work with closely.
But it is only when you decide to go it alone into your own business that you realise how few people you do actually know in your networks - or so I thought.
Over the past few months, I have set up my own consultancy, KSH Safety Services, aimed at the small and medium sized enterprises in north west England. I quickly realised that I have the knowledge and skills, but not necessarily the right contacts.
All my business contacts worked within a few larger companies, which is not my target client. So I turned to social media. Again there was only limited contacts that could possibly turn into leads - or so I thought.
St Helens Chamber helped me with their Start-up programme, I joined, and attended a network event. I did my first stand up minute - which, as everyone finds the first time, can be daunting. I got chatting to a few others, and from their realised I had been doing it all wrong. It's not who I know but who the people I know knows that matters.
And I learned very quickly that the way to grow the number of people I know so that they remember me was to do more networking. And as a result I attended other local networking groups, of which there are many.
Some groups may be suitable for some people, but not for me, either due to cost or the expected commitment levels, but I have settled for three different business networks at present and one non-business group. Already they are showing dividends to me.
And because I am meeting people at these groups and getting to know them, I am gaining many new friends and business contacts, which I can also keep in touch with via social media.
[UPDATE: 25 SEPTEMBER 2018
Since writing this,I have joined several other networking groups, such as GiveBackWorks and Konsortia. Most of my business comes either directly or indirectly from Networking. If you haven't tried it, give it a go.]
If you are a small business owner, or are setting up a new business, then I strongly recommend networking.
If you are worried - don't be - they are all friendly and inviting, and are there to help. If you want an introduction to any of the networks I have mentioned, contact me, and you can come as my guest and see what you think of them. Click the links in the above paragraphs to find out more about them, and join my ever growing network of business contacts. You never know who could be there to help you.
Not only has networking helped me in my business, but it has made me more sociable than ever before, and I know this is only the start.