4 reasons social capital is the most important resource your business has

Social capital — the connections and shared values that exist between people and enable cooperation — is the key to entrepreneurial success.Here are four reasons social capital is the most important resource your business has:

  1. It Establishes You as a Leader
    By offering advice or resources to others without expecting an immediate benefit, you cultivate social capital. Giving to and supporting others builds trust and establishes your reputation as an upstanding person who is skilled in your field — two qualities that are critical for buyers looking to engage.
    To build trust in your network, do the following:

    • Become an active contributor to your field.
    • Provide value to your network via social media and in-person events.
    • Contribute to dialogue and debate.
    • Share the work of others with your network.
    • Support others’ endeavors when they need advice or support.
    • Be a person who adds value to others by connecting them to people who may help them.
    • Be honest with your team. Refusing to hide even the toughest truths will earn the trust of the people closest to you.
  2. It Fosters Reciprocity
    After you’ve provided wisdom, support, and connections to others in your network, you can begin to count on those people when you need support.When my company was hitting the growth trajectory we’d hoped for, we hired quite a few new staff members. In order to make sure we didn’t overcommit and collapse under our own success — and realizing that I knew absolutely nothing about compensation model design — I reached out to several people in my network who had designed compensation models for professional services firms in the past, and they helped me develop a model that was generous and sustainable.
  3. It Creates Stronger Teams
    Social capital doesn’t simply exist external to your organization. You can also build strong, honest, and mutually beneficial relationships within the walls of your company. And by so doing, you make sure you can count on your people to have your back when the time comes.This internal social capital is nurtured within your walls every day, but it’s also fed by outside relationships. For example, providing quality internships for local graduate students has led to a tremendous increase in our quality of intern applicants. The universities want to send us their top people in return for offering these positions and providing quality experiences; it’s a win-win.
  4. It’s Natural Networking
    Traditional networking can be uncomfortable at best and outright torturous at worst. Mark Schaefer is a great example of someone who has fun while building social capital. He used Twitter to completely bypass traditional networking while growing his network online.