The Ultimate Guide To Starting A Business Using Networking In 2022

How to use natural (non-sleazy) networking to start your business in 2022

Maybe you’ve always known that you wanted to be an entrepreneur. Whether it was from watching tons of YouTube videos on business or if it was from working for someone else and realizing you prefer the lifestyle entrepreneurs live.

Or, maybe you don’t know if you want to be an entrepreneur yet and you’re reading this to discover what it would take to start a business now, in 2022.

Whatever the case may be for you, I can tell you that I struggled with creating my own career in business. For years, I struggled with learning how to get started on the path to entrepreneurship, until one day I made a breakthrough.

What started off as a simple desire to help people eventually turned into a money-generating, opportunity-attracting enterprise, and is well on its way to a six-figure enterprise. And, it all started with having connections.

Some of those connections were mentors who taught me the information that changed my life — the very same information that was so impactful for me, I became inspired to share it with others. The other connections were mentors of mine who showed me how to share that information so that I could help myself and others while making an impact and an income.

And, finally, there were also those select few connections who helped me along the entire way, from when I was homeless and had nothing up to now, writing this article from a better place in life.

So, in this article, I’m going to share with you the ultimate, definitive guide to starting a business using networking in 2022. You’ll learn how creating connections of your own can help with each of step of the process (and, maybe even help you skip a step or two).

This article will not be short — it’s all of the steps you need to know along with a straightforward yet comprehensive framework for creating the network that will help you through every step of the way.

So, if you’re OK with that and are willing to keep an open mind, read on.

 

*Note: Keep in mind, this ultimate guide is only one of the many ways to start a business. You may be able to start a business another way by skipping or changing certain steps within the process below.

 

The “Rockefeller Rolodex Method”

 

Rockefeller Rolodex Method: a method used by the Rockefellers for creating, building, and managing a professional network that’s conducive to financial success

 

I coined this the “Rockefeller Rolodex Method,” but you can find a far more in-depth explanation of this strategy from WSJ bestselling author, Patrick Bet-David, in a free guide I’ll share below.

Here’s how it works.

 

The “Rockefeller Rolodex Method” Networking Strategy

 

#1. Gather all valuable contacts.

 

Types of valuable contacts are:

 

  • People with access to capital. (Ex: People who, if you want to go out and raise money, empower you to do that.)
  • People with access to a legal council. (Ex: A legal council specific to your industry.)
  • People with access to a tax council / laws. (Ex: People who allow you to prepare for any tax changes that could happen within the year or that will happen in the future.)
  • People who are connectors. (Ex: People who “know everybody.” They have a large rolodex of connections.)
  • Media people with a big following for announcements. (Ex: People who can help you promote your projects / endeavors.)
  • Insider people with intel. / research or the “inside scoop.” (Ex: People who can give you valuable insights.)
  • Sounding boards. (Ex: People who you can exchange ideas and brainstorm with.)
  • People who are celebrities. (Ex: People who, if you threw a party, having them show up would draw in other big fish.)
  • People who are politicians. (Ex: People who dictate the laws and can share with you what’s going on with your environment / area on a local, state, or federal level.)
  • People who are physically attractive. (Ex: People who are attractive enough to attract more people into your environment and circles.)

 

The quality of your relationship with a contact determines how valuable they are to your life, business, and network. So, the types of “relationship-qualities” are:

 

  • You both made money together.
  • You both won together. (Ex: It could be sports, a past activity, or anything you both took part in together where you won together.)
  • There’s an emotional bond. (Ex: This could be because you shared a common loss together, shared a painful moment together, are spiritually connected through a church, or some other reason / cause behind the emotional bond that, when you call for a favor, influences them to want to help you out.)
  • You both had fun together. (Ex: It could be that you traveled together, played sports together, went to a concert together, went to a sporting event together, went to a comedy show together and laughed together.)
  • You both have a common enemy or common ally.
  • You both overcame something tough together.
  • They’re a mutual friend or family.

 

#2. Organize and categorize your contacts.

 

You can organize them however you want:

 

  • Option 1: Based on industry
  • Option 2: Based on profession
  • Option 3: Based on “valuable contact type” (such as “celebrity”)
  • Option 4: Any other way you can think of that you find works for you

 

#3. Stay in constant communication with them.

 

But, don’t always make it about a favor that you need from them.

 

#4. Add new names to the list.

 

Follow the “Rockefeller Rolodex Method” networking process (below).

 

How To Start the “Rockefeller Rolodex Method” Networking Process for Yourself

 

Below is a process you can use to execute the strategy above.

 

  1. Make a list of 100 names of the people you’d like to be friends with.
  2. Work your way down the list following the “Rockefeller Rolodex Method” strategy accordingly (see above).

 

In terms of how to actually go about building those connections, that’s where Patrick Bet-David recommends a series of networking methods that you can use to network like Cassanova. (And, I’ve built out those methods into a full strategy in my book, if you want to see how it’s done step by step.)

But, for now, keep this “Rockefeller Rolodex Method” in mind for the remainder of this article because it’ll begin to make more sense as we cover each step to starting your own business.

 

*Free guide: How The Rockefellers Became The Richest Family Of All Time

 

Step #1: Find A Business Idea

 

The first step to starting any business is to figure out what you want your business to be.

You can research and follow the approaches that have worked for other entrepreneurs to get more clarity on your potential business ideas.

Ideally, you’ll want to come up with multiple ideas (at least 20) so you can narrow down the list later based on different factors.

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

This is where your sounding board comes in from the Rockefeller Rolodex Method.

NYT bestselling author and entrepreneur, Ramit Sethi, recommends you use this sample script to text or email the people who know you best:

 

You: “Hey, I’m taking a business class and one of our assignments is to ask friends a question, so I’m reaching out to you. If you had to point out 3 things you think I’m good at, what would you say? Thank you!”

 

And, you can add an example to that sample script to help you get the answers you’re looking for:

 

You: “…For example, I always go to you for advice on investing. What are some things you’d go to me for?”

 

Step #2: Choose the Right Business Idea

 

Choose the business idea that suits your interests, personal goals, and your natural abilities.

More than that, make sure you can answer these questions:

 

  1. Do people (that you would plan on selling to) have the ability to pay? Do they actually have money?
  2. Do people have the willingness to pay (for what you would be selling)? Do they want to pay?

 

As Jon Anthony, owner of Masculine Development, says:

 

Anthony: “If you want to become a millionaire, either offer value by magnitude or scale. If you want to become a billionaire, do both.”

 

  • Magnitude: 10,000 people pay you $100.00 = $1,000,000
  • Scale: 100 people pay you $10,000.00 = $1,000,000
  • Both: 10,000 people pay you $10,000.00 = $100,000,000

 

So, the final question for you would be:

 

  1. Is there enough demand (for what you want to sell) for you to do one of the three options above?

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

There are more questions that go into selecting a business idea and, even then, you’re never truly certain until you go out and actually test the market.

But, as I said in the beginning, this is what mentors are for. Any of the types of valuable contacts in the Rockefeller Rolodex Method could be your mentor.

Here, you might want to make one of the members of your sounding board your mentor so you can exchange ideas with them on the business ideas you’re considering.

Then, after brainstorming with them, reach out to your insider people to see if there’s anything going on in the markets that might happen now or in the near future that could harm your business idea.

Both of these types of contacts can help you answer questions such as:

 

  1. What’s the potential opportunity size? (For example, what would be your chances of being able to encourage repeat purchases?)
  2. Is your business idea a trend, fad, or growing market? (How might your business trend in the future if you started it?)
  3. What would be your competition? (What would the competitive landscape look like for your business if you started it?)
  4. Will there be restrictions and/or regulations? (What would your business’s legal obligations be if you started it?)

 

Step #3: Refine Your Business Idea

 

When you’ve settled on your business idea, you’re going to need to refine it into something more clear for yourself and others.

If you haven’t already:

 

  1. Define your value proposition. (“Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better.”)
  2. Define your “why.” (“Differentiate between whether the business serves a personal ‘why’ [a purpose or life mission] or a marketplace why [a demand in the marketplace].”)
  3. Clarify your target customers. (When you’re thinking about who you want to sell to, what do they look like? What’s their current station in life? How old are they? Get specific.)

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

I’ll save you some reading time and be straightforward.

The same people who are great for helping you choose the right business idea are also the same people who are great for helping you refine that idea.

 

What the Billionaire Founder of LinkedIn Shares As His Best Networking Advice

 

A great note to keep in mind for this step is the advice of the founder of the number one business networking platform in the world, Reid Hoffman.

 

Hoffman: “What’s your current challenge? Here’s what most people do when problem solving. They schedule a meeting with all of the smart people at their company who might have ideas. That’s a good first step — talk to people. The most valuable professional information is often in other people’s heads…People can offer advice that’s time sensitive. People can tailor advice exactly to your situation. People often know things that are not yet public on Google. Great information and insight from the people you know can be a significant competitive advantage.”

 

So, once again, focus on your sounding board and insider people to refine your business idea.

 

Step #4: Validate Your Product or Service

 

You don’t know how feasible your product or service is until people actually pay you for it. (That’s how you know if the market actually values what you’re offering — if the market is willing to give you money in exchange for your offer.)

Some options to validate your product or service (i.e. your offer):

 

  • Market research
  • Surveys
  • Feedback from your network, friends, and family
  • Make a few initial sales (E.g. Take pre-orders, launch a crowdfunding campaign, or sell products in person.)

 

The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of time, money, and energy into building a product that no one wants to buy. Or, invest a lot into setting up a service that it turns out no one wants to pay for.

So, testing the market by getting a few initial sales on the books is the best way to avoid wasting your time — or anything else.

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

The main people you’ll want to contact for this step are your:

 

  • Sounding board (for potential market research, surveys, and feedback)
  • People with access to capital (if you need a bit of cash to set up a way to accept pre-orders for your product online — or for any other reason related to validating your product or service)
  • Connectors (for getting connected to potential buyers who might see your offer as a win-win for them and purchase it)
  • Media people (in case you want to do a small promo to get some people to sign up for a “beta test group” where you can head the group and validate your offer with them)
  • People who are physically attractive (in case you want to have them help you with a video you can post to pull some initial sales in)

 

Step #5: Write Your Business Plan

 

If your business idea and offer have passed so far, you can start writing your business plan.

And, you can get to work on choosing a business name that you can put on the business plan.

As noted by the Small Business Administration (SBA):

 

SBA: “Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.”

 

So, be very attentive with your business plan.

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

This is where your network will come in handy to uncover:

 

  1. Thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele. (“This can involve conducting surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO and public data.”)
  2. Some idea of how you’ll eventually exit the business if such a thing becomes necessary in the future.
  3. Whether or not your business plan is “ready.”

 

It will likely be your sounding board — who’s made up of your peers and mentors — that you’ll be brainstorming this step with.

 

Step #6: Fund Your Business

 

Another important note from the SBA:

 

SBA: “Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.”

 

And, as recommended by TRUiC, you’ll want to:

 

  1. Assess your finances to determine your business costs, and how you’re going to cover those costs to get your business started. (“Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you’re planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you make a profit?”)
  2. “Calculate your business costs before seeking outside funding.” (“This will help you choose the right funding source for your business’s needs.”)
  3. “Get organized by creating a detailed financial plan.” (This way you can be smart with your spending.)

 

*Free guide: Perform a break-even analysis.

 

Your potential options for business funding (also provided by TRUiC) include:

 

  • Bootstrapping: “This is the do-it-yourself approach to business funding which means you provide the capital for your business through personal savings as well as your current income. Once your business is in operation, profit is reinvested back into the business to continue its growth.”
  • Friends and Family: “Financing your business through friends and family loans can be a great way to get the capital you need to start your small business. When mixing business with family and friends, it’s a good idea to establish a written agreement and repayment plan.”
  • Small Business Grants: “Small business grants are essentially business funding for your business that you don’t have to pay back. You can obtain a small business grant by completing an application process with a grantor.”
  • Small Business Loans: “You can typically apply for small business loans through a bank or another lending institution. This funding method requires repayment, but will still provide you with the capital to cover startup costs and more.”

 

You might’ve noticed though that TRUiC leaves out one other crucial option (see below).

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

Use the people with access to capital in your network.

Most people don’t network until it’s too late. Imagine being at this stage of the business start-up process and being able to secure as much funding as you need with a single phone call.

Well, when you take the time to build those relationships right, the people on the other side of that phone are happy to do it. And, you don’t have to worry about getting rejected by banks for loans, waiting months to get approved for a small business grant, mixing money into your personal life relationships, or spending months raising the money yourself to start your business.

A couple of other funding options your network can help you with are:

 

  • Investors: “Startups requiring significant funding upfront may want to bring on an investor. Investors can provide several million dollars or more…with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business.”
  • Crowdfunding: “Alternatively, you could launch an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise smaller amounts of money from multiple backers. Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in recent years, and there are dozens of reliable crowdfunding platforms designed for different types of businesses.”

 

In the case of that last option, you could use connectors, media people with a big following, celebrities, and physically attractive to ensure your best chance at a successful crowdfunding campaign.

 

Step #7: Develop Your Product or Service

 

Your options for this step are to:

 

  • Create your own product (ideation, prototyping, and costing)
  • Customize an existing product
  • Curate a selection of products


If you’re unsure about anything I’ve said in this step (such as the ideation, prototyping, and costing terminology), check out the free guide below because it also goes into detail on how you can go about executing each option.

 

*Free guide: Develop your product (or service)

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

This depends on which of the three options you chose above.

But, generally speaking, it’ll be your mentors (who are on your sounding board) that help you with this step because you’ll want the guidance of someone who’s already where you want to be in life and has already walked the path you’re on. (Including the difficult steps of developing a product or service.)

 

Step #8: Choose A Business Legal Structure

 

A quick summary from the SBA because it’s important:

 

SBA: “The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.”

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

You can find a bunch of information on legal structures for your business with a quick Google search. So, rather than make this article longer than it needs to be, I’ll simply tell you the shortcut.

Ready for it? Here goes…use your network.

Let’s be honest, most of the free resources online about LLCs have to have disclaimers that can make you feel unsure about the accuracy of the legal advice you’re getting. And, when we’re talking about dealing with the government, you want to avoid any mistakes that you can.

So, here is where you can talk to:

 

  • People with access to a tax council / laws
  • Insider people with intel. / research or the “inside scoop”
  • Sounding boards
  • People who are politicians

 

Make sure to use your network to research licenses, government regulations, taxes, and permits for your business based on your choices at this stage.

Then, when you’re ready, form your business and obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and even business insurance to get started. (This is also where you can have your network help you set up your business bank account and other necessary mini-steps.)

 

Step #9: Pick A Business Location

 

I like referencing the SBA here because they’re the official government agency for advice on business topics like this one.

So, the SBA says:

 

SBA: “Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue.”

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

Since your business location ties into your legal standing with the government, it’s best to consult with the same groups/types of people from the previous step on what business location you should go with.

 

Step #10: Brand Your Business

 

Here’s where you want to identify, define, and present your brand.

You can also do this with your website, logo, social media accounts, and professional email address.

Feel free to have fun with this part, your business is like your baby after all. But, be careful not to get too carried away. Businesses fail for one of two reasons: they either grow too fast or they grow too slow.

And, you don’t want to lose your baby because you were too focused on what you want her to wear to feed her.

 

*Free guide: Define Your Brand

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

Use your sounding board to not only get their feedback on what could improve, but what could be left alone and prioritized later.

You are your own worst enemy here. It’s always great to get outside feedback to make sure you’re not the reason you sink your own ship.

So, let your network help you make sure that you’re not over focusing on the wrong areas (such as tweaking your logo a thousand times) because if you don’t and your business fails because of it, you’ll surely be kicking yourself later.

 

Step #11: Launch Your Business

 

It’s finally that time!

Depending on what business you chose to start, the exact steps you’ll take here will vary. But, that’s exactly what a network is for.

People can give you tailored feedback for your unique situation and help you toward your business goals in ways that general online information can’t.

 

*Free guide: Launch your business

 

How To Use Your Network For This Step To Start Your Business

 

Use anyone in your network who can help you with a large-scale marketing campaign.

This could be celebrities, media people, and anyone else who you think could be a help.

 

Summary

 

Your age is not an excuse to reject the path of entrepreneurship. Times have changed, and 16-year-old kids living in their parents house are making six figures learning and practicing business and investing.

That’s a testament to the importance of actually applying what you learn. If you only read information and never use it, you’ll never reap the benefits and, at that point, maybe you have a reason to avoid entrepreneurship. I believe entrepreneurship is only for those who are willing to work hard and work smart by applying the best, most helpful information they can find. Not by simply taking in information and then sitting on it.

So, as always, I hope you enjoyed this article, and I’ll see you next time!

 

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