Mobile Technology Is Changing The Face Of Business Networking – But Not The Psychology Behind It

Bree Verity is the Head of Public and Business Engagement for INTRO Labs, a mobile company creating products that connect people. She says:

Whether it comes to you naturally or not, every entrepreneur knows the value of networking to expand their reach and find people that can help them make their business a better one.

Whether at an event, conference, or someone’s housewarming, we’re talking to a perfect stranger one minute and the very next we’re trying to uncover the link to each other - the person or people we both know. It’s natural and we conduct our business in this way too. “I know someone that knows someone” was the first real recommendation engine, long before the internet was born.

Sociologist Mark Granovetter’s study in the early 70’s to understand where we do our most valuable networking in a job search found that casual acquaintances and people we know indirectly were how most jobs and opportunities are found.

It’s simple - our “weak ties” hold information outside our normal sphere of influence, just beyond the reach and awareness of the friends and people we spend most time with. Thus new opportunities are located there, again often just out of immediate reach.

2 to 3 degrees of separation

Even today in our hyper-connected world of Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, the person you’re looking for is most likely only 2 to 3 degrees of separation away. So why aren’t we better utilizing this technology at our fingertips to exploit these weak ties for the benefit of our business?

At the moment, most of the time our approach is still manual and very hit and miss. Just like the randomness of the networking events we go to, we hope that we are introduced or bump into the people in the room that serendipitously have access to the investment we need, or have a friend who is a journalist at Reuters. But it there is an easier, more targeted way to business network.

Imagine if we had instant and easy access to our friends’ and contacts’ contacts – the people they know and we should.

New business opportunities uncovered

And if we were told why we should meet, who we knew in common with them, and were alerted that they were nearby before, during and at the events we already attend? A whole slew of new business opportunities would be uncovered.

That’s partially why we created INTRO – the business networking app that uses all your social networking activity to unearth these weak ties, and shows you who you’ve been missing nearby.

It’s incredibly persuasive when two people belong to the same ‘scene’ (industry), are members of the same exclusive club or network, go to the same events, have several contacts and friends in common, and are both looking to meet a co-founder. Why wouldn’t you want to reach out?

the business networking app

The app also enables existing business networks to better connect their members online and offline where they see the name of a brand or network in the app to which they are affiliated as one of the main reasons to connect.

We created the app for another purpose too. Selfishly, to solve our own immediate problem. With little time and money to spare whilst building our own startup, we needed to find skilled staff and investors quickly (all of which we have found through INTRO). And we were not alone.

With 90% of new jobs created by startups and small to medium sized businesses, it’s the fastest growing job fulfillment market in the world. The app takes the work out of looking for resources when they could be right under your nose. And jobseekers, 54% of whom use a form of social media to find work, can now harness all their social connections through the app at once.

Entrepreneurs have always seen the value in expanding their networks to help their businesses grow but have been yearning for a simple, streamlined, easy way to find who they’re looking for.

And technology that mirrors the way we do business in the real world can help.

The mainstream too is waking up to the realization that if they want a job in the future, they need to start fostering and nurturing connections now with people their friends know and they should. And the best way to do this is through mobile technology.

INTRO is currently available for iPhone and will be on Android and Windows phone platforms shortly. If you’d like to have your own business network within the app, contact Bree@introlabs.net.

Bree Verity is the Head of Public and Business Engagement for INTRO Labs, a mobile company creating products that connect people. Bringing the online offline, their products create real world, real time connections with people you should meet. Their first product is the INTRO business networking app and platform. Bree drives strategic direction and development of future products, communications, and their delivery.

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