I then read a great book called Business By Referral by Ivan R. Misner (the founder of BNI). He talks about forming a network of people so that you have access to the resources and information you need before you need them.
This got me thinking that it is great to keep track of people I can refer as I encounter them, but why stop there? Why be satisfied with only the people that I already happen to knew. Rather, I would go out an actively seek out professionals, sales people, business owners and artisans. The goal: create a referral network so comprehensive that I would know someone to refer for any possible problem that someone might have.
The project really started moving when Kiernan Gulick-Sherrill, a good friend of mine of many years, and the talent behind Green Earth Computers, invited me to come as his guest to the Mill River Chapter of BNI. I met a bunch of really interesting people there and met with a number of them one on one (a process that I discovered is known as a "One to One" in BNI) to get to know them and see if I would feel comfortable adding them to my referral list.
As I started meeting with people, I found that everyday, I would go home having learned fantastic new things about all that is available in the Valley, and I wanted to tell everyone.
With plans to meet with over 10 people in the next week, I realized that I will have fascinating things that I want to share for a long time to come, so I thought that now is the time to enter the world of blogs and share what I learn.
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking, "Michael, I do something that is awesome and interesting, and you should refer me to people you know."
If that is the case, I would love to meet with you, because meeting face to face is the only way that I will add someone to my list. All the tweets and blogs and instant messages in the world do not give me a feel for a person, and I do not want to have to say "Go talk to Frank. I've never actually met him, but he sure does Tweet well!"
I have reached the length that the attention span on the Internet allows, so I will conclude here. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time reading this. Now that you are done, make sure you get out and meet someone face to face today as well.