July 4, 2019

The Surprising Benefit of a Diverse Network


As the old saying goes, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, and nowhere is this more true than the world of commercial finance brokering.

Maintaining a strong network of useful contacts is crucial, and most brokers have a go-to list of businesses, lenders, accountants and other professionals who can be relied upon to keep things ticking over nicely.

While this is a great start, there are huge benefits to be seen from branching out further, and it’s important to recognise how expanding your network can give you an edge while keeping you feeling fresh and motivated.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone and how it can help you to stay on top of your game and diversify your network.

Research Says: Get a Diverse Network

If all of this is starting to sound a bit like something out of a self-help book, rest assured that some serious research has been carried out on the positive effects of having a diverse network on your performance at work. 

A 1993 study by Robert Kelley and Janet Kaplan called ‘How Bell Labs Creates Star Performers’ aimed to understand what causes the difference between so-called “star performers” and those who perform at an average level by analysing the characteristics of engineers.

Their findings were quite surprising. As all of the engineers scored highly on IQ tests, the difference could not be allocated to this. What did create the difference is how the employees approached their jobs and networks; the star performers were those who proactively developed relationships with other experts and had significantly more diverse networks than their average-performing colleagues.

Frans Johannsson talks about ‘intersectional thinking’ and how some of the best ideas are created through the collision of different industry insights. However, despite extensive research showing that people who have a diverse range of contacts from different fields and backgrounds can come up with more creative ideas and original solutions, most of us continue to network only with people who share our own perspectives, backgrounds and ideas.

The Benefits of a Diverse Network

With this in mind, it’s important to understand why having a diverse network matters and how it can benefit us in different ways. Here are some bullet points to demonstrate just a few of these advantages:

  • Develop brand new ideas of ways of thinking about something. Speaking to people who are seemingly quite removed from your job and what you do every day can give you a fresh perspective and help you to see things differently. This could be the key to moving forward with a project you’ve been feeling stuck on, or even help to generate new business.
  • Get motivated by hearing about other industries and sectors. Although sometimes it may seem like your world revolves around commercial finance broking, it’s important to burst that work bubble and stay connected with developments elsewhere. Something that may initially seem quite irrelevant could be information you can use to your advantage if you’re able to think outside the box a little.
  • Open up new and unexpected opportunities. A diverse network enables you to promote your services to people you may not usually come into contact with. By getting to know James from your evening class, you might learn that he has a small business he needs a loan for and you can offer to help.
  • Make your day more interesting. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at work, especially if you’ve been working in the same place for a while. Diversifying your network allows you to meet new people, attend different events and try new things, making the 9 to 5 a bit more interesting and giving you something different to think about. All increasing your ability to think creatively and problem solve.

Having the intention to build a diverse network is great, but it takes a little bit of effort to actually start doing it. The key is to see it as something that is beneficial both for your career and for yourself and as a positive way to learn new things. If you need a little inspiration, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Help out in the local business/start-up community. These days there are so many new and exciting start-up companies offering innovative services and new ways of thinking. New companies value the advice of those with experience in the industry, so rather than seeing them as a threat or as ‘too young,’ engage with them and take some motivation from their enthusiasm.
  • Have a coffee or lunch with someone outside of your professional sphere. Know someone who has a job you’ve always wanted to learn more about? Spend a little time with them, and you’ll be surprised to find more common ground than you thought. Everyone from commercial brokers to airline pilots have to learn to deal with challenges; maybe you can incorporate some of their strategies into your work.
  • Attend a seminar about something you know nothing about and stay around for drinks afterwards – maybe it’s a seminar on quantum physics or making documentaries in war-torn countries. As well as learning something new, it allows you to meet some really interesting people from all walks of life.
  • Learn a new skill or take a course in something you’ve always wanted to develop but never found the time; it could be something with a professional tilt, like negotiating or Toastmasters, or learning a new language. Courses and classes are a great way to gain new skills and are a natural, low-pressure way to diversify your network.

All things considered, as a busy finance broker, it’s natural that you need to spend most of your time on deals and have limited time for anything else. However, a small investment into diversifying your network is proven to help you perform better and may even make it easier for you to close those deals. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so take a step out of your comfort zone today and see where it takes you.

If you have a loan that needs placing then get in touch, we may be able to help. We offer asset-backed commercial loans of up to £1m. Even if the business isn’t suitable for a bank or other lender, we always take the time to examine the circumstances and look hard for a solution. Also, we’re fast – if you need a loan closed yesterday – we’re the lenders for you.

To discuss a loan between £10,000 and £1m, please get in touch with one of the team on sales@reparofinance.co.uk or 0161 451 5714. You can find out more about us on our website: www.reparofinance.co.uk