Bill Hobbs: Enable Your Network to Tap Into the Rest of Your Network



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We all want to strengthen our relationships with the people in our professional work. But it’s hard to continually nurture relationships with the people we care most about. Bill Hobbs says that it’s critical to be methodical about taking action if you want to be successful at anything, and particularly to be successful at supporting your network. 

Bill is the Co-Founder of the Epiphany Collective, Author of The WORK Book Series and has written for Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur and Inc. He serves on the Board of Advisors for several leading software firms, and has achieved three successful exits. Previously Bill was Chief Revenue Officer at Anvyl, Senior Vice President at Totango, and Head of Sales at Chartbeat. 

I interviewed Bill about how he grows his professional network and strengthens relationships, and how he leveraged his network to start his new company. Read on to learn his approach to helping people and fostering a diverse network. 

Leveraging Your Network to Start a New Company

After years in the technology sector, Bill recently launched his new company, the Epiphany Collective, in an entirely new industry, the entertainment industry. He couldn’t have done it without his network. From identifying the market opportunity to landing early customers, relationships have been critical. 

The Epiphany Collective empowers musicians to maximize the value they get from brand partnerships, and helps brands partner with the right artists to achieve their goals. The company is driven by a proprietary data system that maps cultures and relationships within the music world. 

Bill came up with the idea for his company after a friend invited him to the Grammys. At an afterparty, he had conversations with several people and noticed how disparate the relationships are in the industry. Similar to how he always looks to connect people within his professional network, he saw the opportunity to connect brands and artists. 

The company’s first customers came in through introductions from Bill’s network. He and his co-founder put together an advisory board of people from different industries including sports, film, and spirits. Bill’s network has been critical in starting a new company in a new industry. 

Connect with People Who Are Intellectually Curious

Despite spending most of his career in sales, Bill confesses that he’s not the most outgoing person. He has to push himself to connect with people. He reminds himself that most people are open to connecting, particularly if it’s a win-win relationship. 

One trait that Bill highlights as something he looks for in people is intellectual curiosity. He values relationships with people who are always looking to learn and connect with people. 

It helps him gain diverse perspectives and points of view. “A diverse network helps you see different ways of thinking about problems and opportunities”, Bill says. 

People who are intellectually curious always seem to end up doing interesting and important work. There will be opportunities with them in the future if there aren’t already. 

Be Methodical About Strengthening Relationships

Bill says that one of the hardest parts of managing a large network of people like he has, is strengthening relationships with the people he cares most about. “I subscribe to the philosophy that I’m going to bring value to people”, he says. But it’s difficult to do in practice. We all have constraints on our time. Bill takes a two step approach to strengthening relationships. 

First, he seeks to understand people and the outcomes that they’re trying to achieve. Bill says that he’s not looking to get something out of every relationship, or even to immediately help them. The first step is simply to gain understanding. 

Then, Bill then looks for ways to tap his network to help. He emphasizes the importance of being disciplined and methodical about taking action to help and to enable people to tap into the rest of his network:

“Intentions are a thing that we all have, but finding a way to methodically achieve the things that you’re trying to achieve is important. You really can’t discount the fact that it’s important to be organized and methodical if you’re trying to achieve anything, let alone if you’re trying to ensure that your network can tap into the rest of your network and solve problems and achieve things. It’s important to be disciplined about that.”

Bill recommends following up quickly and appropriately. Not just checking in, but truly adding value. Sharing relevant content is a great way to start or continue a conversation, he says. In Bill’s opinion, it’s not just important to have a consistent cadence of communication, it’s important to find ways to help people. At some point, it comes back around to you, he says. 

Connect with Bill on LinkedIn.