How often do you tap into your high school/college/etc. alumni networks to create business opportunities?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How often do you tap into your high school/college/etc. alumni networks to create business opportunities?

  • All the time: 3%
  • Occasionally: 14%
  • Infrequently: 32%
  • Never: 50%

Your network is bigger than you realize. Take a look at where you are in your career. Now think about all those folks you went to high school, undergrad or grad school with. They’re probably at similar spots in their careers. That’s a big, untapped network for selling your services or products, finding new customers, finding new partners and suppliers and looking for new jobs. Social platforms like LinkedIn make it easier than ever to reconnect with these folks. We all know cold calling is awful. Why not reach out to a lead that is warmer than a cold call and see what happens? You never know where that next meaningful business relationship will come from. Don’t ignore a big asset already at your disposal for finding it.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."