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It's Who You Know

If you really know how to work your connections, a successful startup is less than 6 degrees away.

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This story appears in the December 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The saying goes that every person on earth is separated from every other person by only six degrees. That means your friend's brother's nephew's wife could know Michael Dell, Donald Trump or Martha Stewart. You could conceivably be only a few networking steps away from someone who could help you get your business off the ground--be it an industry contact, a top lawyer or a state government official. You've heard all about the importance of networking, but what about harvesting your own network to uncover someone who just might be able to get you in touch with a stellar business contact? That's six-degree networking.

Even if you don't think you know someone who can help, you'd be surprised. What about an old schoolmate you send holiday cards to? Who might she know? Or could your softball teammate have a brother in the same industry in which you hope to hang your shingle?

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