[quote style=”boxed”]Constant correspondence is vital. I continually correspond with clients, potential clients, people I meet at events, referrals and everyone I can. The one thing to focus on as an entrepreneur is to keep communication open and available.[/quote]
Bennett Resnik is a social capital and networks consultant and creator of The Hands We Shake lecture series about how to build, grow and sustain social capital. He is an expert in networking strategy and social capital retention. He has helped advise startups, small businesses, non-profits and individuals in developing comprehensive strategies to build and cultivate social capital. Bennett advises his clients on how to locate and access social capital within their present networks and create a framework for future network strategies. When consulting and speaking, Bennett discusses social capital, networks, leadership, community dynamics and organizational development. He began discussing the value of online social ties after he founded an online niche networking platform for aspiring management consultants. Bennett started presenting on pre-professional networking and online networks in 2008 and has since expanded his speeches to encompass larger and more technical aspects of online and offline networks. He has presented at Harvard, Wharton School of Business, Johns Hopkins University, American University, Northwestern University and several other institutions and associations. Bennett is an active member of the non-profit community as a director and board member of the Key for Hope Foundation and advises various startups. He is a graduate of James Madison University and lives in Washington, DC.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am mapping trends in global conversations surrounding politics and commercial brands. Additionally, I am working on internal organizational networks to improve business strategy, sharing of content and resources and designing plans for external social capital acquisition. I am also presenting at the Global Social Media Research Symposium at American University and speaking at the University of Maryland.
Where did the idea for The Hands We Shake come from?
The Hands We Shake is a lecture series which helped define the framework for my consulting practice, in which I consult for businesses, non-profits and sole-proprietorships on social capital and network strategy. During an internship in 2007, my superior said to me, “it’s not the grades you make, but the hands you shake.” I used that advice regularly during the beginning of my college career to build a strong personal network of diverse individuals and skill-sets.
What does your typical day look like?
A large part of my day is focused on writing and summarizing network data for clients. I write articles for use on my website, blogs and quarterly reports. Most of my writing is for a book I am developing. Additionally, I focus a lot of time on scheduling my speaking engagements, panel discussions and meeting with new clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am very grateful to have a large community of supporters both online and offline. I credit my ideas coming to fruition with the assistance of my colleagues and affiliates. Without the support of my core business network, I would not be unable to bring my ideas to the greater community. Additionally, the receptiveness of others when I started speaking to pre-professional organizations helped me further my career. Without others being open to new ideas, we would not be advancing as entrepreneurs.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The growing trend to visualize data is fascinating for recreation and for business. Although I am cautious about the software used to visualize data, I think it is a worthwhile trend.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was younger, I worked at a bakery in New York for a very short period of time. I sliced all the fresh bread loaves before putting them in the display cases. I learned that presentation is a key part of any business, big or small.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure. Without the failures of the past, I wouldn’t be where I am in the present.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constant correspondence is vital. I continually correspond with clients, potential clients, people I meet at events, referrals and everyone I can. The one thing to focus on as an entrepreneur is to keep communication open and available.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Most of my business ideas focus on innovating my professional services. However, I have always wanted to find a way to look at my computer while I am video chatting and not have it look as if my eyes are down. The camera should somehow be behind the screen so you can look at someone straight on and not look like you’re sleeping or not paying attention.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would choose to change the way our legislators and politicians interact with one another. We have become a hyper-partisan nation racing to the far-left and far-right. If we are going move forward as a global super-power, we need to collaborate and push for policies that complement both sides of the political spectrum.
Tell us a secret.
I promised not to.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Quixey is a search engine for apps that allows you to search and find apps on any platform. You type in the requirements of the application and Quixey shows apps that relate to your description.
- Mint.com for financial management.
- GooSync to synchronize my cellphone calendar with my Google calendar.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World by Billy Parish. This book paves the way for the next generation to rethink, recreate and out-innovate for the future.
What’s on your playlist?
I have a wide variety of musical interests, including Billy Joel, Andy Grammer, Canadian Tenors, Paul Simon, John Legend, The Script, the list goes on.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @orgnet: Valdis Krebs and his company should be followed by people interested in networks and organizational analysis. He’s a visionary and is a seasoned professional who has worked in the industry since the 1980s.
- @glengilmore: Glen Gilmore is a modern-day Renaissance man. Glen is not only a world-renowned social media strategist, but he is also an attorney and professor at Rutgers University.
- @slobotski: Jeff Slobotski is the founder of Silicon Prairie News and the Big Omaha. Jeff is creating new ventures and fostering entrepreneurial communities in Omaha, Des Moines and Kansas City.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I was watching Parks and Recreation; Ron Swanson cracks me up.
Who is your hero?
I don’t have a hero per se, however there are many people whom I greatly admire, including Betty Freidan, co-founder of NOW; former landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead; Microsoft founder and the Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
What is the next step for your business?
I am always looking for more speaking opportunities and working to expand my client base internationally. Currently, I’m working on partnerships in Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
What do you do on the weekends?
I spend my weekends going out in DC, visiting art galleries and museum or attending receptions. My weekends also give me time to catch up on reading and events from the week.