As a small business owner, you’re no stranger to the phrase “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” If you are the best-kept secret of the world, it does not matter how great your product is. People need to know that you exist. Having very successful people know you, is a real game-changer for your business.

Today, let’s delve into how to “network up” – the practice of connecting with individuals who are more successful than you – to take your American small business to new heights.


Unveil the Goldmine: Where to Find Successful People?

To network up, you first need to locate those wealthier and more prosperous than yourself. But where do these successful individuals usually flock?


Exclusive Events

High-profile charity galas, corporate conventions, and conferences are just a few examples of the places where you’re likely to meet successful people. According to a report from Forbes, successful people place a high value on networking, with 79% of them spending five hours or more per month networking at such events.

Some ideas to get your mind going are:

  • Industry conferences like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), TechCrunch Disrupt, or the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting
  • Art Auctions like Christie’s or Sotheby’s
  • Fashion Shows like the New York Fashion Week or the Met Gala
  • Film Festivals like Cannes, Sundance or the Venice Film Festival
  • Sports Events like the Super Bowl, the Masters Golf Tournament, the Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon or Formula 1 racing events
  • Business Award Functions like the Forbes Under 30 Summit
  • High-End Product Launches e.g. of high-end cars, yachts, jewelry etc.
  • Alumni Events of high-profile schools like Harvard, Stanfort or the MIT


Clubs and Associations

Another rich source of networking opportunities is exclusive clubs, associations, or societies that cater to people’s specific interests or industries.

Some examples for this one are:

  • Soho House – with locations in London, New York, Los Angeles, and more, Soho House caters to individuals in the creative industries, making it an excellent networking opportunity for individuals seeking success in those areas
  • The Bohemian Club (San Francisco) – private club that hosts a two-week-long gathering known as the Bohemian Grove, which has been attended by influential figures from business and politics
  • Augusta National Golf Club (Georgia) -hosts the Masters Tournament
  • Silicon Valley Capital Club (California) – hosts a number of social and business events
  • The Brook Club (New York) – one of New York’s oldest and most exclusive social clubs, it has long been a haunt for the city’s business elite
  • YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) – a global leadership community of chief executives with approximately 29,000 members in more than 130 countries
  • World Economic Forum – known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this international organization brings together the world’s leading entrepreneurs, scholars, and politicians
  • The Core Club (New York) – this exclusive social club in Manhattan caters to a membership that includes successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and celebrities. It offers a blend of luxury experiences, cultural events, and networking opportunities.


High-End Sports and Activities

In the United States, sports like golf, yachting, or polo, are common pastimes among the affluent. If you want to network up, join a sports club or start a new activity that suites the list below.

Here are some more details to get your brainstorming going:

  • Golf: Golfing is a popular sport among successful individuals. Prestigious golf clubs like Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews are famous hangout spots for the wealthy.
  • Yachting: Owning, chartering, or sailing on yachts are considered high-end activities. Events like the Monaco Yacht Show and America’s Cup draw the wealthy from all over the world.
  • Polo: Known as the “sport of kings,” polo attracts a wealthy crowd. Events like the Argentine Open and U.S. Open Polo Championship are popular.
  • Equestrian Sports: Horse riding, especially show jumping, dressage, and eventing, is a favorite among the affluent. The Kentucky Derby and Royal Ascot are examples of high-profile equestrian events.
  • Tennis: Exclusive tennis clubs and high-profile matches, such as those at Wimbledon, Roland Garros, and the U.S. Open, often attract a successful crowd.
  • Skiing: Upscale ski resorts in places like Aspen, St. Moritz, and Courchevel are frequented by wealthy individuals.
  • Art Collecting: High-end art auctions and exclusive gallery openings, such as those at Sotheby’s or Christie’s, are places where the rich and successful congregate.
  • Wine Tasting: Exclusive wine tasting events or vineyard tours, especially in regions like Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and Tuscany, are popular among the affluent.
  • Car Collecting: High-end car shows like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Goodwood Festival of Speed attract wealthy car enthusiasts.
  • Sailing and Regattas: Sailing events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Newport Bermuda Race, or the Venice Hospitality Challenge are often attended by wealthy individuals.



The First Approach: Winning Over Successful People

Remember, to network up, the initial approach is crucial.


Be Genuine

One key tip: don’t disguise your intentions. Successful individuals have climbed their way to the top, and they’re good at spotting inauthenticity. Show genuine interest in their work, their journey, and learn from their experiences.


Leverage Mutual Interests

If you both share an interest or hobby, that’s an excellent conversation starter. It creates a genuine bond and makes the connection more meaningful.


Do’s and Don’ts of Networking Up

Navigating the waters of networking up can be challenging. Here are some tips:



  1. Do Show Respect: Respect their time and boundaries. Remember, you’re not their only commitment.
  2. Do Listen More: Learning is the essence of networking up. So, listen more and absorb what they’re sharing.
  3. Add Value: If you are a person that adds value to somebody else, people will remember you. In order to network up, connect people to each other, find out what is valuable to the person you are talking to and see whether you can provide information, time or resources that are adding value.
  4. Be Positive: Nobody wants to hang out with negative people. Smile. Be good company. Make people around you feel good.
  5. Do Your Homework: Many successful people have been interviewed many times. Find out what is available already and ask questions that they have not yet been asked. Show genuine interest in their thought processes or how they made certain decisions.
  6. Remember The Small Things: When successful people share information with you, remember the small things and consider them for the future. This shows that you are attentive to your counterpart.



  1. Don’t Ask For Favors Immediately: Give your relationship time to develop before you ask for anything.
  2. Don’t Neglect Reciprocity: While they’re more successful, you too have something to offer. Share your unique insights and experiences.
  3. Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice: What until they ask for your opinion on topics.
  4. Don’t Share Private Information that have been shared with you.
  5. Don’t Brag: You cannot impress a person that is more successful than you with stuff that you might have. Be humble and find out what your counterpart values.
  6. Don’t Be A Fan: If you want to network up, act as if you belong. Talk to each other on eye-level – respectful, but as equals.


Considerations for Networking Up

While you’re excited about networking up, don’t forget these considerations:


Prepare Yourself

Equip yourself with a strong foundational knowledge of your industry. This will make you more engaging and attractive to successful people.


Be Patient

Building meaningful relationships takes time. Don’t rush it; instead, focus on nurturing these relationships.

In conclusion, networking up is a powerful strategy for small business owners looking to grow their ventures. With the right approach and mindset, you can leverage these connections to learn, adapt, and propel your business to greater success. So why wait? Start your journey to network up today.



Forbes, “How To ‘Network Up’ With Your Business Idols And Elevate Your Success.”:

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