In our current economy people are more scrupulous and frugal than we have experienced since the Great Depression. If you think that your current clients and current colleagues are holding on to their wallets and clinching their pocket books more so than before then what are your potential clients and potential customers doing? It is time to tap into your vast network of people that you know and that trust you so that they feel comfortable to loosen the grip.

Begin with an exercise in tapping into your network. Begin by asking yourself, “How many people do I know – one hundred, two hundred, or even one thousand?” This requires more thought then you initially realize. Begin at the beginning, the alpha of your social existence, when you were in grade school, junior high school, and high school. These playground playmates still exist and have businesses, run businesses, and grow businesses just like you do. Now continue down the nostalgic memory lane and remember your freshman dorm roommates, your fraternity family, your teaching assistants, and your professors. Do not forget about all of the organizations that you joined, hoped to join, and hated joining. All of these people are out there needing your business and waiting for someone they know and trust to contact them about improving their business.

At first glance, I am sure you only thought of your immediate colleagues from the last five or ten years but after that exercise hopefully you were able to expand your immediate social network to a couple more handfuls or even another hundred people that you can connect with.

Now, review your email client address book, your social media marketing profiles (Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, or Twitter), your cell phone address book, and your old day planner. How many names, emails, and phone numbers do you have from your network? Keep searching and you will find even more places where you hide your network. Now you have hundreds or even thousands of contacts at your finger tips that know and trust you.

So, before you say it is tough out there…tap into your own network!