I have a confession to make, and it might shock you that you may be guilty of this too, "I am a DIY a Do It Yourself kind of person". What I mean by that is when it comes to putting something together or driving somewhere I usually take the pieces out the box and see if I can cobble it together without the direction sheet or drive somewhere without a map or instructions on how to get there. Blah, blah, blah... so what does this have to do with anything? Great question.
Many businesses spend thousands and thousands of dollars finding new employees and personel only to use them for one task or another. They might be a literal gold mine of business innovation, marketing knowledge and past experience. They have lives before they come to work for you, after they are done for the day they have lives they return to. Ever think in the course of those lives they might have already stumbled across the knowledge that could help you?
I had a friend that I met at a seminar, we hit it off pretty well and after the seminar we kept in touch. I thought he was just a mortgage guy, turns out he was big in the real estate market at one time owning over 20 houses. My friend also is a master hypnotherapist. My friend also writes copy as a copywriter. Recently he started using some of his skills in a business advisory position with a direct marketing organization. That's just scratching the surface of what I know about my friend.
Most people, if they've been around awhile, have multiple hats that they wear or have worn. I can imagine the people you know and work with on a daily basis are the same.
That story about 6 degrees of separation, while the movie sucked the idea is very probable. If you are unfamiliar with it 6 degrees of separation goes like this: You are within 6 people of knowing almost anyone anywhere. If your circle is similar to mine you might be thinking bull.... but listen for a minute. Most people know someone that has money, family, friend or employer that's the first level. Well I can imagine their circle of friends and acquaintances is larger than ours, they probably know someone that is a big shot by their standards. If you keep progressing in this fashion you will find someone that knows the person that you are wanting to contact. Stanley Milgram and Duncan Watts are two names associated with this phenomenon if you care to ressearch it further.
How does 6 Degrees effect mining friends and employees knowledge? Well first you need to have a want, a wish or bare minimum a question needing answered. Then you need to start asking for help with your solution, either someone knows the solution directly or they know someone who knows someone, etc.
What solutions might you find if you started looking diligently?