I heard my grandfather say, "It isn't so much what you know as who you know that determines your level of success." I had no idea what he was talking about then, but I certainly do now. It's not that you don't need to know the "what" (you do you need to know all about your field) but you'll never get to apply the "what" unless you know the "who."
Business is built on contacts. Every small business owner needs to start building contact lists from the first day they open the doors to their small business or put their small business online.
It is a proven fact that people would rather buy from people that they know or feel like they know. So businesspeople need to get out into the community where they live. They need to join civic clubs and become active in civic affairs so that they become known by other businesspeople as well as by the residents of their area. The same thing is true for those who work online. You don't necessarily join civic clubs, but you do participate in seminars, webinars, and teleseminars in your field so that you become known to others in the field.
You need contact lists for your suppliers and your customers and potential customers, of course, but you also need media contact lists (press releases are free advertising) and competitor contact lists. Yes, I said competitor contact lists. Sometimes your biggest competitor can become your biggest ally. Haven't you ever heard of joint ventures?
You need to start generating lists of contacts from day one of your small business because my grandfather was right. It isn't what you know so much as who you know that determines your level of success.