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How to use the 5+50+100 rule for powerful, meaningful networking

What if I told you that the key to your success is simply a matter of rounding up 150 of your closest friends. Sort of a tall order. Who has time to keep up with 150 people? Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you suddenly need to cast an egregiously large net across every person you’ve ever encountered in the last five years. Turns out, when you look strategically at all the people in your orbit you’ll be able to diagram an effective power network from your varied types of relationships.

Did you know that your network of connections is a key factor in accessing new opportunities? With the rise of automation, relationship-led growth is the only strategy that will set you apart from the deluge of spam outreach. By using a framework called the 5+50+100 rule, you’re able to classify your relationships into useful tiers that will help you discern how to tap into each one for your next big break. And no, you won’t need to schedule catch up calls with 150 people. 😉

What Is The 5+50+100 Rule?

"How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network Into Profits" by Judy Robinett is a guide that emphasizes the importance of strategic networking for personal and professional success. Robinett introduces the "5+50+100 Rule," which outlines a method of sorting your connections into smaller groups, based on your relationships with them and your need for their help and support (and vice versa). The key principles and strategies of the 5+50+100 rule can help you cultivate meaningful connections that can lead to business opportunities and long-term success.

The 5+50+100 Rule essentially breaks down into three tiers of relationships:

The Inner Circle (5 people):

  • It is crucial to maintain a small, trusted inner circle of connections. These are the people who know you well, understand your goals, and genuinely support your endeavors. The focus here is on quality over quantity, as these individuals play a crucial role in providing valuable advice, guidance, and referrals. Examples of an inner circle person is a longtime best friend, or a close mentor.

The Strong Ties (50 people):

  • Moving beyond the inner circle are the 50 strong ties in your network. These are individuals with whom you may not have an extremely close relationship but who still know you well enough to vouch for your character and capabilities. Building these stronger connections expands your reach and influence within your professional community. Examples of strong ties are former colleagues you keep in regular touch with, close friends or cousins. 

The Large Network (100 people):

  • The third tier involves maintaining a network of 100 contacts who may not know you as intimately as those in the inner circle or strong ties but can still contribute to your success. These are people with whom you have a professional rapport, and maintaining a relationship with them allows you to tap into a broader range of opportunities and resources. Examples of the larger network include colleagues you are cordial with, or friends of people in your “inner circle” and “strong ties” tiers.

What are the benefits of cultivating a strategic network?

“More connections... are less important than the right connections.” - Rickard Lockwood

By cultivating and maintaining a varied network you are opening yourself to any opportunity you may seek. When there are people you can tap into for jobs, partnerships, collaborations, or even just advice, there is no limit to your access. Robinett provides practical advice on how to identify, approach, and nurture connections at each level. 

Here are some key takeaways on power connections:

Strategic networking:

  • Instead of aimlessly collecting business cards or connecting with people on social media, power connecting puts the focus on building meaningful relationships that align with your goals. An example of this is attending or hosting events around your personal interests, like tennis, or a bookclub, or even a rousing game of mahjong. These events offer opportunities for you to authentically connect with people around your shared hobbies, rather than attending a bland networking event where it is difficult to strike up conversation.


  • You cannot understate the importance of reciprocity in networking. It’s not hard to tell when someone seems exclusively interested in mining your resources and time (while giving nothing in return). Building relationships should not be one-sided; it's about creating mutually beneficial connections where both parties contribute to each other's success. This philosophy fosters a culture of collaboration and support.


  • Be genuine in your networking efforts; no BS. Authenticity builds trust, and trustworthy relationships are more likely to result in meaningful opportunities. By being true to oneself, you can attract connections that align with your values and aspirations. And by demonstrating emotional authenticity with someone, you are establishing trust with that person that you will provide honesty in your relationship.

Follow-up and follow-through:

  • Successful networking extends beyond the initial meeting, which is why consistent follow-up and follow-through is essential. This involves staying in touch, offering assistance, and delivering on promises. These actions solidify relationships and make you memorable within your network.

Building a diverse network:

  • Diversify your networks by connecting with people from various industries, backgrounds, and perspectives. A diverse network not only brings different insights but also opens up a broader range of opportunities.

How Hifive can help you leverage your 5+50+100 network

Hifive makes it easy for your connections to provide introductions. With templates (and even AI suggested text) you can personalize your messaging to your customer and also make it easy for them to understand exactly what it is you’re asking for in your introduction. 

Here’s how:

  1. With the Hifive Chrome extension installed in your browser, use LinkedIn to filter through your connections to find someone you may be tangentially familiar with in their network, i.e. a weak link.
  2. When you’ve narrowed down an individual to whom you’d like a connection, click the purple “Request Intro” Hifive button.
  3. Hifive will provide an auto-populated message which can be tailored and customized for the referral request from your connection. 
  4. Make it even easier for your investor making the connection by customizing the message they’ll be sending for them.

If your connection request is accepted by your prospect you will both receive emails that the connection has been made. Hifive uses a double opt-in system, so both you and your connection have been verified and consent to the connection. 

Today, Hifive operationalizes introductions, however we also have future plans to allow for users to connect with other users in a way that isn’t possible on Linkedin today: by creating meaningful bi-lateral connections. These connections follow a law of reciprocity through give and get tracking and gamification. Hifive will offer this in 2024, so stay tuned.

The 5+50+100 Rule serves as a blueprint if you’re looking to cultivate a powerful network that can lead to professional success and business profitability. By focusing on quality relationships, strategic connections, and genuine interactions, you can transform your network into a valuable asset for personal and professional growth.

Posted February 6, 2024