They say that everyone is plus or minus 10 per cent of the five people they spend the most time with. Kind of makes you rethink where you spend your time, doesn’t it?

Leisure time is one thing—but what about business?

If you could have a few minutes in a taxi with any five people who you think are most able to propel your business forward, who would they be?

Um, if Time is Money, Why Waste it Pretending to Be In a Make-Believe Taxi?

OK. Fair enough. For starters, because of the law of attraction, which says that you can achieve any goal if you envision it, focus on it and immerse yourself in it constantly, which is exactly what you will with this taxi exercise. So hold the questions for now, OK?

The exercise takes place in a taxi because that scenario lets you imagine yourself in a closed, quiet, intimate setting with the five people who have the most power to help your business. Think about the two most important questions:

  • Who are these five people?
  • How can you leverage your network to get an actual audience with them in real life?

It doesn’t matter where these people rank, one could be a doorman and one could be a CEO. If they can help you achieve a goal, they should get a seat in your taxi.

Let’s start with the first question.

The Top 5: Picking Your Passenger List

Everyone’s five passengers will be different. In fact, your five passengers should be different six months from now than they are at this moment.

Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur who launched an IT startup in the East end of Darby, and now you’re ready to branch out to North America. Whose help do you need to get there?

You’d better get someone with experience taking a local IT business international. Unless you have a rich mate whose life you saved, a tech-savvy investor should take up another seat. Since people are judged by the company they keep, how about filling the last three seats with the CEOs of the top three companies you want to work with? Aim high or go home!

These are the five people who are most likely to save you money, time and resources by shortening your learning curve and helping you avoid critical mistakes.

OK, But Imagination Doesn’t Get Me in Front of These People. No—Your Network Does

So you’ve answered the Who, but the second question remains: if you had 90 days to get in front of just one of those five people, how would you do it?

Could six degrees (actually, more like 4.2 degrees) of separation between all the people you know be enough to get you a meeting? Who do you know—and who do they know—who could transform this mental exercise into a real taxi ride—or face-to-face meeting—with an actual person? Now that you’ve identified the five most important people, the game becomes getting a real conversation with them.

If you’re the IT entrepreneur with global aspirations, to whom can you reach in Silicon Valley? Perhaps your sister lives in California and her roommate’s boyfriend works for a consulting firm that counts Apple as a client. Right away, a flag should go up. Getting in front of the right person may require you to be innovative, creative and daring, but if you’re willing to do that, it’s all but certain that you’ll actually get in front of one or two of your five taxi companions.

There is always an opportunity. It’s your job to hail it before it drives right past you.