When I was 11 years old, I ran in the Utica, N.Y., “Boilermaker” 15K road race for the first time. This 15K event was by far the longest run I had ever attempted. With my father’s help, I trained for the race for several months, gradually extending my endurance. On race day, I was able to overcome searing July sun and finish, never walking except once near the six-mile mark.

After this milestone achievement, I felt a sense of accomplishment. My family was very proud and congratulatory, as were most of my friends. However, I can recall a couple of friends asking, “You ran almost 10 miles in July? Why would anyone do that?”

At some point in the near future, I will surpass 1,000 LinkedIn connections, another accomplishment. Most of my colleagues will be impressed, but I am sure a few will ask “Why bother?” Here are the top five reasons:

  1. I communicate and interact with clients.
  2. I am contacted by prospects regularly.
  3. I make many types of important contacts.
  4. I receive employment opportunities.
  5. I learn about industry updates quickly.

Each new connection expands my reach and improves the value derived from LinkedIn in all five of the above areas. Not to mention that accumulating connections is much easier than running over a hilly 15K course in the summer heat!

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John Scranton is an insurance agency marketing expert and vice president of StartUpSelling, Inc. which helps small businesses with lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information and tips from John, visit www.StartUpSelling.com, or go to his blog at http://startupselling.com/blogs/johnscranton.