There was an article this morning in MSNBC.com's Money section titled, "Getting rich is simpler than you think." The author, Harry Domash, said that getting rich isn't easy, but it's simple. All you need is income, time and discipline. The simple - but not easy - act of saving a portion of your income and then letting it build over time can create great wealth.
What is true for building wealth is also true for building a great network.
It takes input, time, and discipline.
The input is doing what it takes to build a relationship with other people. You do this through learning about their needs, sending them referrals, providing them with information, and generally working to give them value first.
Like investing, it takes time for your results to compound. If you do one beneficial or positive thing for someone, they'll think that's nice but it might not create a lasting impression. If you do two or three, now you've established a positive pattern that they'll remember.
Finally, the hardest part is discipline. You have to stick with it even if you don't think you're seeing results.
Create a portfolio of habits and apply them to your networking efforts over time and the results will compound - with interest.