Do not underestimate your capacity to effect change in people’s lives and companies. As you plot to build connections especially with those “way higher up” in the business/economic ladder, focus your strategy on how you can help them expand their missions. Yes, it is likely that the richest man in your city will reply to a document where you have articulated how one of his businesses will thrive than one where you are seeking help.
There is a reason for that: the “seeking help” communications rarely reach him; the aides purge them. But the bold vision document typically reaches the big man because even the aides are there to see the company grow.
Find your own mentor – he does not need to be your university professor unless the professor knows and understands business. It is always good to use active practicing professionals who are facing the challenges you are encountering at higher levels.
If you run a business, it does not make sense to pick a big corporation uncle (unless he founded a firm) as a mentor – he is guaranteed income at month end and may have never felt the stress of paying workers, and growing margins. There is urgency that comes when you meet people running their shops, a civil servant would not give you that.
2019 is still very young, and most times, your visions will be executed through networks and people you partner or work with. Take time to think five key people you want to connect in a meaningful way to help in your mission. And then find at least one major way you can help those people in whatever they are doing. Look for the opening to present to them, focusing on the strategic/intellectual part of you.
Do not speak as someone looking for help: make the people to understand you as someone with intellectual and business sagacity that can improve whatever sub-frictions you are focusing on. If you do well, you would be offered the opportunities to do as you said. Interestingly, that is how you would help yourself.
Just like what is obtainable in business model innovation: value creation, value delivery and value capturing. Same is applicable in human relationships, if you really want to be taken seriously.
You must be able to create value (for the rich guy), deliver the same value to him/her, and then capture value, the latter now becomes the help you are looking for or even getting the deserved attention. Seeking to get it any other way may be fraudulent, the rich guy is not your father or mother.
Again, most serious people are not moved when you display that pitiable disposition, playing the victim, as if anyone owes you anything, getting help is never an entitlement. You do not need to make people feel guilty for not helping you, when you haven’t really done anything to deserve help anyway.
Always think of what you can give, and in return you are likely to get what you want.