It’s often fascinating to look back on history and get to the root of the most successful deals our company has made. One of the recent conversations about our success at London Brand Management led to our thinking that some of the life-changing deals could not happen if I had ignored the last-minute desire to attend a relatively low-profile (by description) event for young entrepreneurs last autumn.
Here is the story: Exactly one year and one month ago, I was on one of the UKTI’s websites reading about the development plan for Tech City in London. I had stumbled upon a link to an event, which was starting next day, “Young Entrepreneurs Festival”. It sounded interesting, and despite that the deadline for applications was more than a week earlier, I sent a brief email asking to join. The next day, I was pitching to a dozen ‘mentors’ (who seemed to be ordinary people sitting on the benches at Hackney House). And here it was the last pitch of the day— I was feeling rather relaxed, sitting on a wooden stump and pitching to a guy in a t-shirt called Alex, to whom I promised ‘to make his day better by telling what we do’. A week later, we met again—this time, in our office. Over a short period, we became great friends. In fact, we meet once a week or so. He then co-founded The Bakery and invited us to pitch to their clients, after an amazing, redefining mentoring from him. We pitch—BMW is impressed with what we do and signed a contract two months later. A few weeks later, BMW iGenius was launched. Boom!
There are an infinite number of such examples. You often meet someone who knows someone who can introduce you to a client. Or something even more complicated than that. But this is how business works today— the company, especially in early stages, is defined by the people in the circle of its employees and management.
And here is the moral: Especially at early stages, the management team should be focused on building connections outside of the office. After all, money is not made by sitting in front of the screen and redefining your value proposition—money is made when you meet people who want to buy from you. And the reality is that when you are a small company, clients don’t queue up outside the office—you have to go and get them.
Go to events. Low- or high-profile ones. Meet people and be open to anything. That’s the secret sauce of business growth.