Category Archives: Networking Tips

Working outside has it’s perks

I ran across a question recently about working outside or at coffee shops.

Can it be effective?  Why would you do it?  Do you even have an office? etc.

Well, here’s why I do.  I currently have a great office in West Hollywood, California, with double doors that open onto a patio, and situated directly over the world famous Sunset Strip.

However, most afternoons I can be found at a tremendous coffee shop called Café Primo.

This is a wonderful establishment with free wi-fi, outdoor seating, open windows, a friendly atmosphere.

I tend to schedule my meetings, or just conduct my business at this establishment.  The ability to sit outside, have a tremendous view, get people to come to me, and of course people watch, are all paramount opportunities.

However, it is what I call the “incidental” conversations that are most appealing.

The people, contacts, friends, and associates that have been created by striking up the most random conversation with the person sitting across from me is a constant amazement.

On any given afternoon there are celebrities (Jeremy Piven, Tawny Kitaen, Mark McGrath, Jason Stathom, and even the random Fabio or Ron Jeremy), athletes (Terrell Owens, any member of the Lakers), tourists, executives, lost souls, and any number of interesting people to talk to.

Indeed, an afternoon at this location is a primo people watching experience

I’ve often had people come up and joke, “so, is this your office?”, or even better, “what, do you live here?”.

My answer is usually to chuckle, point to the building three blocks away that houses my office, and say, “no actually, I prefer working outside in the afternoon, as I never know who I might run into, or who I would get the privilege to speak with.  If I were in my office, I wouldn’t be here to say hello to you”.

Yes, working outside indeed has it’s perks.

The use of Social Networking Tools

In an attempt to expand my online universe, I decided to upload a contact file into Facebook and use the friend finder.  After MANY unsuccessful attempt to just “upload” the file, I was finally successful.

A quick tip for anyone trying-

1- your file has to be a CSV

2- it can only contain the email field

3- it can’t be over 5,000 records.

This last point was painfully relevant as my database contains about 9,500 names.

After finally getting that figured out, the upload was complete.

The next step….selecting the “friends” I wanted to invite.

Unfortunately, here comes the vagrancies of a social network.  It is their job to GROW!!!  Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are on a mission to have more people.

Thus, while trying to judiciously select the friend to invite, facebook notified me of my great “success”.

What was that success?  It has now sent out an invitation to EVERYONE in my contact list.

Not very clear or concise on how to invite friends.  And I believe it is done intentionally and insidiously.

So, for anyone who received my invite, and either wishes to decline, or doesn’t remember meeting me- I apologize and understand.

I’m now staring at a screen for LinkedIn think- what to do next?  I surely hope it is a more clear path to selection.

Are you hunting Elephants, or are you hunting deer?

Are you hunting Elephants, or are you hunting Deer?

In light of the world of Political Correctness, I hope the following doesn’t offend anyone.

If anyone has built a company, or tried to sell a product or service, you will relate to what is about to follow.

Some products or services are best built for large companies, however not everyone is cut out to sell to large organizations.

In other situations, even though the product may qualify for elephant status, the deer look like an easier target.

Well, at some point one must decide- Are you hunting Elephants or Deer?

If you are going after elephants, then heed the words of a famous bushman (ok, I’m not sure who said this, if he is famous, or I just made it up)

“He who hunts elephants, does not stop in the jungle, to throw stones at birds!”

That means- stay focused.

The reason I point this out is that in the world of hunters, there are VERY few who can go after big game.

If you are in the processes of taking a product to market, or you already have one that is out, the determination becomes, what is the “sales cycle”?

Often for larger ticket items, or big projects, or services sold to Fortune 1000 companies, the sales cycle can be 12 to 15 months, or more.

It is easy to look for smaller game to hunt.  The $50 Million dollar company that is “interested”.  The $200 Million dollar company that “qualifies”.

In many instances, the sales cycle for the smaller company may be just as long as for the bigger one.

At the end of the day, is it worth it to hunt the smaller company?  Will the profitability be sustainable?  Will the service and support outweigh the revenue?  Will you spend just as much time and effort for a smaller pay off at the end of the day?

Yes, indeed it is easier to think you can walk into the woods and find a deer.

However, it takes real skill to walk into the jungle and bag an elephant.

If you think you have the product and the skill- decide?

Do you spend your time in the jungles with the big game, or in the fields with the small?

Considering there are over 600,000 registered hunters with a deer license, and probably less than 500 that may hunt the big game, if you have the skill, go for the……

Again, the above was meant for an analogy and wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

Long before you are a Billion Dollar Company, you must….

To be a Billion dollar company, you must first think like one, and act like one, long before you are one.

I would like to relate a story- though not a true one- that is a metaphor for what is about to be written.

There was a woman working in a plant for $10 and hour when the owner approached her and asked a series of questions:

“Would you work overtime, for $30 an hour”, he asked?

“Of Course”, she replied.

“Would you work on Saturdays, and Sundays if needed, or stay late without being asked, or work on Holidays, if the case warranted it”?

“For $30 an hour”, “You bet!” She exclaimed.

Then, the boss asked, “would you do all of that, for $10 an hour”?

“No way”, was her quipped reply.

“Well, then you will never make $30 an hour”

Without going into further detail, the moral of the story is:

You must first “See”  yourself as a $30 an hour employee, before anyone else will see you as having that value.

Now, back to business.

All too often, companies look to shortcut their way to success.  They will do the smallest amount, put out an inferior product, rush to market, or not look to expand into new areas.

The question is: If you were a Billion dollar company, how would you make the decision?

In the area of growth, planning, acquisitions, alliances, and even Board members- the decisions of a Multi-Billion dollar company will probably be much different than your own.

How can you expect to grow and become the titan of industry, if you don’t first act like one.

This goes for ANY size company.

If you are just starting out- is your paperwork, funding documents, corporate papers, and structures set up for true growth?  Or are they haphazardly put together because you were cutting corners?

If you are a growing company- are you alliance and sales documents top notch?  Are the companies and executives you surrounded yourself with helping you for growth?  Is your team one that can take you to the next level, or drag you down?  Are you “hiring up!”, or are the people you surround yourself with too much like yourself?

What about having financial fortitude and strong managers?  Or are you surrounded with a bunch of “yes” men, who will just agree with you?

As you continue to grow, are you looking at creative ways for funding?  Are you looking at strategic acquisitions and growth strategies?

What- you don’t have the funding for that?  Again, would a Billion dollar company due everything with cash?  Does your stock have value?  Are there other values you have you can bring to the table?

Yes, you have to act like a big company, long before you are a big company, to become a big company.