I keep going back to that expression: it is not what you know – it is “who” you know….
Have you ever started your own business? From my vantage point I do believe that the exact same starting point of developing your own business is the same tool you would use to go to work for a new job.
You have to learn what the market is, who the players are, and how to navigate within the organization. While integrating your knowledge and expertise in this new position you start to learn how this organization is run, as well as what the service is that you are providing. Every successful company provides a service in some fashion in order to stay in business.
The next vital step in starting a new job or starting your own business is getting all the tools together and sharpening your pencil to start prospecting your clients. Prospecting can be fun, once you start building your list to include everyone you know, without pre-judging anyone, just build your list, and also plan what your script will be that you will use when you contact each person on your list. The prospect list will be vital to your organization. Once you are successful in determining who your core team is when you start to form your organization, these people will help you promote your business. Each of your team members will be simultaneously building their prospecting lists. Sometimes brainstorming together will help people think of their contacts.
Another vital step in keeping your organization on the cutting edge is having sales and training meetings every week to apprise every person of new products and services. These meetings can be informal, informational briefings or they can be substantial meetings with visuals, and question periods. All in all, each subsequent meeting should be held so that each player is introduced to your team and brought into the tight circle of camaraderie as soon as possible to keep everyone abreast of what the market is, and what the company goals are.
Probably the best run companies are the ones who provide the smooth transition from outsider to insider through training, and peer team work. Some companies work and play together with softball teams. In my experience all the jobs I transferred into, the companies who had employee teams were the best companies to work for. One of my favorite companies was AIP (American Institute of Physics) because we had a running team, (Super Conductors, Physics Fastest Feet), and even though I wasn’t the fastest, I still ran in as many races as I could and I loved it. It was great fun, plus we represented our company, we gave back to the community by raising funds for the charities, and we met with some of the most interesting people you could imagine. Oh, and another great company to work for, was Charlie Kokesh’s venture capital company, TFI (Technology Funding). He was into his polo ponies, but we all got a chance to ride his ponies at company picnics. The way his company was run was superior to most companies I worked for.
And, so what goes hand-in-hand with a start-up company or a new job is the way you proceed to learn the ropes. By finding out how the company is run, one can take up the slack and create better systems for the company to run on. In all that I did for each company I worked for – was – that I did more than what was called for. If it meant the most mundane job like reorganizing a bank of filing cabinets, I did it with great fervor, especially because I knew I would find out quite a bit about the company, the employees, and the client base. I also found out that some filing systems were obsolete and needed to be transformed. Sometimes things were misfiled. This way I discovered if there were any losses, dropped accounts or dead wood. Sometimes if someone works in a place too long they get complacent in their jobs and they don’t push to get ahead and these become issues that hold a company back, especially when you find these things in overstuffed filing cabinets. Misfiled papers become the chink in the armor that has the potential to create chaos and loss of business.
When companies are formed and there is the big push to get it off the ground, they grow, and move ahead at a rapid rate, because of the transitions each of the employees use to strive for higher achievements. Bonuses and perks have always been part of the incentives to keep employees happy. Even though companies provide outstanding benefit packages, I do believe that the next generation of companies will have to out-perform what we have been used to in the past. Modern technology has sped up our lifestyles, and the way we do business. The computers, cell phones, and green technology have transformed our working communities, perhaps for the best because we are able to produce much more output, perhaps with less paper, and less filing cabinet space.
What still holds true to this day, is: “It is not what you know, it is who you know.” The business and personal contacts you have at your fingertips can change your life overnight. Manners and professional relationships have to conform to how one does business, and the old adage of a handshake may still exist, if it is one phone call away, or a text message underway. It seems that who you know is still what is going to make your game fly. You still need to keep ahead of what is going on, but it is who you know that is going to change your world.
Keep connected, in every way, shape or form. At the present, blogs, social-networking sites, and cell phones, seem to rule. To keep inside the learning curve, one has to keep up with all the data and processing of information as quickly as possible, staying ahead, staying in the game, which is how business works whether it is a start-up, or an existing business… Life goes on, whether you have your contacts at your fingertips or not, it has to be a smooth and expedient transition from one destiny to another.
Copyright Helen Holden-Gladsky 2010