Good stuff Featured

10:44am EDT February 24, 2005
Recently, I've been writing about the negatives in business -- about what not to do. So let's talk about the good stuff.

There is more capital available looking for good opportunities, a lot of private equity deals are being done, and there were more than 600 attendees at the recent Cleveland ACG Deal Makers Award dinner. The Cavs are winning. And there is less posturing and there are more true opportunities than I've seen in a long time.

If you are looking to start or expand your business, things are much better than they were a couple of years ago. There is a pent-up demand, and the energy is palpable. But, it's imperative to remain both creative and flexible.

Here's an example. A client wanted to grow into new markets. Its best opportunity was with New York's financial community. We knew there was a strong value proposition, but the question was how to present it to the right people.

We did that by adding a layer of complexity. Sometimes, keeping it simple isn't the best way. Simple would have been to go directly to the client's prospects and make the pitch. The problem was that the company wasn't well known enough to get through the front door.

So we brought in a strategic partner that had clout in the industry, that can get through any gatekeeper and that always has its phone calls returned.

The critical piece to accomplishing this was for the company's owners to put their egos aside. They were willing to let the strategic partner earn the glory for their work because they knew they'd receive the revenue.

We knew the "glory" that our strategic partner would get would be much more valuable to it than any fee-sharing - its part of the industry is such that "glory" can be transformed into its own very significant fees for its very different services to the same client.

We schooled my client in the nuances of the strategic partner's industry, so when we made our pitch, we showed expertise not only in my client's trade but in the strategic partner's as well. We closed the deal in one day.

I tell this story not for glory, but to encourage other smaller companies to act in possibly new ways to gain new markets.

Erwin Bruder (ebruder@gordian.org) is president of The Gordian Organization. Reach him at (216) 292-2271.