It takes a certain kind of person to strike out on his or her own in business. An entrepreneurial spirit, which is a special kind of creativity, is important; but persistence along with that creativity is what’s needed to get a new company off the ground and keep it moving along. You must keep thinking of new ways to do things, to stay ahead of the competition.
Even years ago when I first started my own company, and was traveling back and forth across the country, I constantly wondered how I could make those trips profitable for my consulting business in Connecticut. Then, after reading that I could make an additional stop on my cross-country journeys for just a small additional fee, I thought of a way to do that.
I wanted to visit the Director of Research and Development at a company that made snack foods in Dallas. I wanted to make a presentation to him to introduce my product development business and to offer our services to them. This, I thought, would be a way that I could utilize the time I was spending in transit to create new business. I called the company but the Director wouldn’t talk to me. At the time, the thought of using outside help was foreign to them; everything was done in house.
I told his secretary that I was on my way to Dallas and would be visiting. Being honest, she told me the director probably wouldn’t see me; but she said I could come by if I wanted to.
After reaching Dallas and renting a car, I found my way to the company and tried to see the Director who, true to his secretary’s word, wouldn’t see me, but that didn’t stop me.
I stopped in Dallas several times after that, each time stopping by to see if I could get to see the Director, each time to no avail. I did get to know his secretary pretty well though. Each time I brought a bag of the company’s product samples with me just in case I got an opportunity to explain to him how we could help his company.
Finally one morning the Director saw me sitting there again and asked why I kept coming back time and again when he wouldn’t see me. Then I had the chance to tell him about the services my company could provide to his company even though I really didn’t know at that time if he had a problem we could work on. It turned out he did.
After bringing out one of the sample packages, I asked him first what it cost for the snacks in the bag. He said about three cents. Then I asked him how much the plastic bags cost. When he said five cents I knew we could help him because my company would be able to help get them back into the snack food business by offering creative, low-cost packaging solutions.
My persistence paid off. Those visits began a 20-year working relationship with that company which turned my previously idle travel time into profits.
Article – Copyright 2000 Stanley Mason. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA