It is often said, “It’s not what you know that counts, it’s who you know”. In my experience, often “It’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know” that leads to the greatest opportunities.
When I left my old company and started Drive, I had no business plan, no office, and no equipment. The only thing I had was a non-solicitation clause.
It was probably one of the best things that could have happened. I was starting from scratch, so I couldn’t offer the same level or range of services as my old company. Therefore, clients I knew may not have been able to use my skills anyway. This meant I had to approach new customers and offer them what I could at this point in Drive’s existence. Expanding my automotive network and making new contacts led to customers aligned with my offering, which allowed me to grow Drive and my relationship with them.
By the end of my non-compete period, we had set up a new offer and were able to reach out to the people I had previously worked with to grow our potential customer base.
It can also be difficult to change people’s perception of you, if you were an intern it can be difficult to shed that label when you return as an employee. Going to college or being employed in a new company is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself. As a consultancy, our process involves everything from strategy and concept design to production surfacing. We often provide an aspect, for example animations, to support a project and from there it is very easy to get suckered in by the people you are dealing with.
So, as your business grows and your offering changes, it may be easier to approach new customers who have no previous relationship with you to sell the new offering. This can obviously allow your business to grow beyond current perceptions.
Of course, the network of family, friends, colleagues and contacts I have created (too many to name here) and learned from over the years has been extremely important in my development and growth of Drive and I am indebted for their wisdom and support……. but even they were strangers at one time.
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