Is there a correlation between food and successful deal making?
Lakshmi Balachandra, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts, recently conducted a series of experiments in which MBA students were provided identical business deals that required additional negotiations. The participants, who were instructed to maximize profits, were divided into even groups and asked to conduct these negotiations either in a restaurant, in a boardroom with food, in a boardroom without food, or while cooperating to complete a jigsaw puzzle – also without food.
The results of the study suggest that eating during the negotiation process increases a deal’s final value by almost 9 percent. (more…)
Networking is a vital factor in the growth of any company, but it’s difficult to know how to wring the most out of every encounter – especially those that take place at industry events. Here are some helpful networking tips to help you put your best foot forward:
1. Know what you’re looking for. It is important to develop a clear profile of the kind of client you want to attract — be as specific as possible. (more…)
Few small businesses today question the marketing ROI of sites like Facebook and Twitter. Still, many small firms remain stuck in an awkward adolescence, unsure how to best use social media to engage their customers and integrate these standard tools with their overall business strategies.
While many small business owners realize it’s no longer sufficient simply to have a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter handle, they often find themselves asking “now what?” after signing up for a social media account. For many, taking the social network plunge can be a daunting undertaking. But it’s not impossible if you keep these two concepts in mind. (more…)
The Simons Group attended the IABC/Chicago 31st Annual Bronze Quill Awards and Volunteer Recognition Gala on Thursday, June 7, where many outstanding communication professionals received awards for work submitted in 2011. With 27 categories, their work included everything from a Sealy ad campaign to marketing communications for the “McRib, Sandwich of Legends.” (more…)
UIC Family Business Council’s event yesterday was a huge success. A huge thanks needs go out to Art Lukowski, FBC president; Brian McIlwee, FBC first vice president; Judy Hogel, director; and Robyn Traub, program coordinator, for making this happen. With a record-setting number of attendees, we were able to share our insights into social media and offer some good tips to a large audience of small-business owners. After talking with many attendees, I feel that the panel achieved our goal of showing the importance of using social media to reach prospective customers.
We had a ton of great questions during and after the panel discussion. We ended up spending quite a bit more time on some of the services (I’m looking at you LinkedIn) than we had planned, but with the organic nature that the talk took on, that’s not a bad thing.
There’s no question that bankers have a lot on their minds these days. So if you want banks to refer you to their clients, how do you cut through the noise to make your point?
We asked ourselves the same question recently while doing some market research for one of our own clients. We talked to bankers and attorneys across the country about what gets their attention, and came away with a few tips to help you win that account.
There’s always room for a fresh face
If you’re worried you can’t make inroads because a competitor has a 20-year relationship with the institution, don’t fret. Most bankers we interviewed said their institutions generate new short lists of potential partners for each company that needed a referral. While that means there’s plenty of opportunity for you to compete, it also means you need to make sure your name is prominent in the marketplace.
When banks pick companies to recommend to their clients, they want decent-sized companies with good track records and previous experience specific to the task at hand. Develop a marketing strategy that emphasizes your unique credentials. If you have experience in more than one area create multiple messages to target each group.
…And so do relationships
You can have the most sparkling credentials in the world, but it won’t necessarily get you on the short list – ever-cautious bankers still want to see faces they can trust. The bankers we interviewed said recommendations were the top reason they gave new companies a chance, and that meeting in person was the best way for a firm to present its credentials. Your angle? Make one person with your company “the face” of the pitch — it will help the bank to not just identify with your brand but build a real relationship.
Want to weigh in on the best ways to communicate with banks? We’d love to hear your 2 cents, so leave us a comment below.
Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the term “due diligence?” Ours, too. Although the phrase might conjure up some boring fact-finding mission, we were reminded recently of just how crucial due diligence is to the success of any business.
We attend industry events to better understand the challenges facing our clients, and we spent a few hours last week at the Chicago Building Congress’ “Distressed Construction” seminar.
In each of the construction projects presented, companies had signed on the dotted line without reviewing the scope of work fully or checking out the contractors they hired. That lack of oversight meant lots of cost overruns and missing elements in the projects. In one particularly bad case, contractors built a casino with no restaurant inside.
These horror stories got us thinking about the need for due diligence in any industry. Here’s our take on why it pays to do your homework:
- It protects you. Investing some time on the front end of a new project or business relationship can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Make sure to research potential partners thoroughly by asking lots of questions, checking references and looking at their past work. The same goes for anything you sign – read the fine print carefully. And once you embark on a new venture, due diligence shouldn’t end. A lot of these companies got burned by turning over the reins to someone they ultimately couldn’t trust, so check in regularly to evaluate progress and head off any problems.
- It adds value for your clients. When you make a value proposition to a prospect, you want it to be one that actually has value. Just like we wouldn’t assume that social media is for everyone when developing a marketing strategy, you have to consider what does and doesn’t work for your own clients on a case-by-case basis. Putting in the legwork ahead of time to research a prospect’s wants and needs keeps you from wasting their time – and makes you look better.
And if you’re still not convinced of the importance of due diligence, consider this: How much time would you spend in a casino if you had to leave to eat or drink?