I've always believed that business, like sports, is a game of inches. What separates one successful entrepreneur from one that fails isn't much. In fact, the entrepreneurs that are willing to go against the grain and embrace new ideas are usually the ones standing at the end of the day.
Today I met with entrepreneur Mike Wilcox, president of Vivid Cleaning, a commercial cleaning company.
Mike just recently began his company and is going through the hard work of building clients. An entrepreneurial friend had an interesting idea for Mike: "Why not contact the biggest competitor in the marketplace and ask for a meeting. Maybe he can help you or you can help him." Mike's first thought was, "that is totally ridiculous. Why would I contact my biggest competitor?"
After some hedging, Mike finally took his friend's advice and called the largest competitor in the market. The owner agreed to meet Mike for breakfast and the two had a very nice conversation. The Big Company owner liked Mike so much he began mentoring him and sending him clients. Yes, sending him clients. You see, there are certain smaller jobs the larger firm just can't make profitable. Instead of saying no, the company now sends the prospects to Mike.
Mike is not only getting some mentoring, he's also gaining some clients. The large company owner is getting the satisfaction of helping a local entrepreneur, and he no longer has to say NO to prospects that have jobs too small to handle. A win-win for everyone.
Business: It's a game of inches.
--Ron Ameln, SBM