Recently I was asked this question which I thought was really a good one.What a great question. How would you answer it? Think about it before you read further.
I think the answer is crystal clear and applies to any size business, from a one-person start-up to a Fortune 100 corporation. It applies equally to developing a career as it does to accelerating the growth of an organization. I cover my answer in my recently published book
I would spend (“invest”) the $500/week by I having a business-related networking breakfast meeting at least 5 mornings a week.
Let’s say the average tab for two people having some eggs or pancakes will be $20. Assume also that maybe occasionally the other person splits the check or picks it up in total. So a week’s worth of breakfast meetings should cost you less than $100, leaving a few bucks left over that you can use to have some fun.
Why meet over breakfast?
- Almost everyone will agree to do this before their work day starts
- These discussions are typically to the point and under an hour
- They cost less than doing it over lunch or dinner. Networking at dinner meetings cuts into your quality family time.
- You are meeting on neutral grounds without lots of interruptions.
- It won’t disrupt your day. You can still get to your job by 8:30 or 9 (or earlier if you are both early risers).
Who do you meet with?
Meet with all the various stakeholders and business related contacts you have which means meet with current customers, potential customers, current and potential suppliers, industry experts, the media in your industry, your professional advisors (lawyer, insurance, accountant), current and potential strategic alliance partners, employees at all levels in your organization, leaders from your community, members of your various clubs or charities you support. and others.
What will you get out of these meetings?
- Find unmet needs with your current customers
- Be referred to potential new customers
- Trigger your own thinking about new products & services you might develop and deliver
- Identify new sector or geographical markets you can go after
- Find new strategic alliances
- Recruit new talent for your organization
- Strengthen relationships with your current suppliers and professional advisors
- Identify potential new suppliers and additional advisors
- Spot potential important new opportunities
- Get real satisfaction finding ways to add value to the lives and careers of the people you are meeting. Life is a two-way street as you well know.
- Plus, just think of all the great things you will learn that will benefit you and your family personally from these discussions including wines to try, books to read, restaurants to check out, places to shop, movies and plays to see, great week-end getaways, vacation destinations, tutors and coaches for the kids, unique charities you might want to support. And the list of personal benefits goes on.
Can you think of a better way to spend $500/month to grow your business or your career? I can’t. Shouldn’t every head of a business think about this approach? We all eat something in the morning. Why not do it with another quality person?