It is often said “It’s not what you know but 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 previous company and started Drive, I had no business plan, no office and no equipment. The one thing I did have was a non-solicitation clause.
That 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 that my previous company did. Therefore those clients I knew may not have been able to use my skills anyway. It meant that I had to approach new clients, and offer them what I could at that stage of Drive’s existence. Expanding my automotive network and making new contacts led to clients that aligned with my offering, enabling me to grow Drive as well as my relationship with them.
By the time my non-compete period was over, we had built up a new offering and were in a position to reach out to people I had worked with previously to build our potential client base.
It can also be difficult to change people’s perception of who you are, if you have been an intern it can be difficult to shake off that tag when you return as an employee. When going to university or being employed at a new company is an excellent opportunity to re-invent yourself. As a consultancy our process involves everything from strategy and concept design through to production surfacing. We often provide one aspect, for example animations, to support a project and from then on it is very easy to get pigeon holed by the people you are dealing with.
So as your company develops and what you offer changes, approaching new clients who don’t have any previous relationship with you can be easier to sell the new offering to. This can obviously allow your company to expand beyond the current perceptions.
Of course the network of family, friends, colleagues and contacts that I have made (too many to name here) and learnt from over the years, have been incredibly important in my development and the growth of Drive and I am indebted for their wisdom and support ……. but even they were strangers at one time.
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