You’ve put in the sweat. You’ve laid a solid foundation with your current clients. You’ve begun to build your team and your processes. You have the right attitude, solid values, and the right focus. So what’s next?
Let’s make a deal.
After all, that’s what entrepreneurs do, right? Nobody has a dream of having the smallest eCommerce site on the Internet. Entrepreneurs take a big idea and start making deals to turn their small startup into a big business.
The bigger the deals, the faster you get there.
And where do you make the biggest deals?
You’re thinking I’m going to tell you “downtown.”
There are multiple reasons for this, but really it boils down to the fact that downtown is where the location of the creative, tech-savvy class of entrepreneurs borders the sophistication of the powerful, tradition-heavy cadre of business executives.
I’m not saying you can’t get CEO John Doe to drive out to Mesa for a deal-closing lunch at your favorite funky taco shop, but you’re going to be skating uphill.
Let’s take a closer look at why.
Why Are The Big Companies Looking For Downtown?
Gone are the days when the corporate heavyweights and creative upstarts predictably headed to the suburbs for cheap property and hefty tax incentives. Now — just to recap for you, in case you missed a few of our recent blogs — they’re coming back to downtown.
They are doing this for many reasons, but you can boil it down to three:
1. Millennials: This is the big one. This age group is the largest working class in America, and studies have shown that they do not have the two-car garage and white picket fence dreams of their grandparents. A large number of them want to live in walkable cities with public transportation and easily accessible entertainment options. This innovative and technologically literate group is crucial to business, and if they won’t go to where the jobs are — well, the jobs are coming to them.
2. Culture: It’s not just a wealth of bars and restaurants and cool nightlife opportunities to keep the millennials happy — though that helps. And certainly it’s also helpful to have access to places where you can build your teams and court your potential partners. But there’s a deeper culture at work here. Downtown is the traditional home of important businesses and to work there is to tap into an energy and a competitive mojo that isn’t found elsewhere.
3. Access: Whether you are talking about getting there or working there, the tools already exist for you to find a ride or find a collaborator. Networking with potential clients or potential employees is easier in urban settings — they’re already there!
Why Do The Biggest Deals Happen Downtown?
Why are we focused on big deals? Because they’re worth it. You have to work harder, you have to do more socializing outside work. But in the end, you get more. A lot more. Sometimes business trajectory-changing more.
These deals happen downtown because that’s where the energy is.
That’s what you’re thinking when you are thinking of the person who can decide to change your life — someone in a sharply tailored suit in a high-rise office tower looming over symphony hall. These executives are there because their old rivals and new competition is there, too. They are there because tradition demands it.
They are also there because when they are thinking about where the energy is, they’re thinking about you.
These high-level power players know about the creative energy at work downtown — just as much as they know about the hassles and hardships. They want to work with people who are going to dress a little sharper, work a little harder. They want someone who is going to face a challenge and decide to embrace it. If you’re thinking the best executives are downtown, do not doubt that they are also thinking the best business partners are also downtown.
The Best Business Partners Are Downtown
And that’s why you need to be there. You need to make yourself seen by the people who can make a difference. It’s a courtship, of sorts. You are working on a relationship and you can’t just show up downtown every now and then and expect things to happen — you need to be there when they are ready for things to happen.
Lastly, we’re talking about wining and dining and entertaining potential business partners — and knowing they are going to expect a certain level of sophistication. This higher level of refinement is something you can familiarize yourself with if you work downtown, but it’s hard to fake if you’re just visiting.
The business schmoozing routine might seem a little “Mad Men” to some, but it’s still very much a thing — do you think all those suites available for rent at Talking Stick Resort Arena are filled with basketball fans? It’s part of the business of business.
You can do it well … you just have to be where the energy is.
How Do You Get a Big Company to Partner With You?
Were we talking about basketball? If you’re a startup, the idea of getting a brand name company to embrace your idea sometimes seems like shooting baskets at a hoop thirty feet in the air — the goal is right there, but making the shot seems like a matter of luck instead of skill.
There’s plenty of advice available, and most of it is what you would expect:
Know yourself: You have to be absolutely confident in what you offer and know exactly what value it offers the brand you are trying to partner with. You need to know what you want and you need to be prepared for audit-like scrutiny.
Know your target: You must do the research to know how your potential partner operates and what their goals and values are — and how they match yours.
Be patient: If you’ve never worked at a large company, you might be surprised at the less-than-nimble pace. But they got to be a large company by making the right decisions at a steady rate — hang on for your shot.
However, the one piece of advice that makes almost every list is knowing the value of personal contact. You have to build a relationship and work toward that in-person meeting. This means being where the action is and getting noticed.
Large companies get partnership pitches by the hundreds, so you need to find a way to get in front of the right person with the right pitch and be the one that they remember.
How Do You Know if You Belong Downtown?
Do you have the type of company that will benefit from working downtown? You should ask yourself a few things first. Where are your clients? Where are your potential new hires congregating? And do you think your company would fit in downtown?
Is it the right move for you? There’s one great way of finding out — give it a try.
Find a coworking space and sign yourself and a few team members up to work three days a week there. And don’t forget to take advantage of your new surroundings! Do team-building expeditions to the nearby coffee and lunch spots. Do a different happy hour every week. Attend a downtown business function once a month.
With this inexpensive start, give it a go for three months and then re-evaluate where you are.
Are you building better relationships?
Are you making better deals?
Here at The Department, we think you’ll do better and feel at home in our downtown coworking space.
If you want to see it for yourself, don’t hesitate to check it out. Schedule a tour with us, see the space, talk to our people, and discover what being in the heart of downtown Phoenix is doing for so many of our coworking colleagues.
We hope to see you soon!