Joint Venture Duds Lead to Studs

Five years ago, I sat in a White Spot lunch meeting looking at the people around me: an unsuccessful insurance salesman with a slimy sidekick who had the worst table manners I have ever seen, and a bank manager who was only interested in his pending retirement to some godforsaken village in the Okanagan. I remember wondering, “What am I doing with this bunch of losers?” Looking back and tracking referrals and introductions from duds to studs, however, I observe that that insurance salesman and bank manager unwittingly led me to Joint Venture income worth tens of thousands of dollars over the past five years. While it is true that turkeys seldom lead you to eagles, you can structure things so that they do, in fact, lead you to eagles.

One of the mistakes that many entrepreneurs make is to judge any event, endeavor, or Joint Venture by its immediate, observable, monetary results. After nineteen years in business, having been exposed to literally thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs, I have learnt that there are many repercussions, consequences and ripple effects that start immediately you take action. Most of them are not immediately visible or apparent. The majority of the results from any Joint Venture or event are medium to long term. We generally focus on the quick buck, the proverbial tip of the iceberg, instead of the big picture. And that is good news.

Many times, the biggest loser has been instrumental in my meeting a real winner. The dud leads to the stud. You sow in one place, and reap in another altogether. Strategists are like chess players. Strategic thinkers who are also Joint Venture Brokers always look at the big picture. While others are wringing their hands in frustration because they don’t get instant gratification, strategists are comfortably aware of the ripple effects, branding, exposure, and positioning that nets the real players and the lucrative deals. Ever heard of the Six Degrees of Separation? Bob introduces you to Ted who tells Peter and Peter e-mails Sally, who brings you Mandy, who in turn brings you the deal that changes your life. So it pays you to cast your net wide and make sure it’s the kind of net that will work on big fish.

Here’s the most important lesson I learned: stay connected with the winners, the rainmakers and the movers and shakers. In the long run, they are the ones that will feed you, because they understand loyalty and the recognize those who stay with them. What goes around comes around. Strategists and big thinkers attract like-minded people. But remember this: often, the bigger the database, the bigger the ego. And no matter how connected someone is, if they’re not honest, you don’t need them. So be selective. But even the dishonest ones can get you to the right people. And we know that it’s all about whom you know, whom you have leverage with, and whom you can reach.

Decide not to judge any introduction or Joint Venture by the immediate results and resolve to stay well connected with well-connected people. Hitch your wagon to a star and make sure you create massive reciprocity with that star along the way. Think chess.

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