Why do people end up at our door?
22nd May 2015
As a firm that currently generates all of its business by referral and recommendation, we tend to spend a lot of time at business networking events. I consider these events a fantastic way of developing lasting and meaningful business relationships providing you approach them in the right way and with the right level of expectation. This article is not about how to network effectively, but suffice it to say, it appears to me all about how can you (and your broader circle of contacts) help the person in front of you and vice versa. I heard a great expression once: “You network THROUGH a room, not TO a room”.
I am often asked at these events who would be a great introduction and what should people be looking out for in terms of potential referral opportunities. Certainly, there are professions with strong natural synergy such as insolvency practitioners, solicitors and accountants (where referrals can and do flow both ways). After that, it does get a little tricky because whether it’s a company in financial trouble or a private individual, most people tend not to discuss it openly. It is not uncommon during the initial consultation stage with the client to find that it is the first time they have admitted the true extent of the problem to themselves, let alone a third party. This led me to look at the common factors that our clients have in common and I have identified 5 main factors that bring people to our door:
- RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN – Human beings are social animals and when key relationships break down, it can have a profound effect on your state of mind and priorities and even your ability to function effectively. It doesn’t necessarily mean only in instances of divorce as it could be an important business relationship (with a key supplier or even business partner for example). I’ve been through this myself following the breakdown of a personal relationship.
- REDUNDANCY – This isn’t always about the loss of income which of course is a significant event. In instances of redundancy, some people start questioning their value and this can lead to low self-esteem. As a consequence, you can start to second-guess yourself and end up avoiding important decisions entirely as a result.
- BEREVEMENT – The profound sense of loss when you lose a loved one if often overwhelming. The grieving process tends to override all other priorities and it’s all too easy for the red bills to start building up on the doormat without you even realising it.
- BAD BUSINESS DEAL – When business deals go sour, the consequences can be expensive. It could lead to the loss of an investment or costly and lengthy litigation. I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard “If only xyz deal had gone through….”. Again, directors can start to second guess themselves and this can mean one bad business deal can lead to poor decision making moving forward – the lessons learnt from making mistakes aren’t (unfortunately) always positive.
- BAD BUSINESS PARTNER – I have had to deal with far too many cases involving business partnerships which ended up less than equal. One partner can attempt to “hide” bad news from another leading to decisions and actions based on false data. A bad business partner could also manifest itself as an individual who takes actions with an entirely different agenda for personal gain over his other partner(s). Some bad business partners just ride off into the sunset with all the money…
This list is by no means exhaustive as there are lots of other potential triggers like being the victim of a fraud for example. The key here is that it’s usually a significant event that leads to financial problems. In fact, I have historically walked clients through personal bankruptcy who were millionaires (on paper at least) a few years before meeting me.
My mantra here remains the same. If you have a problem or you think one is coming, don’t delay and get advice as the earlier you prepare, the better you are able to deal with the situation.