Why I Do Want To Have Coffee With You
This is a response to an article on Entrepreneur.com by Gene Marks that was also featured on The Huffington Post.
Please... I really want to have coffee, water or preferably any non-caffeinated and cool beverage, with you.
I'm not a serial networker and hate networking events (probably like you). You see we are living in a digital world and I am a digital girl... or boy. We're surrounded by screens, email and a steady flow of connectedness. I'm a business owner too and my days are really busy. I quietly fist-pump myself after sending emails at 10 p.m. and boast that push notifications are the sweet sounds of productivity.
It's funny, but the best part of my day seems to be when I have a drink, meal or any physical interaction with other people. Including those I barely know.
All this work and no play is killing me, you and a lot of the modern working world.
Honestly, our days aren't that busy. We'll make time when it's convenient. Some of us make time to binge-watch the latest show on Netflix. Others, like us, make time to blog about unnamed people we want or don't want to have coffee with. I face the constant grind of travel, connectedness, late-night calls and emails all day so I feel your small-business pains... they really do kill us.
And that's precisely why I want to have coffee with you! It would be like Pepto Bismol to my email diarrhea. Imagine how much fun it would be?! Two workaholics, who clearly love to talk, complaining about coffee invitations (or in my case lack thereof). Alas, I don't fit one of your coffee-date requirements. Here's some other great opportunities you're missing out on:
Helping Someone -- Look at the list of people you only want to have coffee with:
- A client (someone who pays you money)
- A referrer of a client (someone who can introduce you to someone who can pay you money)
- A prospect (someone who may want to pay you money)
- A creditor (someone you owe money or a favor to)
Based on your logic, you'd say no if your child's friend asked you for a coffee. They aren't a family member and won't pacify your transactional desires. But what happens when they get older? Maybe they become a large business owner (not a small one like you or me) that gives you the clout and leverage you want. What should they do 20 years from now when you ask them for a coffee? Should they refer to your article, put an imaginary dollar-figure on your forehead and then make a decision of your coffee-worthiness?
Alternatively, what if they had a rich aunt and could, indirectly and unknowingly, pacify one of your transactional needs? Do you think you'd win that aunt's business if you told their niece that you didn't want to have coffee with them since they didn't alter your balance sheet? Being a mentor and doing things to help other people over coffee is something you should consider. Most small-business owners rely exclusively on referrals and don't know where their next deal is coming from.
Finding A Spouse -- A drink is an invitation to convert a stranger into a contact. Take a coffee-date. This person isn't a client or going to refer business, but they may be a lot more than that. We both have families. I doubt I would if I told my then future-wife that our first coffee together came with call-in details. Yes, people build relationships remotely all the time, but 'just a coffee' is a great relationship starter. Could you imagine if the dating company 'It's Just Lunch' changed their business model to 'It's just Join.Me' and asked busy professionals to meet over remote meetings? Not all coffee dates are about business. Some are far more important.
Finding Other Employees -- In business people are your most powerful resource. The best people usually have jobs and don't have time to meet. An after-hours coffee date or lunch are great options. Remember, you're trying to recruit a winning player to your team. Buying them lunch and convincing them to join in person seems like a natural start. As a small business owner sometimes you also have to be creative in who you hire. Maybe one of your coffee-dates will uncover a diamond in the rough.
An Opportunity To Give -- You should disconnect and meet people without a scheduled appointment or personal agenda. I'm not a billionaire member of Shark Tank or even a business-expert (after all my business is small), but I've never rejected a coffee invitation. When someone asks you for a coffee they aren't trying to inconvenience you. They want to meet and get to know you. I see those coffee-dates as a chance to meet someone new, help or be helped (in that order). You'd probably agree that in business the more people you serve the more money you make. Finding a way to help people is good for business -- the more you give, the more you get.
Spin-off Potential -- How flooded is your inbox/voicemail with coffee invitations? Pass them my way! There are probably a lot of people who need a coffee... and evidently a lot of people looking for company if you're getting invites. Forget coffee. Let's do lunch instead! Why lunch? Well, most people make time for lunch every day (unlike coffee dates) and usually eat alone. I'd prefer a stranger's company over Sammy's any day. Sammy's my phone. I see him so much that we're on a first name basis.
If you, or anyone else for that matter, wants to have coffee, lunch, grab a spinning class or knock around a few tennis balls drop me a line any time. That way at least someone will laugh at my jokes. Seriously. All this technology is killing me.
That's why I'm dying to meet you.