Friday, March 13, 2009

Who you know!

Several years ago I moved to a different house and neighborhood only to meet a family I now consider family. To get to the point of the post without getting too sappy, they've introduced me to my wife and just recently have put a potential investor on my doorstep. Now the personal introduction to my wife has blessed us with twins and another due in May. Lord help me! What will the professional introduction's going to be fun finding out.

When I originally founded Field Dress, I contacted someone I knew whom always said if I come up with something, give him a call. He's one of the really "good guys" and although not an outdoorsman, took the time to look at the business plan and take a meeting. He loved the designs and concept compared to the competition (won't mention), but was weary about the apparel industry. He passed my plan onto his company's financial department and they combed through it only to find the numbers work...even if I came up with the numbers a little bit backasswards from their professional accounting practices.

Next, he brought in a couple of associates who were familiar with the apparel industry, but again, not outdoorsman. They liked the designs and concept, however weren't completely sold on the staying power of the name Field Dress. Surprised me too...again, not outdoorsman. My investor made a requirement at this time however, IF he decided to move forward, he wanted his associate involved in the day to day operations. With my ego in check, I completely agreed. I just want Field Dress to work and take it to the masses.

We were then waiting on the responses of two other departments and this is where I made the fatal decision. When it came to retaining the services of someone in marketing/advertising and a sales representative firm, I contacted whom I believed to be the best in both. Each were a tough sale for separate reasons.

First, the sales/marketing firm represented the competition and it would be a conflict of interest to take me on as a client. I would have to convince them to drop they're $100,000 gauranteed annual billing and represent Field Dress, an unknown. Secondly, the sales rep firm also represented a "thousand pound gorilla" in the industry and were coming out with their own t-shirt line. Well, I'm pretty good at sales, but I have more common sense to believe I'm that good. Both, after multiple meetings and calls had to respectfully decline. Although, I respect their decision, I also can't wait to rub it in a bit, IF Field Dress makes a run. My mistake? I should've also been talking to some other quality firms. Could've made a difference in my contact's decision to sit in "wait and see" mode.

So, we'll see how this one plays out. The new contact, we'll call him Mr. X, is more of a middle man for the "moneyman". Mr. X and I had a wonderful lunch meeting and more than anything, I am happy to know him. Mr. X is an outdoorsman and I'm confident we'll spend some time in the field together. The next step is getting Mr. X the business plan and wait for the next phone call, email, or text. This is where the fun begins.

And yes dad, you always told me "it's not what you know, but who you know".


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your business history with your blogging friends. I know that business is business, and, getting it off the ground takes a lot of hard work and determination. You appear to have both going for you. It isn't much, but, I have your banner link up on my website. I am doing what I can to help!

Rod McBellanic said...

Thanks a lot Mel, I really appreciate it.

wiggy said...

I also have an outdoor web site. I see that you have Clickbank links here. Are they working for you at all?
Don Wiggins

Rod McBellanic said...

Crazy timing. They haven't been moving and the traffic analysis only applies to sales. I initially put them in for content, as I just got started, however now have removed as of yesterday.
Thanks for coming by.