It was about this time last year that Tom and I started to seriously discuss the business venture that has now become TSI Heritage. Quite a few things have changed for me as a result, but I wanted to share one in particular.
You see, as the head of a Single-Family Office, I preferred to keep a very low profile. When people find out that you manage family money, a few things happen.
Typically, many form an instant opinion about you, not unlike the Steve Forbes scenario that I discussed in last week’s post. But still others instantly see you as the perfect recipient to their great sales pitch, for whatever financial product that they just happen to be peddling.
So for those reasons, and a few others, keeping a low profile was the way to go for me. And I did not mind. Some of the people who know me may think of me as an extrovert, but I honestly feel more like a natural introvert, so laying low also works with my personality.
So what changed? Well, all of a sudden, now that we decided to offer family-office services to other families, not only can I no longer lay low, I actually have to “sell” myself, and the services that Tom and I now provide to other families.
It is as if I had been hiding, and am now forced out of the dark and into the bright light, saying “Look at me, I can help!” Ugh!
I have always preferred the soft sell, whichever side of the table I happen to be on. When people come on too strong with their sales pitch to me, my guard immediately goes way, way up, and I am usually turned off for good. Now that I am the one who needs to be the pitchman, I certainly prefer the soft sell even more.
In fact, when we started, I told Tom that I wanted to be so exclusive with our service offer that we should only accept clients who were prepared to beg us to take them on.
Obviously we are not that stringent in evaluating potential clients, but it is quite clear that in order for a relationship such as this to work long term, it needs to be a good fit for both parties.
With this venture as in all others, I continue to prefer to crawl before walking and then to walk before running. So, marketing-wise, my preference has been to go slowly as well.
We set up our website in order to explain our thinking and our proposition. There will be a few changes to the site coming soon as well, and one change will be to highlight the blog section, as it has become the liveliest part of the site.
Tom and I have also become quite active on LinkedIn, which is a very useful networking tool, more so than I had imagined. If you work in any business or professional capacity and you are not yet on LinkedIn, I strongly encourage you to not only sign up, but to really get into it.
There are plenty of other things that continue to evolve in our venture, and we look forward to moving things forward in 2013. As for coming out of the dark, I understand that the first year is the hardest, so you can expect to hear more from me. But I promise to stick with the soft sell.