Justification for Coffee Meetings

  • August 18, 2011
  • Scott

As if I needed any excuses to take coffee meetings (I don’t), Mark Suster has provided some great ammunition for those not inclined to partake:

I know I’m getting repetitive. It is with great intent. Whatever amount you’re getting out and talking with prospects, customers, employees, recruits, competitors, press, investors, potential investors … it’s never enough. […]

For almost everybody else I work with I know that a little more dedication to coffee meetings would have a positive impact. Your biz dev discussion that goes nowhere today will plants seeds in somebody’s mind 18 months from now.

Yet most of us resist the coffee meetings seeing them as a distraction from: shipping our release, refining our business plan, working on our new website, etc. You have to do both. Wake up early. Turn coffee into late-night drinks. Never eat lunch alone.

I couldn’t agree more.  Early in my career I didn’t understand the value of eating lunch with colleagues and friends other than as entertainment.  I didn’t understand the value of meeting with people outside my firm.  But I learned. I learned that these incidental, accidental contacts can be very valuable.  So I started behaving in a way that increases the odds of these happy coincidences.  Meeting people for coffee, organizing lunch meetings, meeting with people in various cities when I travel, and making sure I meet with people outside my own business and my own industry. Also, being open to take meetings from people when I don’t see a direct relevance to my business.

On the whole, it has paid off handsomely.  At a minimum, I’ve become much better informed about Austin, about my industry, and about other people’s businesses.  At best, I’ve formed connections that will help BP3 and my own career for years to come.  I’ve certainly managed to hire some fantastic people on the basis of personal and professional connections made over coffee (and lunch).

So get out there and buy some coffee.

(disclosure: the author owns a few coffee-related stocks, and he is definitely talking up his own book! )

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