Yes, You Should Take That Meeting with a Young Entrepreneur

Guest Blog – Nick Bayer of Saxbys

I take a lot of meetings. Many are with young entrepreneurs seeking advice. How can they get their businesses off the ground? What types of clients should they go after? Can I make some introductions for them? What philosophies guide my leadership and business strategies?

Although my schedule is jam-packed and these meetings don’t directly help me run my business, I always make the time. Plenty of people helped me when I was starting out, now I have to pay it forward. My motivation is a little bit selfish too — I want to cultivate a vibrant, collaborative business ecosystem in Philadelphia. It may be a bit of a tired refrain, but a rising tide really does lift all ships.

I remember meeting with a catering startup called LocalStove. It was run by two graduate students who found amazing local cooks willing to make meals in their kitchens and sell them for private events. I was happy to help get them connections around Philly and they even catered our holiday party that December. I couldn’t have been more proud when they sold to Hungry just two years later.

I’m not the reason they had a successful exit. They’re two smart, hard-working people with a terrific idea. But knowing that I had a small part in their success fills me with gratitude. Every business ecosystem needs success stories — and collaboration is a big way to propel that success.

My advice to businesspeople is simple. When someone asks for a meeting — take it. When someone asks for advice — give it. When they want a connection to someone in your network — hook them up. You’ve got to be helpful, especially in situations where it appears you’ll be getting nothing in return.

Remember what it was like when you were first starting out? Of course you do. So give someone a break (and a little advice). Not only will you learn something yourself, you’ll play a major role in giving your business ecosystem a shot in the arm.