For the first five years following college and armed with a degree in hospitality management, I was a Purchasing Agent in hotels, including Opryland Hotel, Callaway Gardens, and Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. If you ate it, drank it, wrote with it, or slept on it, I bought it! Research was critical, and I’ve always been good at finding a source. The hotel, and particularly the chef, relied on my abilities to track down the best product at the least cost (translates to optimum value). Today, for me, design is no different. Every design professional is only as good as their resources.
As a speaker and author, I am constantly on the look out for new resources to build my platform. This includes resources that can produce product for me, services that can video and photograph, talent that can edit and format, and much more. I never stop looking because as fast as technology is changing, the next best provider may be around the corner. Don’t get lazy and set in your ways, it will cost you too much.
Any professional is only as good as their Rolodex, though in this day and age it may be phrased as their Blackberry. Yet so few seem to be versed in the art of the hunt and will sooner default to “ I don’t know how to do that, I don’t have a source for that, I can’t find it.” Wow, this is so short sighted in the information age. With the advent of the internet, you can find everything and anything. I guarantee it – so does Google and Yahoo!
Even with my coaching clients, I find that often they want to give up quickly when faced with needing a new resource for either a service or a product. I then ask them where else can they look? How can they dig deeper? Often it is one more connection away. If it is a service, sometimes checking local universities and colleges for part time talent can be a cost effective answer, or even tapping Craig’s List or eLance.com. Get outside of your own circle, and stretch yourself. Without the needed service provider or product sought you won’t achieve the goal you have set. Ask, ask, and ask again. Tell everyone you come into contact with what you are looking for, ask for their recommendation. Some of us are natural connectors and will do whatever we can to connect you closer to your goal. Others will shrug their shoulders and say “I don’t know.” Remember to say to yourself “next” and move on.
The next essential in finding key service providers and product resources is building the relationship. Stay tuned for next week’s tips on making the most of the connections that you have, the lost art of thank you and more.