Thursday, January 10, 2013

Startup advice delivered by Pillow Logistics

One of the great things about being involved with the Business Ownership Initiative and Julie Grice, our executive director, is the great contacts I make.  Wednesday night I sat down with George Pillow, founder of Pillow Logistics.  An Indianapolis business success story.

After a couple+ beers I don't trust my memory to recall everything he said, but here is the gist of it - like getting an MBA in a bar (which happened to be The Columbia Club!)

Accounting.  You must understand numbers.  On your feet in front of a customer and with your accountant, bankers, employees and alone when you are thinking about what to do next.

Networking.  You must constantly make connections and seek relationships that can spread your message.

Marketing/Communications/Sales.  You must learned how to speak with everyone from the board room to the shipping dock.  The first impression you make is what you say and how you say it so don't blow it.

Friendship.  You must adopt a curiosity about people and friendliness that deepens the relationships you share.  While I was sitting with George he made a point of greeting every person in the room by name.  Dale Carnegie said: "There is nothing so sweet as the sound of a person's name to them."  In a competitive world of noise and distraction you need more friends to amplify your results.

George acknowledged the help of many mentors.  Among them Mickey Maurer, Cambridge Capital Partners and Jean Wojtowicz in particular.  He also the critical importance of the small business loan provided by Lynx Capital to get him started.

Finally, despite his success, George remains humble.  He said there is always something to learn, thanks to be paid to someone who helped and gratitude acknowledged for the community which makes personal success possible.  Most of all George told me, he credits his mother for the guidance and counsel that got him through the hardest times.

We all start small - and if we grow up tall it's most likely due to the care and nurturing of our first friend: our Mother.  George said that his Mother was his best friend.