St. Louis Business Secrets Revealed
by Julia Paulus and Jeremy Nulik
Business owners can’t afford to make mistakes. With everything on the line, time is almost more precious than money. While there are no shortcuts to effectively growing your business, these secrets will give you a great head-start. So, sit back and peruse the list. Use the decoder key to unlock new areas of revenue and gain inspiration. You need all the time you can get.
(Contact information for all of the secrets is located at the end of the article)
1. Shaun Hayes (meet with)
By co-founding Allegiant Bank, which merged with National City, this small-town boy has built a big-city network in St. Louis that you should tap into. And if you want a good laugh, just ask him to share his biggest mistakes.
2. The E-Myth Revisited (learn from)
Good news: You don’t need luck, brains or persistence to achieve success. You just need to get out of the way. Michael Gerber explains why you need to stop working in your business and start working on your business.
3. St. Louis Business Expo (be there)
Missouri’s largest business-to-business expo happens twice a year, and the brightest businesspeople in St. Louis come to connect and share ideas. Learn how to grow your business, go green, gain government contracts and much more.
4. Hatch (get together)
With the right environment, it is amazing what ideas can come to light. Hatch offers state-of-the-art equipment, from a client lounge and focus group rooms to meeting areas and a stainless steel kitchen. It encourages innovation—something you need to survive today’s economy.
5. LinkedIn (fresh trends)
You’ve been getting these emails, but you’re not sure what it’s all about. If you’re thinking that social networking is a trend that you can neatly avoid, then your business will suffer. Get LinkedIn. Find out who knows a guy who knows a guy who can help your business grow.
6. AAIM (join in)
Whom can you call for objective and inexpensive advice when you find out your best employee is using drugs? How can you write that email policy? Wish there were someone to call with tough human resources questions? Now there is. Training, consulting and just plain good people at AAIM.
7. Bill Collier (meet with)
Who says you can’t make a lot of money and have fun? Not this guy. He taught his employees to act like owners. They made more bank. Oh, and they had fun doing it.
8. Good to Great (learn from)
Sustained success is by far much more desirable than flashes of brilliance. In tracing what makes companies great, Jim Collins finds there is no silver bullet. The most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed. Find out how to be one. Read the book.
9. Networking Extravaganza (be there)
Too many networking events and so little time. Get all the contacts you will need at the Networking Extravaganza, a hodgepodge event hosted by nine St. Louis associations at the Cabanne House in Forest Park.
10. Foundry Art Centre (get together)
You know your company could use some artistic energy. Add some creative feel to your next employee powwow or celebration by hosting it at this restored train car factory.
11. Blogger.com (fresh trends)
There are several reasons that you haven’t blogged. Apathy or ignorance can no longer be one of them. Check out Blogger. If you can work your Word program, then you can blog. Give it a go. You’ll be amazed.
12. Yellow-Tie International (join in)
Give first. Give always. That is the karma-enhancing mantra of Yellow-Tie, a group of business development professionals leveraging the power of networking. Free networking events offer you powerful introductions.
13. Karen Hoffman (meet with)
Since the age of 5, we’ve been told to become the best and the brightest we can be. But lately you’ve been feeling a bit dim. Need more nurturing? Call on the Idea Coach to reach your full business potential.
14. 4-Hour Work Week (learn from)
Business owners often outsource payroll. Why stop there? Outsource your life, get more done and make more money. See how much business insight Timothy Ferriss has packed into 29 years.
15. IdeaBounce® (be there)
All the greatest ideas in the world mean nothing if they aren’t shared with someone. Many ideas have died. Don’t let this tragedy happen to yours. See whether they can stand up in a death match with other new and bright notions. Toughen them up.
16. Kemp Auto Museum (get together)
Find out what the business elite drove before the Great Depression at Kemp Auto Museum. Located in Chesterfield, it’s a perfect place to get potential investors and clients interested in your business.
17. Ruth Binger (meet with)
Worried about the economy? Well, stop. Ruth has ridden the economic roller coaster more than once. In fact, she has been helping entrepreneurs for over 25 years through CEO roundtables and business law advice.
18. eWomen Network (join in)
More women are going into business, and their companies are growing faster than those owned by men. There is business power in the female gender. Get to know female leaders at eWomen Network events.
19. KMOX Business Owner Speaker Series (be there)
Where else could you meet Tom Schlafly, Joe Edwards and Scott Mosby? Learn from and be inspired by St. Louis’ most influential and interesting entrepreneurs. It’s likely you have more in common with them than you think.
20. Scott Ginsberg’s Blog (learn from)
You know him. He’s that guy who is always surrounded by people at events. His customers are beating down his door. And it all seems so natural. Ever wanna be that guy? Now you can learn how.
21. LogMeIn.com (fresh trends)
You drove all the way home and forgot that presentation on your work computer. That’s alright because with LogMeIn, you can work on your work PC from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. Your delivery of the presentation is up to you.
22. ToastedRav.com (learn from)
You can’t run your business in a bubble. It’s time to get out there and meet your community. But where do you go? Toastedrav.com. This site even tastes like St. Louis.
23. Dick Sacks (meet with)
Starting a business was not your Plan A. But here is a guy who can teach you how to play by the Plan B rules. This author and small-business advocate hosts classes that prepare you for what you didn’t know you didn’t know.
24. Olivette Diner (get together)
This vintage diner will have you spelling “success” R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Nothing smells like money more than a slinger (if you are not hip to the lingo, a slinger is eggs, hash browns, hamburger, chili, cheese and onions … yeah, all on one plate). If you can find a seat for breakfast, then give your clients an authentic St. Louis dining experience.
25. American Marketing Association events (be there)
Between blogs and YouTube, your customers have a bigger voice than ever. This means you need to be aware of trends in marketing and how to get your voice heard. Learn all this and more at upcoming AMA events. Plus, the lunch is outstanding.
26. Peer Groups (join in)
Almost all successful entrepreneurs cite a group of their peers as being key to their success. If you find yourself running in a certain circle of folks between your vendors, customers or noncompeting business friends, then perhaps you should create your own peer advisory board. You’re an entrepreneur; start it up.
27. Pritchard Osbourne (meet with)
Midwestern values meet tough negotiating—that’s what describes this local firm. If you are looking to buy or sell a business, you need to talk with someone at Pritchard Osborne.
28. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (learn from)
Behind all successful business owners, there is a set of principles that ignores culture, pop psychology and current events. Learn those basic principles from Stephen Covey, the godfather of time management and leadership.
29. UHY Executive Briefing (be there)
The term “free” has a hard time of it in the business world. Most people think it means that what you’re getting is cheap or has no value. But the best things in business can be free for local entrepreneurs at UHY Executive Briefings. Free admission, great networking and helpful topics.
30. Cardinal Games (get together)
Even during a year when everybody counted the Cardinals out, our hometown team has come through with a great season. Take a nod from the team’s tenacity, and take your business contacts out for a game.
31. Schneithorst’s Restaurant (be there)
Willkommen to one of the best places you can be seen. Located in Frontenac and complete with a Biergarten and meeting rooms, this German-style restaurant is the place where business contacts happen.
32. Seth Godin’s Blog (learn from)
If you’re feeling intimidated by “new marketers,” then take heart. You are not alone. Seth’s insights will bring you up to speed on the latest and greatest ideas in marketing and customer service. There is a new consumer out there. Time to meet him on his playing field.
33. Don Barnes (meet with)
A scientific phenomenon, Don has found a way to be in five places at once. If you have networked in St. Louis, then you’ve seen him. And if you want to know the best way to network, then you should meet him. Oh, and he does free web consulting too.
34. St. Louis Idea Market (be there)
Think you could MacGyver a bridge together with four strangers out of toothpicks and marshmallows? Welcome to a different kind of networking—the intersection of brainstorming, collaboration, networking and happy hour.
35. Missouri Athletic Club (be there)
Becoming a member of the MAC means more than access to the clubhouses, seven golf courses, leagues and social programs. It means becoming part of a club made for the business elite in St. Louis. You never know who may be spotting you at the bench press.
36. Topgrading (learn from)
They should rename this book Hiring for Dummies. This is Bradford Smart’s HR guide to becoming an A player, recognizing those traits in others and encouraging them to stick around.
37. Business Networking International (join in)
If you are going to effectively network, then you might as well use a system that has worked for thousands of business owners. BNI offers a structured networking environment. Not sure which one to join? Just substitute for your member friends a few times.
38. Paperless Technology (fresh trends)
You don’t need no stinking papers. They’ve been crowding up your office anyway. It’s not as difficult as you think to make your company a little less flammable and a little more environmentally friendly. Less pulp means more green.
39. Tony’s (be there)
Tony’s is the decorated general of dining in downtown St. Louis. Your potential clients will be impressed, and your currents ones will thank you with more business.
40. Green Angels Cleaning Services (fresh trends)
Why are you still subjecting yourself to the ammonia-scented air? Does it feel cleaner or something? If you are tired of it, then give Stacey a call. She and her team will have your space clean with no odors that offend.
41. Kaldi’s in Chesterfield (be there)
This little coffee shop in the Valley is a veritable Who’s Who of West County business. Make sure your clothes are pressed and your belt matches your shoes because you will see at least five people you want to do business with.
42. Word of Mouth (fresh trends)
St. Louis is a small town. There is power in the words that your friends and enemies are saying about you and your company. You need to treat everyone as though they have the power to kill your company...because they do.
43. RCGA (join in)
It is in all of our interests to make St. Louis a better place to do business. Why not join with the companies, entrepreneurs and nonprofits that feel the same way? Get networked with the people who care. Get involved.
44. David Steward (learn from)
Your car gets repossessed, and several of your business ventures fail. You should give up now, right? Not if you can see beyond your circumstances. David allowed his strength and faith to guide him and created World Wide Technology, one of the country’s largest technology firms.
45. Frontier League Games (get together)
Hot dogs, beers and baseball. What could be more American? Get all the thrills of the big leagues without the steep price. Both the River City Rascals (O’Fallon, Mo.) and Gateway Grizzles (Sauget, Ill.) offer packages for business outings.
46. World Trade Center – St. Louis (meet with)
There are people who want to buy your product, and you don’t even need to know where they went to high school. More local entrepreneurs are going global. You can too.
47. Joe Edwards (learn from)
Imagine you banned two-thirds of your customers and received threats from the mob but you still managed to turn around your business and make the neighborhood wildly successful. Joe, the fuel behind the Delmar Loop, is an entrepreneur to learn from.
48. Dale Oestrich (meet with)
Think you have troubles? Seventy-one of Dale’s 92 couriers left after the Internal Revenue Service changed some employee policies. But he still made his business one of St. Louis’ most successful. So get to know Dale, the comeback entrepreneur.
49. Harry’s Restaurant and Bar (be there)
You don’t want to be a party planner. With Harry’s, you don’t have to be. Entertain a large group in one of the private rooms, and take the shuttle to the Cardinals game. Make a day’s worth of an impression on your clients, employees or friends.