“One should always consider: ‘What is the worst that could happen, and how likely is that?’”
Meeting with a busy person is a challenge. And while we can’t give you the secret handshake that will land you a meeting with Sheryl Sandberg (there’s a secret handshake, right?) we can dole out tips and tricks that will get you in the door with someone high-ranking who has the potential to advance your career.
GET IN TOUCH WITH THEIR ASSISTANT FIRST
There are some who claim that a cold call or cold email shows bold initiative. And sometimes when the work powers that be are acting in your favor, a cold email will launch your career in a way you can’t imagine. There are always outliers.
Case in point: Jaclyn Johnson CEO and Founder of Create & Cultivate cold emailed Garance Doré, and she responded and then spoke at C & C Chicago. You never know what will happen until you put yourself out in the universe. But if after a cold email and a follow-up you’re still not getting anything, you should try a new road before either A. giving up or B. hounding someone to the point where they will never meet with you.
When you are just getting started don’t assume that you are the exception. Assume you are the rule. (That’s not to say you shouldn’t be confident. There is a difference.)
Most busy people will not appreciate you clogging up their inbox. It’s not uncommon for a CEO to receive 1000+ emails a day, and wading through those can feel like water torture.
Think of the assistant as St. Peter at the Gates. You’re not getting in unless you make good with Pete. Many CEOs and executives will have their assistants linked to their inbox. Meeting with them could be a great inroad. Offer to take them to coffee or lunch. Ask for 15 minutes of their time before you try and meet with their boss. Assistants are overworked, overtired, and often under appreciated. Get on their good side and it just might land you on their employer’s schedule.
SKIP THE STANDARD COLD CALL/EMAIL VERNACULAR
There is a story in Silicon Valley about Tristan Walker, who recently raised $24 million for personal care products for POC. Before branching out on his own as CEO of Walker and Company, he worked for Foursquare. A job he got from cold emailing the founders eight times. Two years after landing the position, Walker posted the correspondence that landed him a meeting on his blog. You can read it here. There were many, including IA Ventures’ Ben Siscovick who said that “if you are outside StartupLand looking to get in, read this then read it again – this is how it’s done.”
However, despite his success, Walker’s original email is exactly what we would warn against. There is passion in his voice, yes, but he notes nothing concrete that he would bring to the Foursquare team. It worked for Walker, but in most cases, this will not work.
Don’t tell a company how awesome they are. Don’t tell someone you’re “hungry.” In a few short sentences you should be able to explain exactly what you can bring to the table. Be as specific as possible.
For example, if you want to meet with the CEO of a marketing company, convey in two sentences how you’ve helped another company grow, or an idea you had for a client that performed on social well. When applicable, give stats.
IF YOU’RE ASKING FOR THE MEETING, YOU COME TO THEM
This is really simple. Don’t ask someone to coffee and then suggest a place to meet.
Bring them coffee. Show up where they are and make it easy.
BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL
Come with questions. If person X is giving you 15 minutes of their time you should be prepared to make use of every. single. second.
I recently had someone tell me, “I have three.” As in minutes. You better believe that I wrote down what I needed and made those three minutes count. If you waste three minutes of someone’s time, you can be sure that they won’t give you ten in the future.
You don’t need to print out your resume— honestly, it’s a little dated and most people are more interested in getting a read on you, not reading what you print on paper.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE
If you shake their hand and walk out of the office thanking them for their time— you’ve biffed it.
LEAVE WITH NEXT STEPS. Let’s repeat that. LEAVE WITH NEXT STEPS. Ask for something concrete that you can do that A. keeps you in contact and B. is actionable for you.
You’re not taking a meeting to schmooze, you’re taking a meeting to move the needle on your career. So move it.
ONCE YOU’VE LEFT
Don't ghost. Follow up. Send a thank you. Pro tip: Send a thank you with cupcakes for the office. Or send something that says, I paid attention to what you said, and I’m working to take the next steps.
MORE FROM OUR BLOG
Having practiced law within the creative industries for a number of years, I’m rarely shocked when an individual tells me that they work free-lance and have been operating without a company. That being said, there’s never a better time than now to take action! If you are individual considering starting your own company or already have a business that you operate in your personal name, the single most important first step in building a foundation for your business is choosing the proper entity. Having a good attorney and and new, easy-to-use accounting software for small businesses, makes the entire process a cinch.
As you probably know, perhaps the most popular form of business entity today is the limited liability company. However, various alternatives exist that are all worth considering. Incorporating a business, whether in one form or another, is an effective way for entities to insulate owners from personal liability, facilitate management of the business, benefit from numerous tax advantages and even take on investors.
This article sets forth the basic considerations for limited liability companies and corporations, and provides some preliminary guidance to help you as you begin planning for the growth of your business.
The corporation is one of the oldest and most recognized form of legal entity. Most states have an abundance of well-established laws governing the formation of and operation of a corporation. Corporations are generally favored by investors and companies with a large number of shareholders. Corporations are allowed an unlimited number of shares, shareholders and can even create different classes of ownership or “stock”. Furthermore, growing companies looking to go public or take on significant angel or venture capital investors, owners should be aware that only corporations are eligible for initial public offerings.
Growing companies looking to go public or take on significant angel or venture capital investors, owners should be aware that only corporations are eligible for initial public offerings.
Corporations, like limited liability companies, are entities which separate from their owners. Owners or “stockholders” of a corporation are generally not liable for the debts and obligations of the corporation. The incorporation process begins with the filing of the entity’s Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and requires registration in any state where it is conducting business. Following filing and registration, the Board of Directors must hold an Organizational Meeting where the Board will select officers, adopt bylaws, and conduct other appropriate business.
Most states do not have rules that require a minimum number of owners that a corporations must have, but rather a single person is capable of being the director, officer, and shareholder of the company. Corporations have a three-tiered management structure. Officers, who run the day to day operations of the company report to the Directors, who are responsible for overseeing the fundamental decisions. Directors act in the interest in of the stockholders in overseeing fundamental business decisions. Different classes of stock (i.e. common and preferred) and voting rights for each class, are generally set forth in the corporations Shareholder’s Agreement, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, to which all the shareholders are bound. It is important to note that all decision making between the directors, officers, and shareholders may be modified by a Shareholder’s Agreement. Shareholders’ Agreements can also provide for a number of other complex rights and restrictions on ownership of the Company, but we’ll save some of the more complex matters for another article.
Generally, we refer to plain, vanilla corporations as “C-Corp”. What many entrepreneurs don’t know is that corporations can elect taxation under Subchapter-S of the Internal Revenue Code (creating what’s called an “S-Corp”). A corporation that does not elect S-Corp status is taxed separately from its owners, typically between 20 and 40 percent on its net income, which takes into account state franchise taxes assessed to the corporation. When a corporation decides to issue dividends to its owners, each dividend is subject to taxation as well, which is why these entities are often referred to as “double-taxed.”
What many entrepreneurs don’t know is that corporations can elect taxation under Subchapter-S of the Internal Revenue Code (creating what’s called an “S-Corp”).
However, a corporation may avoid the “double-tax” by filing as an S corporation. Similar to partnerships, S corporations are pass-through entities that do not pay income taxes at the corporate level, but only at the individual owner’s level when income is allocated among owners. In order to qualify as an S corporation, there can be no more than 100 shareholders, all shareholders must be individuals and generally must be U.S. Citizens or Green Card holders.
The Limited Liability Company
In recent years, the development of the limited liability company (“LLC”) has changed how many business are structured. The LLC is a hybrid legal entity that adopts many of the features of the corporation as well as traditional rules regarding partnerships. The LLC is becoming increasingly popular because it offers limited liability to its members for all of the LLC’s obligations as well as tremendous flexibility in its ownership structure.
LLCs are formed by filing the Articles of Organization with the state in which the LLC does business, which include similar information to a corporation’s Articles of Incorporation. Due to the fact that the laws surrounding LLCs are not as developed as corporation rules, most states require that LLC’s have Operating Agreement. An Operating Agreement is signed by an LLC’s owners or “members”, is drafted to structure an LLC’s financial and functional decisions and provide rules and regulations governing the transfer of ownership, addition of new owners, tax rules and decision making authority. Additionally, the Operating Agreement outlines how profits and losses will be distributed and how and when meetings will take place, and govern succession planning, such as procedures agreed upon for buying out or transferring ownership interests when members leave the LLC. Unlike corporations, LLCs do not have a formal management structure and can tailor their Operating Agreements to fit the business’s organizational needs. An LLC can have different classes of members making the business form flexible in management, financing, and operational aspects. A properly tailored Operating Agreement can save a lot of headaches in the future.
What many people do not know, is that the LLC, unlike the corporation, is the most flexible entity for tax purposes and may elect to be taxed as a corporation, an S-Corp or as a partnership. By default, LLCs are taxed as a partnership (unless another election is made). Accordingly, all profits and losses of the partners in a partnership.
In many states, owners of an LLC with more than one member are granted certain additional protections from creditors. Some states like Delaware, afford the same protection to single Member limited liability companies.
All in all, entity selection and tax election are issues that are unique to every business. These choices will not only help starting your business on the right foot, but will pave the way for future success. We always recommend speaking with an attorney to help guide you through the process. DiSchino & Company offers flat fee packages to help get your business off the ground. We specialize in corporate and intellectual property law and cater to companies of all shapes and sizes in the fashion, arts, design, hospitality, food and beverage and tech industries.
Christopher Dischino leads Dischino & Company, a Miami-based law firm that provides legal advice and strategic consulting for the modern business, the entrepreneur, the free-thinker and those looking for something outside the box. With a knack for the creative and an entrepreneurial attitude, Christopher specializes in business law, intellectual property and corporate transactions, assisting private clients and corporate entities to establish and expand their businesses domestically and abroad. His experience allows him to create value for his clients by using resourceful structuring techniques to help minimize unnecessary costs and risks. Get more info on Christopher and his law firm here.
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