For entrepreneurs that are hands on with their business development initiatives, it is important to know that the connections being made are actually genuine. It is easy for most entrepreneurs, especially novices, to get caught up in their own visions and forget the importance of delivering for their clients or consumers. However, at the root of it all, the greatest level of success can only be achieved if the exchanges that lead up to securing deals are heartfelt and not just about making the sale. There is an art to making connections, and the best connections help accelerate business in the long-term.
Relationships drive business, and forming solid connections will drive your business to success if you go about it strategically and in the right way. Entrepreneurship is more about building a sustainable business than inventing a product. It is also more about the quality of the execution of services, rather than the quality of the idea itself. The best leaders are the proactive leaders who go the extra mile to connect to their clients and customers in a deep and personal level, rather than making a quick exit or fading away once deals have been sealed.
These ideals are some of the many that make Steven Dorn, an entrepreneur, talent scout, and social media expert, stand out. Dorn is the Founder of music management and VC firm, XYZ Media, and he has consulted for countless high net worth individuals, athletes, and celebrities. He is credited for both discovering and kickstarting the career of Grammy-nominated R&B star, Bryson Tiller, and Yo Trane. He is also known for investing in and/or helping build artists that demonstrate true potential and drive, such as David Bowden (known professionally as Pink Sweat$.)
To add to its allure and exclusivity, XYZ Media broke the mold by electing to not develop any marketing collateral whatsoever. No, they do not have a website. Instead, Dorn and his team rely on word-of-mouth, and count on building authentic relationships through their work and in industry events to approach artists they find intriguing. “Meaningful connections are at the core of all I do,” says Dorn. “I believe that there has to be truth in the relationships that are being cultivated, whether it be personal or business. It is through these connections that new doors open to grant greater possibilities.”
Time is of the essence when it comes to networking, and Dorn leaves no room for small talk. “It’s not that I aim to get the most results with less effort. I put in a lot of effort, but only in the most meaningful and impactful ways for everyone involved.”
One glance through Dorn’s popular Instagram profile will show that he is extremely committed to attending industry events. And anyone who knows him is very well aware of the fact that there is a lot of work behind all the glitz and glamor that is portrayed. Dorn says, “I don’t just talk to people at these events. I thoroughly gauge and engage, not only at the business level, but at a deeper social level. When I see that there is potential for magic to be made, I explore ways to make use of my personal knowledge, strengths, expertise, existing relationships, and of course, my passion to be a part of the genesis for up and coming artists that are just a few degrees away from making it big.”
A few minutes into speaking with Dorn makes it clear that he is quick to shape the intent of his connections through his tone. He is heavy with his action verbs, and unleashes forward-moving velocity to simply cut through the noise to get things done. “I’m constantly connecting people for different business deals that make sense for them to work on together,” says Dorn. “It’s important to not only find common grounds, but also learn the things that we may not have in common. Doing so may uncover some vulnerabilities, but you know what? That’s perfectly okay! No one wants to work with a robot, and vulnerabilities bring the human element back in full circle.” Dorn makes it very clear that to him, it is far more powerful to really connect with a few key people than to skim the surface with many. He also doesn’t mindlessly make connections for the sake of making connections, he makes life-changing introductions which in turn act as a gateway to more great relationships that can be added to his people/investment portfolio.