What your friends really say about you.

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You can usually tell a lot about someone - even if you have never met them - by looking at who they surround themselves with (or rather, who chooses to hang out with them).

When I say "hang out", I mean have a beer, or have lunch, but I also mean meet for early morning runs or choose to work together or attend each other's celebrations like birthdays or weddings or whatnot, or make a point to stay in touch in some way, shape or form on a consistent basis.

It occured to me last night, while at NGL's new digs party (NGL/Web Sales Tool recently moved to shwanky new offices in the center of Greenville and had a little shindig to share the joy with a few of their bestestest friends), that the folks at NGL and F360 have a lot of friends in common. Many of the people I like to hang out with - both professionally and just for fun - were there yesterday as well. At first, I attributed the coincidence to the fact that Greenville is a small town - and in many respects, it is... But it isn't that small. And the fact that so many of Greenville's cool up-and-coming peeps were there isn't much of a coincidence either.

By "up-and-coming peeps", I don't mean Greenville's high society. I don't mean the "official who's who" of the social register. I don't mean the second or third generation of Greenville's established social elite. I don't mean the capital behind most startups here. I mean the people who are the real future of Greenville. All pioneers in their own way. Entrepreneurs. Visionaries. The folks who know the other folks you've been looking forward to meet. All remarkably friendly and smart and engaging and true. There are no ulterior motives here. There is no posturing anywhere in sight. These aren't show-off or wannabes. They're the real deal. They didn't go to NGL's party because they wanted to "network" or be seen there or because it might help their bottom-line. They were there because they genuinely care for NGL and its people. Because they knew the crowd was going to be refreshingly pleasant and interesting. Because they like the folks at NGL and really wanted to hang out with them and show their support for the company's growth. That's why they gave up their evening workouts or a little bit of family time, or their business dinners to go hang out with Jeff, Kristin, and the rest of the NGL crew.

They're some of the best people you'll ever meet, really. (Heck, Orange Coat was there. 'Nuff said.)

If you could find a way to hire everyone at that party, you would have one of the best damn management/creative/strategic teams in the world. You and your company would be nigh unstoppable. Web design. Advertising. Brand management. Customer service. Tech support. Event planning. Design. Accounting. You name it.

My point is this: When you can't help but be overwhelmingly impressed not just with a company's work but also their inner circle of friends, fans and clients, what does that say about that company? What does that say about its people?




The best part of this whole deal is that if your circle is almost identical to their circle, then maybe you're doing a few things right yourself.

Just maybe.

And that's pretty exciting.

If you take any responsibility in your business' success - whether you are the CEO, a mid-level manager, or even an intern, being aware of who is in your company's inner circle shouldn't be something that you can afford to overlook. Throw a party once in a while - not just for your biggest clients and investors, but for everyone else you've touched as well. Customers. Clients. Neighbors. Friends of friends. Your personal trainer. The lady who catered your Christmas party last year. The guy who sweeps your floors. The dozen customers who bothered to fill out feedback forms at one of your retail outlets. The artists whose paintings adorn your lobby's walls. Your running buddies. Your accountants. Don't make it business. Make it a celebration of your place in their respective worlds, and their importance to yours. Invite them all... and then see who shows up and who doesn't. Watch how they interact with one another. Find out how many of these people already know each other - and don't be surprised if many of them do.

You'll find out pretty quickly what kind of company you are.

Your customers are a reflection of your brand in the same way that your friends are a reflection of who you are as a person. The company you keep says a lot about who you are... and who you aren't.

Always remember that.

Have a great Thursday, everyone. :)

PS - NGL is an occasional client of F360, but we were fans long before we ever got a chance to work together... so we would be singing their praises and congratulating them here even if they didn't sometimes write us checks and stuff.
PPS - That picture up there: NOT from the NGL party. (Just thought I'd mention that.)

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