In my prior legal career, my first big client was a mid cap pharmaceutical company. Their general counsel had been an attorney at a large, New York law firm and, though I put forth a compelling proposal in response to his RFP, I was sure he was going to pick one of those firms to represent him on his real estate matters. Shortly after he hired me, we went out to dinner. I asked him why he chose me instead of one of the large, New York firms. His answer was interesting; he said he knew I was a very good lawyer, and that was important, however, more importantly, he knew he would not only be one of my biggest clients, but that he would also be my first big client. This gave him the comfort of knowing that he would always get my full attention and loyalty. If he went to a larger firm, he’d be just another one of the scores of medium sized clients serviced by that firm. In sum, he didn’t just want a good lawyer, he wanted to feel special and be treated like an important client.
Growing up in the business world in the 1980s, I saw the “IBM effect” in action many times as smaller, fledgling entrepreneurial firms struggled to capture a share of the technology market in the shadow of Big Blue. Choosing IBM for your computers and software was considered the safest choice, after all “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”. However, the smaller, more nimble technology firms slowly gained a foothold as they found customers who wanted a better experience. Bigger wasn’t necessarily better; safer wasn’t necessarily smarter. Many companies found that they got better, more responsive service and more creative solutions from the smaller firms. Slowly, David began to slay Goliath and, in some cases, David became Goliath because consumers were willing to open their minds and accept that big things could come in little packages.
As a small, entrepreneurial firm, we compete with the world’s largest commercial brokerage firms on a daily basis. We were not always thought of as the safest choice, however, here we are, after only 15 years, running some of the largest, most complex deals in the Tri State area for many of the most respected companies in the country. While we could pat ourselves on the back for our success, in the end, it’s the clients who support fledgling companies like us in our infancy who deserve most of the credit. They took a chance on us because they saw something different; a value add that was worth betting on even if we weren’t initially the obvious choice. These unique companies are the lifeblood of entrepreneurs and we are thankful that they are visionaries and willing to take the road less traveled.
Starting a company is certainly risky and rewarding; but believing in someone else can be just as difficult. As we mark the end of our 15th year with the opening of our second office, it seemed like a good time to sit back, reflect and thank our clients. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes it’s about being special.
For more information contact Glenn Blumenfeld