THE BUSINESS WORLD
In the movies, the business world is portrayed as a fast-paced, glamorous lifestyle typically taking place in a well-known city. The characters in these movies walk around in hundred dollar suites and overlook the city on the twentieth floor of their building. Prada and Gucci are the only shoes acceptable when working in this office, which the main character constantly stares at while answering phones in her cubicle like the hundreds of other employees around. The constant commotion of phones ringing off the hook, employees gossiping in the cubicles and business deals being negotiated in the corner come nowhere near to the deafening silence that occurs when the boss walks in the room.
About a month ago, this was my nineteen year old perception of the business world. Based upon the movies it is assumed upon entering the business world that the character answering the phones in a cubicle and staring at the Prada shoes was going to be me, at least for the first few years. After working at Purpose1 for only a short amount of time, I have learned a lot more about the business world than wearing fancy clothes, being confined to cubicles and working in large corporations.
Each business operates based on the employees that work within the company and the relationships that are established. From working at Purpose1, a small marketing and visual design firm, I have learned some of the many aspects for running a successful business with a small number of employees. This company does not portray the glamorous, fast-paced city life corporation of what the business world has been in my mind for so many years. It presents a more realistic and less frightening version. A group of people extremely dedicated to their individual jobs within the firm; a casual and very friendly atmosphere.
THE MILLION DOLLAR DEAL
The business world does not involve making million dollar deals outside the break room just in time for the boss to come and survey the progress. My experience with phone calls was a wake up call. About half (if not more) either hung up or responded that they did not want to do business with the company. I was surprised to experience this seeing how easy it looked. This was my first introduction into sales, and from what I’m learning, it’s going to take years to get used to.
Now take the characters in the movie and individualize them. No employee operates the same way as the others, and you are not going to make a connection with every person you meet. A big part of marketing is relating to the person who you are trying to work with or sell your products to. Purpose1 has taught me a great deal on networking to firms who have completely different personalities. The larger corporations may operate on a stricter schedule than smaller corporations, but it depends on the personalities and work mentality in the office. Some firms work better in casual atmospheres, some firms are detailed orientated, some firms are people oriented and some get the job done in ways I do not understand yet. What makes networking and marketing successful is the interactions involved with these individual firms and finding out who can relate to your purpose.
Finally there is the boss, the leader of the firm who everyone is trying to impress and get noticed by. Establishing a trustworthy and respectable relationship with your boss is one of the key insights for being successful and feeling valued in the workplace. Despite what the movies suggest, you cannot jump right into what the boss is doing once you make a good judgment. It takes years of practicing, failures and networking to become confident in building your network and your business. You need to learn the ins and outs of the business and all of the side work made possible to get the projects done. The finished products look great, but what most people do not realize is how long it takes to finalize the end result. Purpose1’s WoodMobile took almost half a year to create with more overtime hours than the employees would probably care to admit. Some of the simple tasks I have done involve steaming table throws, filling sand bags and taking adhesive off of banner bases. As glamorous as that sounds, it feels good to know it is a contribution to the business and helps to achieve success in the long run.
When you are nineteen and entering the business world for the first time, the best thing you can do is observe. Appreciate the side tasks that make the business possible, observe the interactions between the employees and customers, and gain insights on what makes a business successful and what needs improvement. From only being here for one month, I can honestly say that Purpose1 has thus far successfully involved me in being able to participate in the business world and this gives me hope for being successful in the future.