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About 70 attendees participated in a structured, rotating, speed-dating style networking session on Sunday, Nov. 8, at Harrah’s Atlantic City. We’ll do this again at a future LCT event.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — As I introduced the first-ever B4 Business Networking session, I compared it to using the popular dating website, Match.com. This lighthearted session was limited to operators who took a seat at a small table opposite another operator to talk for two minutes.
Each party was given a 60-second window to share information about the area their company served, fleet size, length of time in business or any other details. At the end of the timed discussion, I sounded a cow bell and shouted out, “ROTATE,” and one person would follow an arrow on the table and move on to the next person.
I liked the comparisons to the dating website and how it resembles connecting operators in the room together. I explained the goal of the one-and-a-half-hour session was to build solid new relationships based on honesty and that were free from exaggeration. I quipped that people posting photos on match.com are prone to using glamour shot photos “taken in 1994, when in reality, they look nothing like that photo today.”
“When they say they have a super fun personality, it usually means they are 400 pounds of fun personality,” I joked, comparing this to operators exaggerating their fleet sizes or stating they operate 24/7 when they really send incoming phones calls to voicemail at 3:30 am. “You simply cannot build a solid relationship with anyone based on lies.”
Size Doesn’t Matter
In a comical analogy, I told the rotating networkers that “size really doesn’t matter as long as you are truthful about your size up front.” National statistics show the average fleet size of all legitimate limousine services in the U.S. is about 10 vehicles.
“Small operators have an average fleet size of five vehicles, while large operators average about 87 vehicles,” I told the participants sitting at a sea of round tables for two. This helped put operators at ease who may feel like a very small fish in a large tank. In reality, only a handful of companies operate major fleets with hundreds of vehicles. Even more uncommon are companies that maintain offices in multiple cities. Even rarer are companies with operations and offices in multiple countries. In most cases, the “backbone of the networks” consists of small operators serving the big networks in their small corners of the world.