Many years ago, I was in a meeting at Philadelphia City Hall. It was a meeting of the Mayor’s Business Action Team and some local entrepreneurs. The Mayor’s team wanted to help businesses grow and asked our advice. We talked about taxes, job creation and a range of big issues.
At the end of the meeting, I asked the Mayor’s team if they could help me out. Everyone paused to see what I would say, given no one else was asking for anything. I talked about the neighborhood where our business was located. We were a startup growing from cash flow, so our offices weren’t fancy. In fact, we were one block from high-rise housing projects. Occasionally we’d find abandoned cars completely stripped down outside our office – the cars were on cement blocks; not even the tires were left. Sometimes there were also strange people wandering around. It didn’t bother most of the 60+ employees we had at the time or me, but our clients and partners were often horrified. We had big companies like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google who were afraid to visit. Microsoft even had a policy that a sales visit to our office required two people.
I asked the Mayor’s team if they could help, and they said “yes.” They offered that anytime we were having important meetings, we could call and they’d send in tow trucks and the police to clean up the neighborhood. How awesome and surprising that a big city’s government would do this. And, it was a huge help for us.
Don’t be afraid to ask for something. You’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
What do you think? Any examples, you’d like to share?