Johannes (Hans) is a friend of mine. I’ve known him my entire career.
We’d met during his reign as a celebrated owner of the local patisserie, Hans had one and all visiting for a weekend treat, or brunch stop.
That was in my old home town of Sydney, Hans lived there for around 18 years before meeting a young lady from Chicago, someone who he knew was Mrs Right!
So it was that off to the USA went Hans, there to meet the father of Susan, to do the ‘right thing,’ asking for her hand in marriage.
At the time, Susan’s family were in charge of Chicago’s eminently successful law practice, so when Hans turned up, seeking to ‘join the family,’ questions were asked:
“I mean, after all, who was this oddball anyway? How does a pastry-cook fit into the family business, the circle?”
I know what you are thinking, I could definitely see benefits!
Susan and Hans persisted and family saw reason, Sue and Hans began to make plans to marry. Although … business came first as prospective father-in-law wished to introduce Hans to one or two in his ‘network.’
“Let’s see if we can get you into management,” he says.
So comes the day, Hans was introduced to the local fraternity, it was a regular ‘thing’ and while Hans was not averse to meeting a diverse range of people, this new regime was going to take some getting used to. After all, he was from the catering trade and just now, looking for a job!
After a few months getting to know his new connections, patiently mixing in ‘certain circles,’ he met someone from a distinctly similar background.
‘Hi, I’m in the catering industry and looking to bolster the local sales team. Are you interested?’
It wasn’t long before Hans found himself with a job, the firm he had joined producing stainless cookware and his role found him responsible for developing more local sales.
The story goes that Hans is some twelve months into the new job and finding it tough going until he attended yet another trade fair where he met a buyer for a particular fast-food chain. The buyer was interested in what Hans had to offer and so they set up an appointment which led to the provision of cookware and kitchen utensils for their particular local market.
From the local market, the client expanded, asking Hans and his firm to provide for the entire North Americas, soon after came the European marketplace and ultimately Hans was providing for the client’s entire global outlets.
Hans, (Global Sales Director by now) and his team began to prosper for over the next 20 years, as preferred supplier, they were to provide stainless steel products for McDonalds restaurants.
Luck? Right time, right place? I’d suggest that luck comes to everyone through determination, hard work, ‘being there’ for your contacts and a solid reputation.
Networking works, if you work at it.