image of mouse surrounded by mouse traps

Choose your partners. Choose your life.

The mindset of the web is that if you build it, they will come. We’ll build the perfect mouse trap, perform the cool tricks, get their attention and they’ll respond. True enough.

But what if our model is significantly more intentional for now?

Instead, what if we flip it on its head and PURSUE the clients and customers we really want to work WITH and FOR, instead of seeing what our venus flytrap catches? That’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.

What are you trying to catch these days? Does it even want to be caught or would you be better off pursuing someone or something that will meet you in the middle and help you grow?

In the midst of customer relationship management tools that allow us to track every digital interaction with the brand to social media, web and email analytics, it is a question worth asking. Do you want to get what you can or pursue what you want? What if you were so good your clients had to apply and be chosen? What if you didn’t follow the pack but chose to be the leader of the pack, serving only the ones who are really invested?

Win-win still exists in this economy, and maybe even more so as public trust has eroded from our government, educational institutions and large corporations. (See Edelman trust barometer).

These are the questions I’m asking, in no small part, because of my acceptance into the Goldman Sachs 10KSB Entrepreneurship Program at Babson College. 80% of the business owners who apply are turned down. 20% are accepted. Goldman Sachs invests $50K in each scholar. Why? Before we arrive at Babson, they already know we’re the kind of people who will do the work and are worth investing in. The results speak for themselves, as the report Impact of 10KSB shows.

In just 18 months after completing the program, 76.0 percent of program graduates increased their revenues and 57.1 percent created new jobs, said Kerry Healey, President of Babson College, which is the academic partner of 10,000 Small Businesses. “The growth oriented, practical, peer-to-peer driven classroom experience, together with business support services, are driving participants to change their attitudes and business practices, helping them to achieve significant growth; growth that is critically important to strengthening the U.S. economy.”

Goldman Sachs knows that many of us are bootstrapping our operations, thereby limiting our growth potential. Nearly all of the growth over the last decade has come from small businesses, but the majority still have fewer than 5 employees (96%). Source: NASE

By training us in business fundamentals, they are investing in our growth, and therefore, the economic growth of our country. For VCs, angel investors and financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, they are also significantly lowering their risk, while simultaneously creating a pool of exceptionally strong candidates.

Notice how they did it, though. Goldman Sachs didn’t offer it to everyone. We were chosen. We applied, went through several interviews and signed paperwork agreeing to commit to seeing the program through and reporting on our results. They have a 99% graduation rate with proven results, including new product offerings, locations, job creation and revenue growth. Win-Win. The Cohort experience is second to none, as we are all soldiers in arms in this and support one another.

What if when you looked at your client list, you could say you had 99% successful completion of all projects with successful outcomes on all fronts? I’d like those bragging rights. And the thing is, I can have them. I just need to design it that way from the beginning.

Too often, we accept less and either don’t know or don’t want to do the hard work of being intentional about the outcome we’re seeking.

Steven Covey said it best when he said, “Begin with the end in mind.”

I would also add,

Choose your partners. Choose your life. Choose wisely.

#180in120 – The Choice is Yours – What will you do with the next 120 days? 

Laura Gallagher is founder and president of The Creative Company, Wisconsin’s leading PR and Digital Agency where missional leaders go when they need to build, grow or change their story. Clients experience a responsive, connected, creative and data centric results-oriented leadership team of marketing professionals who believe one person can change the world.

The Creative Company is certified by the State of Wisconsin as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise. Laura Gallagher was recognized by the Governor in June of 2016 as a Trailblazer in Wisconsin at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Her book #180in120 – How to Recharge Your Business in 120 Days is available on Amazon and at