Friday, September 21, 2012

On Being Considerate / How to Raise Institutional Capital / The Lenox Hotel / Wear Your Music

Some friends of mine are seriously under consideration for new jobs.  And while each situation is unique the common thread seems to be how long it's taking for the employer to make a decision.  

When it comes to someone waiting to hear from a prospective employer (or recruiter), where there seems to be sincere interest (i.e. multiple interviews, asking someone to do a case study, etc.) I emplore you to put yourself in the shoes of the candidate and show consideration-keep them in the loop and, if it's decided that they are not the chosen one, tell them as soon as possible.  What if it was you?

"Why is it taking so long to get commitments?  When can we expect to have our first closing?  Isn't so-and-so having more success than us? What's the problem?"  To my fellow capital raisers out there-I bet you've never heard that from your boss, right?  

Don't take it personally; it's not about you.  It's about what is going on in the meeting rooms at the pension funds, endowments, foundations, consultants, rich people, very rich people, family offices, wealth management businesses, fund of funds and sovereign wealth funds (did I forget anyone?).  It's about them needing to be really, really sure that investing with you is better than, say, their money market account.  And, they're concerned about both the "now" and the "then." (I can't help inserting this piece of script from the movie Spaceballs): 

Dark Helmet: What the Hell am I looking at?! When does this happen in the movie?!

Col. Sandurz: Now! You're looking at "now," sir. Everything that happens now is happening "now."

Dark Helmet: What happened to "then?"

Col. Sandurz: We passed it.

Dark Helmet: When?

Col. Sandurz: Just now. We're at now "now."

Dark Helmet: Go back to "then."

Col. Sandurz: When?

Dark Helmet: Now.

Col. Sandurz: Now?!

Dark Helmet: Now!

Col. Sandurz: I can't.

Dark Helmet: Why?

Col. Sandurz: We missed it.

Dark Helmet: When?

Col. Sandurz: Just now.

Dark Helmet: When will "then" be "now?"

Col. Sandurz: Soon.

The "now" for your investors is current cash flow and the "then" is the 'pop' they will get when the property is sold. 

I coach my clients to never forget to put yourself in the shoes of the person across the table from them.  In addition to the other interpersonal skills necessary to be a good capital "closer" you need understanding, empathy and compassion and these traits may be needed now now than ever before.

Are there certain techniques that can be employed to hustle the process along?  Not any more.  But, if you are patient and asuming you have:

  • A good reputation
  • The right team
  • A good demonstratable track record
  • A smart strategy
  • Ability to execute
  • Some other investors committed 
  • Willingness to commit a meaningful amount of capital yourselves
  • Endorsement from one or more key consulting firms
  • Belong to the right 'club'
then, you have a fighting chance.

Advertisement:  "How To Raise Institutional Capital:  Soup to Nuts in One-Day" is a service offered by The Felix Consulting Group to (a) prepare you to raise institutional capital for the first time and (b) re-educate experienced investment managers that the world has changed and they need to change as well.  

Call me.  +1 707.260.4233.  Let's spend some time on the phone.  Tell me your story and together we'll be able to determine how you can benefit from us working together.

Cyndi Lauper story: Musician/Actress/Professional Wrestler Cyndi Lauper just had her memoirs published.  I went to her book signing event the other night; but I went with an ulterior motive.  One of my songs, "I'm Just A New York City Girl" is perfect for Cyndi to record and I couldn't figure out how to get it into her hands.  Well, the other night, I asked her and she said, "Give your CD to my manager" (who was standing over her right shoulder).  I did.  Hey, you never know.  I'll let you know if I hear from her.

Word of the week:  Spasibo (Russian for "Thank You.")

One of my favorite movie lines from "Let It Ride:" You may be walking around lucky and not even know it!

"Wear Your Music" turns old guitar strings  into handcrafted charity bracelets.  100% of the net profit goes to the charity of the artist's choice.  Launched in 2006, some of the artists who have contributed guitar strings are Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Metallica and John Mayer.  Last year the company donated $60,000 to such charities as Rock Camp for Girls-LA and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation-Doc Pomus (If you're not familiar with Doc please look him up!). Bracelet prices range from $100-250.  Very cool don't you think? 

Most excellent customer service experience in quite a while:  Lenox Hotel, Boston. Yesterday, I asked if they had a piano tucked away somewhere (I don't have a piano yet where I'm living).  They said, "Yes, we can bring it out to you!" So, in a few minutes, from some back room, came a nice Kawai upright into the meeting room where we're holding the RCA Breakfast Briefing this morning.  I played for several hours, going through my 'piano bar' set but also came up with a second verse to a song called "I Just Wanted to Get You to Love Me Again," which I've been working on for a few years. This is my first stay at The Lenox.  The staff here is sincerely friendly.  I will be back.

On the road (and other things)....
Sept. 25:  Benjamin & Edie's First Birthday (my grandchildren who were born at 2.5 pounds, who are doing just fine and who had their first b'day party last week at a neighborhood bar in Brooklyn!)
Oct. 3:  Kirkland & Ellis Real Estate Symposium, New York
Oct. 9:  The Bitter End in New York to see Shannon Corey perform.  I bought a digital piano from her some years back via Craigslist and have been a fan ever since.  
Oct. 14-16:  Chicago to attend and moderate a panel at the NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Fall Executive Meetings.
Oct. 17:  DePaul University, Chicago for the second stop on my road show of U.S. university real estate programs talking about: Careers in Real Estate-Connecting The Dots.
Oct. 18:  University of Chicago for the "Careers...." discussion
Oct. 22-24:  Los Angeles to attend the 22nd Annual PREA Investor Real Estate Conference
Oct. 25-26:  Amsterdam to attend and moderate a panel at the PERE Global Investor Forum
(t) Oct. 29-Nov.2:  The Netherlands to meet with Dutch capital sources and discuss my Dutch/U.S. Real Estate Trade Mission now scheduled for 1Q2013.  Stay tuned.
Nov. 7:  Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC for my "Careers...." discussion with students.
Nov. 8-9:  PERE Forum, New York where I will both moderate a panel and act as the 'chair' for Day 2. Maybe we should have a group drink on the night of Nov. 8.  Let me know if you plan to be at the event and/or in New York.

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