Welcome. My name is Cristen, co-founder of Company V. And this is the story of how it all began.
Back in 2007 Ike was working for a payroll company. I sold insurance and investment products.
We were not alone; the market was saturated. B2B meetings just weren’t productive or even enjoyable.
Years before the phrase “relationship marketing” came into vogue, we were looking for ways to connect with clients and other business people in more meaningful ways.
I had been involved with several business leads groups over the years and was looking to join another. Ike too was interested.
Our business relationship goes way back- over thirtyfive years back in fact. Ike’s business acumen and leadership helped propel me to the top sales position in my grade school.
Ike was my first business mentor; he is also my father.
I cut my sales teeth selling ceramic bells door to door as a six year old. Then came shampoos. In sixth grade it was Girl Scout cookies.
Regardless of the product it was always the same. Ike stood far back on the sidewalk while I pitched the product:
“Hi. My name is Cristen. How are you this evening?”
“Do you have a moment?”
“My name is Cristen; I am a student at Buckner Academy. We are selling (bells, shampoo, etc.) to raise money for our school.”
The conversation would proceed based on their responses and I often walked away having added money to the school’s coffers.
When the next fundraiser rolled around Ike would once again coach me. We would set out into the neighborhood together-always visiting the homes of previous customers first, but only those that matched the customer profile for a particular item. Single bald men got skipped for shampoo but were visited with cookie offers. Grandmothers loved the ceramic bells. And the best shampoo customer was a woman who owned a Great Dane. She preferred strawberry, although whether it was the owner’s preference or the dog’s was unclear.
For me it was a powerful lesson in sales and those experiences planted the seed of relationship marketing.
There were a number of repeat customers who were happy to see this father-daughter team.
The Creation of Company V
And so, in 2007 when I got that glimmer in my eye, Dad knew what I was thinking–we should team up once again.
Dad had himself already been forming similar thoughts. He had a rough idea for a virtual company. He called it Company V. And although the idea was not fully fleshed, he had already purchased a domain name and a logo had been created. It was a great start.
For several weeks we roughed out a vision for our new business leads group, based on their previous marketing experiences, my Toastmasters International experience and our passion for creating community wherever we went (a vital skill developed over many years of active duty military life).
We created a local leads group that encouraged participation by offering weekly meetings with a focus on business and leadership development, sales training and regular opportunities for each business person to present to the group.
We were more concerned with creating a group that would market for each other and increase exposure for all members than we were about a group that did business exclusively with one another.
Company V Closes
The economic downturn resulted in a drop in business for most members of the group in spite of everyone’s best efforts and support. Several members took other jobs, moved or closed their doors.
I decided it was time to go back to school. Dad left the payroll company. Everyone seemed to have moved on.
But for me the vision lingered.
The Grand Re-opening of Company V
Fast forward to 2014. Dad is once again working for a relatively new business doing what he loves, software and process development. He builds and creates.
I personally cannot escape the entrepreneurial spirit, and am doing what I have dreamed of doing for most of my adult life. I coach, I strategize, and I write.
And once again I have that glimmer in my eye.
Ike’s Company V is an idea that’s time has come. The virtual nature of marketing today, with its emphasis on content and relationship and the extension of local communities into global networks, makes the vision that Dad had, a perfect fit.
The website, which was never part of the original framework, can now be used to full effect. And the relationships and networks that we have formed all over the country can benefit, and be benefitted by, the resurrection of this dynamic business leads group.
We welcome you to the new and improved Company V!
Now it is true, my heart go a bit mushy when it comes to my family. And it may even be said that in many respects my father and I are the same person in two bodies- a generation and a gender apart. But we are also business associates and for us, Company V is an extension of our businesses not our family status. Company V is a business group with a family feel.
Welcome to the family of business!