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To make deals, focus on what’s important

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, is seven years into his second career as a business partner across many industries. His advice to entrepreneurs is to look for growth sectors, and he acknowledges that his main strength is, “I do deals.”

Here’s how Johnson assesses what he brings to the table. He says four factors drive people to make deals with him:
  1. Reputation. “If I go into business with Bob Johnson, everybody is going to look at me and say, ‘That’s a pretty smart deal,’ so I’m going to get validated.”

  2. Substance. “The second thing they are going to say is, ‘This guy is coming into the deal with his own money, so he’s bringing the same kind of value equation that I am. So I’m not necessarily doing something out of the goodness of my heart. This is a business deal.’ ”

  3. Network. He has proven that he can attract talented people who create economic returns.

  4. Social dividends. He is a minority, for which we can get political, social and moral benefit.
Example: After Johnson had served on the board of Hilton Hotels for 12 years, the CEO approached him and asked if he’d considered owning hotels. Johnson had not, but the two put together a deal for six hotels because the chief executive felt Johnson had what it takes. Now, among other ventures, Johnson owns more than 100 Hilton and Marriott hotels.

Bottom line: Focusing on core strengths brings value to the table.

—Adapted from “Bob Johnson’s Second Act,” Derek Dingle, Black Enterprise.

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