By Todd Kinney
When I attended my first ACG event about a decade ago, I was new to business development within an accounting firm. I had spent the prior decade as an investment banker and decided to change career tracks to focus on business development in order to get a better control over my work/life balance.
As a banker, I lived in the office – others told me what to do, as well as when I could come and go. As a business development guy, my original game plan was to spend most days making dozens of cold calls a day to CFOs and Tax Directors, which was an honorable (but tiring) process that I did not want to continue for the next 20 years.
I decided to attend my first ACG New York event to branch out and start building a network of other dealmakers that could eventually become a referral network.
Fast-forward 10 years and who would have known where ACG would take me! This network of more than a thousand dealmakers has been referring me business – investors, bankers, lenders and lawyers. Prior to attending ACG events, 90 percent of my leads came though cold calls. These days, 90 percent of my new business comes via very warm referrals from contacts who I’ve met at ACG events.
This kind of networking doesn’t happen overnight, but steady event attendance and getting involved with ACG committees such have really grown my personal visibility as well as my firm’s brand in the middle market.
Bottom line for me: anyone looking to build out their professional network with value-add decision makers and referral sources should spend some time frequenting ACG events.
Todd Kinney is the Director of Business Development at BDO as well as Executive Vice-President of ACG New York.