My recent trip to Chicago got me to thinking about some of the business resources located right here in the Bay area. And so I decided to share a few tips on doing Business here in Northern California.
First, for those of you looking to do business here in San Francisco, there are a few things to keep in mind. As with Chicago, there are certain times of the year that I find better for doing business in the Bay Area than others. Although I love the City by the Bay I particularly enjoy it from April until the end of the year. There is something about the weather that makes it comforting and comfortable at the same time. Our winter is usually from Jan-March but can start early or drag on longer than usual as most San Franciscans can attest to. And while it never really gets very hot here we do get a few weeks out of the year where it actually reaches 90 degrees. It becomes even more so in the suburbs. The thing to remember is that while we are extremely professional, we do take a more laid back approach to conducting our day to day business activities. Being a San Franciscan means doing business a different way than the rest of the world. We are innovators, developing everything from business in Silicon Valley to a new renaissance of artist and writers. We are also known for having some of the best restaurants in the world. A few of my favorites for entertaining business colleagues for drinks or dinner include:
Crustacean – 1475 Polk St., San Francisco, CA
94109 (view map) Price range: $$$ ($30-45) Prices are per person offering some of the best seafood around.
Blupointe —239 Kearny San Francisco, Ca. 4108 415-986-4450 Between Bush and Sutter with another entrance located on Claude Lane. It is referred to as an "Oyster Bar" and in truth it is but it also has wonderful fried calamari, goat cheese pizza (try the smoked salmon pizza as well) and other reasonably priced goodies. The price range is around $20 for per entrée but truthfully I can make a meal on just the appetizers. They also have a wonderful happy hour thanks in part to its location in the financial district. A great place to network with other professionals
Mecca-2029 Market Street San Francisco, Ca. 415-621-7000. In truth this has to be one of my favorite restaurants offering a stylish, loft décor that has a very "New York" feel(very sophisticated). I launched my first book "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid Sized Firms" at Mecca and have since taken several clients there for drinks and dinner. I love their grits with shrimp dish. It´s an odd combination I know but trust me, it´s addictive. It´s pricey; about $20- $25.00 per entrée but you won´t be sorry. They also have a great happy hour and valet parking.
Want some traditional networking opportunities? Try these"?¦
Something to Share Business Resource Group- I would be remiss if I didn´t write about my own group. I started this group to help fill a void left by a still recovering economy. While the rest of the world is still recovering from an economic down turn, the bay area has sadly lost a great deal of our small businesses due to lack of business. My group specializes in providing networking opportunities for small to mid sized groups via target marketing. We give each attendee an opportunity to promote their services for 15-20 minutes in front of a targeted group of prospective customers. We meet once a month and are a small but growing group. It´s my small part to help growing businesses continue to grow. Contact me at the e-mail below for more info.
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce-Offering everything from directories like the Bay Area Biotech, New Residents Package and Small Business Start up Kit. It also hosts a monthly Business after Hours cocktail party at local restaurants for both members and non-members usually for about $25-35. Check out http://www.sfchamber.com/ for these and other networking opportunities.
SBA-Small Business Administration- A resource for new and established Bay Area businesses offering advice on everything from doing your taxes to obtaining a small business loan (the SBA does not give loans but the can put you in touch with financial institutions that do). Their free classes are wonderful networking opportunities.
San Francisco Book of Lists/Business Times/Crain´s-These multi-regional publications are the premier resource for generating prospects. Very popular in the Bay area, The San Francisco Business Times is a weekly business newspaper focusing on stories covering the top businesses in the area. Everything from graphic designers to philanthropists are spotlighted in this publication. I personally enjoy reading the articles covering the key executives and their companies. It´s a great way to get a more personalized view of a potential client. In addition, the publication also produces, "The List" which covers the top 25 companies in various industries. The listing offers the standard company name, address, phone number, but also lists the name of key executives, website addresses, number of employees and total revenue. Lastly, they publish an annual "Book of Lists" which is a more complete version of the weekly list but on a larger scale. Don´t live in the Bay area? No problem, check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what the local business newspaper is in your area. For example, Crain´s produces similar publications in Chicago, Detroit and other cities throughout the US. The cost for both the San Francisco Business Times and the annual Book of list is $89.00 for a 1 year subscription. Be sure to ask about any discounts or special offers they may offer (I currently offer gift certificates for discounts on subscriptions for attendees of my workshops). Be sure to attend their networking functions as well. Very stylish.
I hope these resources will help make your stay in the Bay Area not only enjoyable but profitable as well. Let me know if you make it to San Francisco and I will be happy to offer other resources that may be of use to you. In the meantime keep reading this column for other useful tips for doing business in the Bay Area.
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column ,please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com