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The Value of an Introduction: Building Client Relationships through Networking

February 5, 2019 Startup Ecosystem
Nicol Pasuit portrait

One of the benefits of connecting with Ann Arbor SPARK is access to its network of businesses within the Ann Arbor region and beyond. Nicol Pasuit, CEO of TechStak, discovered the value of the SPARK network after two introductions paved a path to new client relationships.

Photo by Doug Coombe, Issue Media Group

Nicol founded TechStak to help small businesses outsource IT and tech services, such as website development, cybersecurity, software applications, and more. What differentiates TechStak from its competitors is its concierge-level customer service. For example, the TechStak team strives to go beyond the immediate need and uncover long-term goals and challenges. As a result, the company is able to tailor its recommendations, leading to the most efficient and effective use of valuable — and often limited — resources.

Even before TechStak was an Ann Arbor SPARK client and SPARK Central Innovation Center (SCIC) tenant, Nicol was familiar with the numerous events hosted there every month — from entrepreneurial educational programs and workshops to industry meetups and hackathons. All of these events are considered a valuable part of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and supported by Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA) funding.

It was during a SPARK marketing education workshop that Nicol met Amy Shovels, operations director for Zonya Health International. After the event, Amy reached out for help with Zonya Health’s effort to update its e-commerce platform. According to Nicol, “I immediately recalled Amy from the event, which really fostered the new client relationship and provided an element of confidence when beginning the project. We started at a higher trust level because we had an earlier interaction at a mutually beneficial event. It was naturally easier to build a relationship and start working together.” Read more about the Zonya Health project.

TechStak received another referral after Nicol shared her Entrepreneurial Boot Camp experience at the celebration event for another cohort. When one of the attendees heard about TechStak’s services, they connected Nicol with Alternatives in Psychological Consultation (APC), the company’s first out-of-state client. Read more about the APC project.

“Business networking is essential to growing your company because it not only allows you to reach targeted individuals, it also allows you to build visibility in your industry and your community to develop a reputation as a business of choice,” concluded Nicol. “Just keep in mind, successful business networking is about what you can do for someone else. It’s all about how you can help others solve a problem, so it’s important to shift your focus and your approach to building a level of trust.”