Middlemen Cutouts, Inclusions and Team Building

I have a saying. “I am never afraid to justify my seat at a table. Question why I am here and I will thoroughly prove my seat.” Sometimes there exist people at tables with no purpose. At times these people serve no purpose other than introductions. Often these people have limited technical skill sets. Many attempt to remove these people. Many will out maneuver, have side conversations and ultimately eliminate these people from contention.

Exclusion can sometimes be misinterpreted as a form of cutout.

Failure to properly identify a cutout in lieu of exclusion will be the reason why a middleman will not be paid by ethical people.

There are places for everyone. If you originate a phenomenal real estate developer but have no real estate backgrounds — do not involve yourself in the development team. At best unwise people will entrust activities you have little experience in. At worst you will utterly fail and lose money due to inexperience. There is a wise statement that traces its origins back to the city of Babylon.

“Gold Slippeth away from those that spend in romantic business fantasies or entrust it to those not skilled in its keep.”

Having no experience in an endeavor significantly increases the likelihood of failure. Novices perform amateur actions. Amateurs are not professionals. There is a reason why amateur boxers fight at least twenty fights before going professional. Lack of professionalism is ground zero for deal failure. The middleman is always entitled to “referral fees”. Despite the entitlement value often you will come across those that want more. These individuals romanticize about vast sums of wealth for relationships. Often these individuals wish to turn a life time of turmoil into a story of success.

Let us be clear on a very distinct difference.

Relationships are worth every dollar you pay even if it is half of all you earn.

Connections are worth the time one spent connecting.

The differences are vast. Dishonest or misleading people attempt to merge connections with relationships. Would you pay half of all you earn to a person who casually met someone at a social event to introduce you one week later? Would a person who has a connection have credibility to vouch for your character? Would a connection value the middleman’s affirmations for loyalty, duty, and character integrity?

The answer consists of one word…maybe.

Generally people do not trust the words of one that has not earned their trust. Good words from strangers assist the decision process. Good words from strangers do not determine the decision process. There is value for everything a person does. Any time spent is time valued. Everyone deserves something for their time. The difference between what is fair versus what is desired often has great disparity between each other.

So what do you do with a person who is social? What if you need social interactions to thrive but lack ability to do so yourself? Well that middleman might need to be on your team. If you include this person on your team the value of their connections might be worth half to you. The ability to include people rather than exclude people must have purpose.

There is no shame in explaining a lack of social skills is why your partner sits beside you.

Communication is the driving force of every deal that I get to the finish line. Without effective communication there can be no decision. Without decision there can be no action. Without action there is no deal. The point of this article is not to decide whether a middleman deserves a spot in a deal. The point of this article is to impart wisdom recognizing what all business people desire. The point is phrased in one simple business question.

Why you are here and what do you do for me?

It is simple. It is not offensive to ask the person that does nothing to leave. Understanding this basis is fundamental to building effective compensation models. The goal is to get paid. If you know you do nothing but know people ask for a referral agreement. These agreements exist. Sometimes the referral rates are very generous. If you have a professional skill set ask for a contracting agreement to perform services on clients you originate.

If you cannot clearly define your relationship before approaching someone with a connection you are a middleman.

Recognize your place will be put in jeopardy if you attempt to compensate yourself above referral rates. Individuals will attempt to oust you from participation. To avoid this situation obtain a referral agreement. If you have a professional service to offer solidify it in contract form. Spontaneous connections for a few hours work should be paid that. A few hours work. Don’t romanticize about unheard of sums due to a 2 hour conversation at the bar. It is unfair to the person receiving the connection and the only justification is greed. Keen business people will spot this out and loath your attempts to capitalize.

A large part of wisdom is knowledge of your position in conflict. All business is conflict. Never pick a fight from a bad position. The odds are always against you. People like that typically lose. Your job is to win. You have to win every month to make rent on the 1st. I win much more than I lose. Never forget that.


About Christopher: Christopher Knight Lopez is a Professional Entrepreneur. Christopher has opened over 7 businesses in his 14-year career. Christopher’s purpose is to take advantage of various market-driven opportunities. Christopher is a certified Master Project Manager (MPM) and Accredited Financial Analyst (AFA). Christopher previously held his Series 65 securities license. Christopher also has his General Lines — Life, Accident, Health & HMO. Christopher has managed a combined 286mm USD in reported Assets Under Management & Assets Under Advisement. Christopher has work experience in 29 countries, raised over 50mm USD for various businesses, and grossed over 7.5mm in his personal career. Christopher worked in the highly technical industries of: biotechnology, finance, securities, manufacturing, real estate, and residential mortgages. Christopher is a United States Air Force Veteran. Christopher has a passion for family, competitive sports, fishing, martial arts and advocacy for entrepreneurs. Christopher provides self-help classes for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Christopher’s passion to mentor comes from belief that entrepreneurs need guidance. The world is full of conflicting information about entrepreneur identity. See more at www.christopherklopez.com



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