When Allison Giddens pet-sat for Dennis as a teenager, she couldn’t have known that one day, she’d not only work for him but actually buy his business, Win-Tech. Allison’s story is not only entertaining but chock-full of insights and advice for anyone, particularly women, looking to make the move into shop ownership. Hers is a success story that has many more years left to it–and I’m excited to watch her trajectory.

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Why Allison is a woman in American manufacturing worth knowing

She knows “just enough to be dangerous,” and Allison is the ultimate example of creating your own destiny– she got her first job in manufacturing simply by calling her neighbor and telling him to hire her. Over the last 15 years, Allison has worked her way up by learning, doing, and thinking like an owner. Talk about manifesting!!

For anyone considering buying a shop, her advice is straightforward and direct– prioritize the relationship(s), use the help of experts (including lawyers), have a backup plan, and leverage your own value as a bargaining chip.

A surprising thing that came out of the conversation

There is good pizza in Georgia!!!

Also, she is a night owl and will sometimes work between the hours of 10:00 pm – 2:00 am to hammer through work. Then, she’ll be back at the office by 8:30 am the next day to get started again.

Key takeaway: Be empathetic

This was perhaps my favorite part of the conversation with Allison. She brought a very female skill and personality trait to the negotiating table, empathy. Empathy is likely a key reason the deal went through, and that everyone involved is happy and has maintained the prior relationships they valued. I think this is a sticky area for most — when it comes to important business decisions and investment transactions, we have an instinct to take the personal out of it. We make the other person or people on the other side of the bargaining table out to be unfeeling, only-care-about-money types of folks. This actually may be the worst way to approach conversations. By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, you can better understand what matters to them. Knowing what matters to them 1. May surprise you, 2. May give you power, and 3. Might help you make your offer more appealing.

This incredibly smart piece of advice reminds me of a book I read in business school called “Negotiation Genius”. I highly recommend it to any listeners and readers who want to improve their skills in this department!

Favorite Answer From Rapid Fire Questions

Of all the people in the world, she would like Gilbert Gottfried to join her in working at the shop. True. Story.

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