In 1920, the US government banned the sale of liquor to stem family violence and political corruption. This ban continued till 1933, and during the interim 13 years flourished a plethora of underground pubs. The Speakeasies were secret places with an unpretentious exterior almost hidden from public eye. The police were in cahoots with the bar owners so the secret entrance was a secret known by all. You would enter a decrepit building through a door with broken panes winding through an unlit corridor and just when it seemed unending you turn into a den of busy drinkers.

Last year, I was in Montreal, Canada, for the CorporateConnections™ global conference when a local member invited us for a drink. We would have almost walked past the entrance had not our friend paused to lead the way into a dimly lit passage, and before our eyes got accustomed to the darkness, we stumbled into a fully-lit plush pub filled to the hilt with noisy tourists reliving history. Modern Speakeasies abound in central Montreal and cater not just to nostalgic historians but also the local folks who revel in the mystery rooms.

We are used to bars and clubs with flashy neon lights shouting for attention when there exists Speakeasies that serve the same purpose but with discreet entrances and unpretentious exteriors. And here lies some wisdom. They fulfill a core need of their customers, and the customers find them out, through word of mouth.

A business to thrive needs a good word of mouth publicity which is only possible through loyal clients who refer you because you fulfill their needs to their expectations and sometimes beyond. When I look at the success of E-Movers and Leather Doctor, my group companies, I realize that we are a lot like the Speakeasy. We meet a core need exceptionally well and our business thrives on word of mouth publicity.

I am starting the CorporateConnections™ chapter in Dubai and hope that we fulfill a core need of business leaders wanting to grow business. I hope that good word of mouth referrals helps CorporateConnections™ to establish multiple chapters in UAE.

We are enlisting members of equal stature and size so that the inherent value they build will help each other to grow exponentially. To an outsider, watching from the glass doors of a meeting room, the huddle of our members may seem uninteresting, but something great is brewing inside.

Your service is the core value of your organization and not the fancy board outside. You can scream at the top of your voice, but business will grow only with repeat customers and their referrals.

I don’t preach that you go to Speakeasies, but there is a lesson to be learned there.

Just in case you happen to go to Montreal, here’s a helpful link.