These companies that turn leisure into a business accelerator

“Business as it should be”, or business as it should be done. This is the slogan of BigBoss, a meeting that has become essential for the main players in the French digital economy, which met from 10 to 12 May in Greece.

Six hundred people were gathered in a heavenly hotel complex with numerous swimming pools and a giant beach. Three planes were chartered to take them to this destination, which they knew nothing about before boarding. A DJ even joined the tour to bring the evenings to life to this business summit.

Because if they also had fun, attendees were welcome to do business, following a recipe developed by Hervé Bloch, the founder of this event, created in 2014 to connect service providers and decision makers: The BigBoss. Business leaders, including many representatives of CAC 40, spend at least 1 million euros a year on digital.

Symptom of time

On the weekend menu, first a giant speeddating session where the sponsors (who fund the event by paying an entry fee of 10,000 to 40,000 euros) in four hours chained around 27-minute interviews with bosses hoping to do. business.

During the four-hour speed dating, the professionals linked the seven-minute interviews./SAM
During the four-hour speed dating, the professionals linked the seven-minute interviews./SAM David Arous

Then most of the time was spent developing relationships at the water’s edge, on a boat or on skis for the winter version, this time in an alpine atmosphere. But always by responding to the aspirations of our time.

Hervé Bloch specifies that “if half of the generated business is created during meetings, the other half comes from those moments where we have fun, allowing us to get out of conventions and get to know each other better”.

“Having a good time together creates an environment characterized by trust. The best meetings are over a drink or on the slopes, ”says Samuel, a financier who accompanies collections and never misses an appointment.

The signer of the biggest deal from last winter’s edition, a contract worth almost 1 million euros, also owes a ride in the chairlift. “I was sitting next to the director of a company that had not wanted to hear about mine until now,” said the e-commerce software publisher. We discovered each other while skiing, and then had dinner together, and his negative fears turned into a positive feeling because we were no longer in a purely commercial perspective, but in affinity. »

“Disconnection increases our judgment”

Leaving the company’s formatted framework opens up new perspectives. It is also experimenting with The Galion Project, a think tank set up in 2015. This think tank brings together 250 business leaders who claim to be in hyper-growth and evolving into a world of new technologies.

They are passionate about kitesurfing and meet regularly to practice this gliding sport in sunny places, from Morocco to Brazil. With again an explicit leitmotif in English: “think and play” (“think and have fun”).

“It’s a way of escaping our daily lives, appreciates Sébastien, one of the founders. But it is not just a sports outing, for interruption increases our judgment. »

“Water puts everyone on the same level”

During each stay, themes are programmed to reflect on the issues that arise for each type of business. Each member also comes up with their own questions and goes from there enriched by the experiences of others.

“While I wait for the wind to pick up, I can learn that the creator of a reputable company may have run out of money and experienced failures before returning,” says Sébastien. “Water puts everyone on the same level, and although an entrepreneur is really very much alone, we want to share these concerns that prevent us from sleeping,” adds Arnaud, who is preparing to develop his activity internationally, with valuable beachside experience for his company.

Gastronomic dinners and economic conferences

Wine tasting is one
Wine tasting is a “public relations tool”, according to Wine & Business Club / Philippe Baudin founder David Arous

“A community is a real strength because it helps unite a group around common values ​​and tastes,” notes Thierry, Purchasing Director of a very large company. Between a tasting of the Sauternes and a talk of an exceptional year for Bordeaux, we meet him in another circle, the Wine & Business Club, whose sixteenth branch has just opened, in Cannes.

For its 1,500 members, mostly business executives, wine lovers, this club hosts monthly gourmet dinners prior to conferences on major financial issues, organized with humor and relaxation by founder Alain Marty. “Above all, it’s a public relations tool, like a box at the Stade de France, specifies the latter. For those who come up with the idea of ​​doing business, it does not work. But business is easier when you have a good night, where everyone is on familiar feed, so boxes are bought and sold and service providers find customers. “

Karim, who heads a commercial carrier and has been a diligent member for five years, confirms: “It is ideal for meeting people and maintaining a network. I do not get into prospecting mode, but it happens naturally because people are relaxed. And that’s how the best business is done. »

It’s not easy to have fun and make agreements: “A salesperson’s relational quality is especially put to the test at the edge of a swimming pool”, emphasizes the head of BigBoss, who emphasizes ensuring that each participant has some professional level combined with a spirit in line with the community he has formed. As at the Galion project and the Wine & Business Club, where we have also been able to transform the taste to combine business with pleasure into a thriving activity.

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