Human beings are social beings. We endeavor to create relations and feel that we belong somewhere. Andrew Machota the founder and CEO of New Town Connections has an organization that gives adults the opportunity to attend social events and make friends; something that is hard to do after school is over. He recently released a book titled Friend Request Accepted: Connecting in a Disconnected World and it shares the secret to how to make friends as an adult. He is a former businessman who left his job to begin this organization, which is based out of Tampa.
We had a chance to interview Andrew and asked about his story, how he started his business and the future of New Town Connections.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
The idea for New Town Connections (NTC) came from my own personal experiences of moving to various cities around the globe and having a hard time meeting other like-minded people. I tried online dating, playing intramural sports, volunteering, networking events, salsa dancing, and anything else you can think of to meet people. It wasn’t easy, for starters, and doing all those activities took a lot of time. On top of that, there was never any guarantee I’d make friends with others – basically it was a 50-50 chance that there would be other people I’d get along with at whatever social outing I was participating in. Eventually, I had met hundreds of others who felt the same way I did and that’s where the light bulb went off that I wasn’t the only one who was struggling to meet other like-minded people who had similar interests. And that’s when I quit my job as a CPA to start NTC.
How did you come up with your business name?
I sat down with one of my friends and wrote about 300 words on a big white board. Adjectives, verbs, nouns, and any word we could come up with that had to do with my business concept. We sat there for several hours and days piecing together the words until we found three words that fit my business – New Town Connections.
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
We take away the awkwardness of making new friends by hosting and running fun events/activities every week where people can be themselves and meet people in an organic manner. Because we curate the events and give introductions to our members, no one feels left out and since we’re not a networking group or dating service there is never any pressure to get a business card, talk about work, or wonder who’s single or not.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
We’re different in that we FaceTime/Skype all potential members who are looking to join the club. That’s our way of vetting our members, hearing their stories, and then applying what we learn about them to our events, so when they attend one of our functions we’re better able to introduce them to other members who share the same interests and values. We effectively become friend matchmakers at our events but in a natural way that feels like everyone has been friends for years.
Where do you see you business in the next 3-5 years?
By 2022, I expect New Town Connections to be in at least 50 cities in the US and on our way to launching overseas. I see and hear the need every day for people who are looking to make genuine friendships, and I have the utmost faith that we can take this business model to other markets to help other people via franchising.
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
Stop caring what other people think of you or what they say to you about your business. You’re your own person and you need to own it. If you want to be successful, you better believe in your company with absolute faith and keep on going no matter how hard the road becomes.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
Your purpose is greater than your passion. If you want to live a happy, successful, and fulfilled life, follow your purpose and believe in what you do. You must stay positive through the good times and bad times. If it were easy being an entrepreneur, everyone would be one. If you’re launching a new business idea, make sure you have a differentiator that sets your business apart from everyone else and is also very hard to duplicate. While we're working on getting New Town Connections to a city near you, you can check out my book “Friend Request Accepted: Connecting in a Disconnected World” to read some tips on how to connect with others.