“If you had one wish, what would it be? Who would you want your biggest customer to be?”

Asks Mark Richmond, strategic business introductions specialist, founder and CEO of MR Connects. While networking may seem easy for some, making effective and long-lasting business connections is certainly not. That’s where Mark’s expertise comes in as he introduces compatible businesses to each other and helps cultivate their mutually beneficial relationships.

A lifelong Chicago entrepreneur, Mark brings a bevy of contacts and industry expertise to ensure mutually beneficial deals for all parties. He admits he often thinks outside of the box, not only when deciding which businesses to connect, but also when ensuring that personalities align, or even when taking the room’s temperature.

Mark’s approach proved to be extremely fruitful over the years. One of his biggest ventures,  PowerDecal, was showcased on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank.” Initially picked by the famed “Shark,” Daymond John, the deal fell through owing to its insufficient manufacturing, licensing, and marketing potential.

PowerDecal got a second life when Mark worked out a licensing deal with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, allowing the sports emblem company to be sold and promoted worldwide. Afterterward, Mark took a second swim with the “Sharks” and won Daymond back who helped promote and grow the brand. Soon after, PowerDecal became a household name sold at major online retailers and big-box stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, and other sporting goods shops nationwide. Without Mark’s expertise, PowerDecal would have never realized its true potential.  

Mark attributes his success to his ability to always remain impartial and straightforward with all the parties involved, offering his unique and objective perspective and advisory services along the way to guarantee that business partners reach the best-possible outcome.

“Any business deal has to work for all parties and can never be one-sided. It's got to work for all parties. I always tell them: there's a party of three, it’s a chain. And for it to be effective, it cannot get broken,” he says.

Mark advocates that relationships are critical to the ongoing success of any business, and while they take time and effort to form, they can be broken fast. His advice to build trust!  Always deliver on what you’ve promised and don’t be afraid to share the bad news as things can quickly take a turn for the better!

“I can earn trust only by delivering what I'm supposed to deliver. Over the last few decades of my career, I’ve always kept my promises, big or small. An opportunity to deliver is an opportunity to build trust and relationships for years to come. I have also always told my clients when there’s something that cannot be done. A realistic ‘no’ is often a better answer than an empty ‘yes’,” he says.

When looking back at his distinguished career that spans decades and countless structured deals and strategic introductions, Mark confesses that he has always enjoyed putting people together and seeing all parties succeed.

He vividly remembers the very first time when he fostered a successful business introduction, a memory that dates back to 1992. That year, after seeing a unique business opportunity and not shying away from cold pitching it to top executives, Mark was able to structure a deal with Montgomery Ward to hire his client and friend, NBA legend Scottie Pippen, for a multi-year deal to become the spokesperson for “Electric Avenue,” the former retail giant’s Appliance and Electronic retail division.

Mark maintains friendships with Pippen and Daymond to this day and capitalizes on decades of building everlasting connections and delivering innovative solutions to help companies succeed through MR Connects. He is currently seeking new clients and is available for marketing and promotional consultations.