It pays to be nice to your neighbors. When Darren Gardner moved into new office space to start his equipment-leasing company, Alliance Capital, in Los Angeles, he wandered around the building introducing himself to his neighbors. As it turned out, one of them needed a new phone system, some computers, and office furniture. That $25,000 deal was his company's first. And when Alliance Capital moved into a new building last year, it got at least one new customer using the same method. "There's something to be said for working with a company down the hall," Gardner says. "It lends some credibility." The method is cost-effective, too, he notes. "It doesn't even cost a stamp."

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