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Business as Usual....!

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Time to get serious...!

Posted by infopsr on February 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (709)

Done with the certifications? Time to get serious about capturing the market. The certifications will continue to come up, but after a few basic certifications, one should move all their focus on marketing the business. Start attending all the conferences, pre bid meetings. Meet the prospective Clients. Try to get under the wings of bigger businesses. It is very difficult to start off yourself, though not impossible, but as they say, get some experience first, especially if you are new in the market. See how the market works, how one get most out of market’s behavior.

This is the most important and time consuming part. One has to be very vigilant about the time. Try to get several appointments in a day. Make most of it, do not waste your time. Like they say, bearing the child is the easy part, raising the child according to the expectations is the difficult part. This is the time to raise the business, and this time will reflect your future standing in the market. One make market aware that they exist, build their credibility, learn from others, make other companies who have been in the market for a long time, be your mentor, and I tell you they would be more than happy to help you out, guide you, because right now your business is not the threat to them, rather they can benefit from you. For example, let’s say your company is HUB certified or Women Business Certified. A big company bids for some project, only to find out they have to have either this number of Women Business Certified Company, or may be HUB certified company. Now they find that they are few less of these certified companies, so if you are under their wings, they will put you on their sub’s list. So never leave any opportunity thinking it might not work. Don’t argue with yourself, let them say “NO”, because then there is a chance of saying “YES” too. As the first rule of negotiation, “you don’t ask you don’t get”.

Whenever I introduce my company to anyone, I tell them “I am looking for small contracts.” Here is an important thing to be noted, never say “we are not looking for big projects, we are looking for small contracts” this would give the other person a negative vibe that they are not ready to accept the challenges. Always try to keep the conversation in the positive mode. Recently I happened to attend a pre bid meeting. A high level personnel asked me, “is a one million project is big for you or small?” to think about it, for a startup business, it sound pretty big, but my reply was, “it depends, if you give me a project and tell me to manage everything, it’s a small project for us, as at the end of the day, I will get 15% or maximum 20% out of it, but if you give me the project as a work, it will be rather big for us”.

Make yourself visible in the market as well as to the people, don’t hesitate to ask and never think you can’t do it. Keep these things in mind and you will be home.


Multi-Tasking Person

Posted by infopsr on December 4, 2012 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (4787)

Life becomes a roller coaster once you enter the business world. It's a life style totally different from any other way of life. When I was far away from this kind of life, and people from business world would say I have this meeting, I have to attend that seminar, I forgot to have my lunch today, I am too busy to fit such and such things in my schedule, the general impression was "ah, show off", but now since I am getting into this situation, I realize how truthful those people were....and I am just at the level of setting up/starting the business.

I think women have a better chance to become a good business person. Reason I am saying that is because God has created women a multi task person. They are more capable of handling multiple things at a time, and business needs that kind of skill and dedication. They are more capable of understanding people. I strongly recommend women out there to go into Business, rather than look for a job. It is so very satisfying that you are powerful enough to handle totally different aspects of life at any given time.

I consider myself lucky being a woman and that I have some experience with the people of several different ethnicities/ countries. I find it very strange that generally if you talk to the people they are very courteous to you, till you tell them your need. Usually first you will get “can’t be done", then discouraged to your core and then you will be convinced that your approach is wrong. I f you need to get something out of these people, you have to convince them. On the other hand here in the US, as soon as you tell them what your need is they would whole heatedly be ready to help you, guide you, offer their help in the future too, and I personally think that is one huge reason of the US prosperity in today's world.

I went to attend the prospect contractors meeting/networking. When you are in disadvantage small business, people are very open and welcoming, offering all kinds of help and assistance to you, but they can do only so much, at the end of the day it's your baby, and you have to take care of it.


Networking & Negotiating

Posted by infopsr on November 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1610)

Networking and Negotiation are the most powerful business tools. Somebody once said ,“In business you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate”. 

When I first started my business, most of the people suggested that I should register my company here, look for contracts in Govt. etc. I happened to attended a discussion & networking session arranged by the "Score" there I had the opportunity to meet some of the people who either worked or are working for the Govt. they also gave me the same speech....get yourself registered here, take that and that on and so forth. There was one person who's suggestion appealed to me. He said, my dear, you should get yourself registered with the concerned govt. offices, but that will take you up to the office building, to get inside you will need someone who can open the door enough for you to get your foot there. Once you are at the doorway, it's on your negotiation skills how to get/convince the concerned party and to put the first rule of negotiation in place, “You don’t ask, you don’t get”! You have to be a bit of extrovert to be a good negotiator, and that is the key to the success. From that point on things would be pretty much in your hands. You are home. Face the reality, to get into the boundary you need certifications & registrations, but to get inside you need someone from inside, and someone inside would be found through networking!

Every day we learn new things, provided we want to learn. I see networking is going on everywhere, not only in the business culture but in the social circles too. People tend to use their social network for the business and vice versa.

 Recently I happened to attend the NED Eng. University Reunion/Convention. People meeting their old class mates, friends....foe! The amazing thing was everybody was trying to either restore or make new contacts. Here again networking was in play. I am having the feeling that everyone in this world, has one main objective..... networking. Networking has become so essential in our everyday life that we should not ignore it. Your success or failures are driven by your networking skills. It's networking that takes you from earth to straight up to the sky.


Challenges in setting up and running the Business

Posted by infopsr on October 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (14446)

Nowadays getting a job is a big challenge, and retaining it is an even bigger challenge. You are either being crushed by nepotism or any of the thousand and one reasons (which can't be explained).

Going through the process of registering business is like 1-2-3 but challenges arise when you actually enter the game.

To setup and start a business, the first & most important step is for you to decide what you want to do; whether you have a related skill or not (it's always good to have some experience in the field).

When I decided what I wanted to do, the first thing I did before registering the business was to go and meet with the people at Score. This is a free Business Relation Service group of nationwide volunteers who have been in different industries or have their own business. They guide you right from your decision of a particular business to how to register and discuss what could be the pitfalls or good ideas. You can call them, set up an appointment and ask them any questions you may have. They will advise you on marketing, finances and other government or private sector business-related queries. But remember one things, its your business and you will be responsible for all the decisions you will take.

Next you should have a Business Plan; another very important aspect of any business. It helps you to see what your goal is, helps you to focus

how can you work towards it. You can make Business Plan yourself or you can search for free, online templates, etc. Basically, the Business Plan will  help you analyze your financial situation. It‟s a key thing when you start a small business. keep your expenses minimized,only spend on what is necessary for the business. For example, registering the business will incur a necessary fee but getting a paid email address will not be a good idea (since you can get a free one). You don't want to spend extra before you start generating any revenue.

If you have a particular ethnicity or you are a woman, register your business in the minority category. Being a minority business, you will have many advantages. Here in the US, local and minority businesses are given preference in some areas, and, by law, firms are obligated to set aside contracts for small and minority businesses. It would give you a chance to compete against a smaller number of businesses.

Now that you have set up your business, you need clients. This is where Marketing comes into play. You can do cold calling,

leaflets, advertisement and word of mouth, etc. However, the best bet would be "Networking" and “PR” (public relations). If you are in

the food or fashion industry, you might have a place or shop. People would stop there and buy the stuff. Other businesses like Construction and Service Industry, businesses need a lot of Networking, PR and word of mouth. Some forms of Marketing can be used in all kinds of businesses but basically, your business type will determine which kind of marketing would work for you.

Now we come to the Second most important part: actually getting the business.

(A real eye opener) You have set up your business properly and you have everything in place. You go to a big company to get some contract and the first blow you get from them would be, “Sorry, you have no previous experience.” Now your immediate reply would be, “How can I get experience without work?” and the answer would be, “Yes, that is a very difficult and a tricky situation but you see we already have contractors who are giving us good services. Why don‟t you get such-and-such certificate, and then we will see what we can do about it, or maybe go to second tier or third tier companies.     

This is the reality on the ground. Most of the big companies who talk about promoting small local businesses or minority businesses will treat you like that, but you have to be persistent. Don‟t give up, keep asking them. It takes time but the reward is so much greater than the effort you put in! Once you get even a small break, consider it as if you have hit the Jackpot because that will open the doors to success for you.