Like I said in my intro, integrateIT is about to enter its 8th year of business (crazy still for me to believe) and just now am I at the point where we are confident in who we are and what we can offer to a big company when we partner with them.
In our first few years of business I used to send off an email to a Business Development guy/girl at a company like SAIC, CACI, BAE, KPMG, BAH etc and just hope they read the email before deleting it. If they DID actually read the email and for some reason wanted to meet with me, I would walk into a meeting with them thinking to myself “why in the world would these people want to talk to me let alone do business with me”. Now after we have proven that we are capable of doing a good job on a proposal and following through on the work that comes after an award it has hit me….the people we work with at these companies need us. Without good partners they are nothing. Most of the companies they work with are small companies and they LOVE to work with companies that know what they are doing and don’t cause them extra work (or get their proposals thrown out for non compliance).They love to add companies that have a niche that adds to their overall story they are trying to tell their customer and so having a niche (Project Management expertise for us) is great to get you in the door. Also, once a big company finds a small company they enjoyed working with they will bring you along for the ride on future work. Just recently we closed our first partnership with KPMG (a major accomplishment). We did a great job on that proposal and a few months later we were sent a new teaming agreement for follow on work without ever asking us if we were even interested in teaming with them. 5 years ago if someone told me this would happen I would have laughed at them. My co owner David Baldini said the other night and I couldn’t agree more….”Just get us in the door to meet with them and we will close the deal”. The reason he says that and I totally feel that way as well is not because we are cocky, rather it’s because our passion shines through. Think about it, the people you are working with at these large companies don’t own the company, they could quite frankly care less how they grow and unless they own shares they don’t even really care how they perform. But as a small business owner, your company is your life. You LOVE this company like it’s one of your kids. You would do anything to see it succeed and that shines through when you talk about it. People often ask me about my company and apologize for bothering me or taking up my time. It’s funny because my response to them is “don’t be silly..I could talk about my company all day”. I really mean that. I could talk about integrateIT all day long. I am so passionate about the company that I started 7 years ago and have grown (with much help) into something I am so proud of that it HAS to shine through to the people that we do business with.
I truly feel that when you are passionate about your company that those around you can’t help but be drawn in and want to become a part of it. This is especially true when you are recruiting. Think about it, when you go for a job interview you usually meet with a recruiter. This recruiter is paid the same salary no matter how many people they recruit and they have no stake in the company. Compare that with when you as a small business owner recruit someone. That enthusiasm is contagious and anyone looking for a new job can’t help but be excited to work for a company like that. If you are a small business owner you need to be passionate about what you are a part of and you need to make sure that passion shines through. It’s something you can offer that the big companies can’t!