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Getting Business in Person

Today, we're going to discuss the secret to getting business at conferences, expos, meet-and-greets, any place where you are at forums where you get a chance to interact with representatives from corporations for some of the largest companies.
          How many of you can identify with going to these events, walking up and down the hallways in these big convention centers, being excited about being able to get your product out there and let folks know about your wares? And you end up leaving and reflecting back on the day and saying, "Well, I got the website from 20 other companies, and I can fill out the supplier database, put my information in their supplier database, and when there's an opportunity, they'll reach out to me because I made such a connection with them."
          Or they took your business card and said, "We'll have somebody follow up with you." Or you got the business card of everybody at the booth saying, "Hey, I just need …
Recent posts

The Big Lie

The big lie is that large corporations don't want to do business with diverse companies which then leads to the second big lie, “I can't be successful selling to them. They're not looking to do business with me.” A couple of things we have to wrap our mind around in this space is that large corporations have to continue to be innovative.
They have to come up with new ideas; do things that haven't been done before. Those new ideas don't come from one monolithic group. Those ideas come from a lot of different people. Those ideas come from a number of different places.
We've come to see that companies that have the most diverse employee base and the most diverse supply base have better outcomes. This is important because companies became sensitive to women issues over time. They've become more sensitive to minority community issues. They've become more sensitive to LGBTQ issues and to veteran issues. It's changed the way they go to market and how they l…

Total Cost of Ownership

Did you know most corporations don’t just buy on price?

They typically buy on the total cost of a business; from cradle to grave.
Let’s say the US government is looking for a copier and the market value $100. Your copier costs $91. Your competitor chooses to sell for $80. In the end the business selling at $80 is going to win the contract bid. This is a "competing on price" situation.
Using the same numbers above, you hear that the US government instead chooses a business selling copiers at $105. You’re thinking to yourself, “what the heck, my copiers are $14 cheaper per unit,” which is true.
But that’s not how a corporation sees it. They look at all related expenses: What is the annual cost of supplies, toner, paper?What is the annual cost of maintenance?The repair cost if a unit is damaged?The number of hours that they're onsite? The cost of having the copier not operate?What is the cost of employees having to travel back and forth to the copier?Will the lifetime usage of…

Now is the Time for Diverse Busines Owners

What is a relevant event going on today that relates to what we do? Did you notice where there was an article that said 175 of the United States' top CEOs are committed to a pledge promoting more diversity and inclusion in their organizations? Did you see where congress is now considering trying to bring in two, three, four billion dollars of money, part off-shore, back into the United States? 
Did you pay attention to the current hiring that's going on in the United States? Are you noticing just the amount of pressure that is going on about how corporate spending is not current or related to the community that they serve? Or that the amount of money, their customer base, the communities that they operate in - meaning that 90% of the dollars that they spend with their suppliers is with companies that don't look like the markets that the companies serve or the customers that buy from them? 
There are several different processes going on that just make it clearer and clearer e…

Diversity vs minority owned; what's the difference?

A question that comes up frequently is, “What's the difference between diversity versus minority owned business?”
In the United States, minorities are African-American or Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Indian-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans. In other countries, such as South Africa, it means something slightly different. In Australia, New Zealand, it means something different. In Canada, it means something different. 

In general, minorities, as a group, are country-specific and are considered to be underserved when compared to the majority.
Originally women were lumped in with this group, which confused many people. They were eventually classified as a specific group so people understood women were a minority group. To avoid confusion, we identified women as Women Business Enterprises to distinguish this group from Minority Business Enterprises. You've probably heard of acronyms such as MBE/WBE or M/WBE to indicate these two distinct groups.
As we've evolved, we'v…

The #1 Rule to Landing a Corporate Contract

My entire professional career was based around designing, negotiating, implementing and managing strategic alliances.

I did this from all three sides of the table:  as buyer, seller and minority business owner.  

I started my career doing research for Shell Oil Company and eventually moved up to supply chain management work. Here I negotiated strategic alliances with some of the largest suppliers in the world. 

You see, in the world of corporate, strategic alliances are tightly integrated relationships where resources are invested by both companies. The partnership allows for both businesses to prosper - clearly, a key component of the revenue driver, cost drivers or profitability.   In 2004, I decided to leave my corporate career and start my own company. I decided I was going to approach a friend of mine, who happened to be a supplier diversity manager, about doing a contract with her company (mind you, this company is and was one of the top five largest oil and gas companies in the wor…