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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 let their diverse customers know they want your business. It's changed the way that they actually operate.

Companies have better outcomes when they have more diverse inputs whether it's a supply base or employee base. Moreover, they have to continue to deliver value so they have to figure out how to get the best and the brightest. It does not matter where they come from; does not matter what part of the world they come from; does not matter what their background is. They need the best and the brightest and that includes us.

The issue that we run into, now that we've dispelled the myth that companies are not going to do business with us, is the second part.

What does it really take for us to change our mindset to say not only are we going to go after this business; not only do we have a shot at the big contracts, we can realistically win. We can get in there. We can do it.

Now, let's talk about this because we left this out in prior conversations and this is really important. The Women's Business Enterprise National Council, WBENC, published a report where they were able to conclusively show that not only for women owned businesses, but other minority businesses that upon getting a corporate contract with one of the largest companies, these companies, their members, the companies that were successful getting these contracts saw their growth increase by 266.7% in the next couple of following years.

You see Ford, Shell, Google, General Motors, General Electric, Walmart; you've got to book  business with them. How do you think the other customers you're going after are going to feel? what are they going to think when they see these are also your customers? If you're really talking about competing at the highest level, if you're really talking about making the difference that you went into business to make, if you're thinking about creating the financial independence for yourself or your family, making the difference in the community you wanted to make, being able to fund the other projects you want to fund, this is where you need to be.

You need to do what it takes to become successful, compete at the highest level and have that fund the other things you want to do, as well as enjoy the success of doing this all by itself. The other thing you want to keep in mind is there's no one source of innovation.

Corporations don't hold the key to everything. Corporations are left to their own devices. We love them; they do a fantastic service, but Facebook would have never existed with them, Dell would have never existed. Michael Dell started in his dorm room at the University of Texas. Zuckerberg started in his dorm room at MIT. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were in their garage.  We often forget that big corporations are nothing more than small businesses that did everything right.  They started just like us.

There's been major disruptive innovation that did not come from corporate America. That means that the disruptive innovation, the technology, the solutions that we offer, if we do the work, we can actually have those become household name brands for what we do. This opportunity is available to us.

The other issue which people say, "Well, Randall, corporations aren't looking for companies that do what I do. We'll never be successful in that market.  I am here to tell you that "They are  looking for everything.  They're looking for everybody. People ask me, "Well, who do you work with?" I respond, "I work with all types of companies, not just product, not just services not just those in specific industries."  The reason I work with companies from all backgrounds is because the principles of world class supply chain best practices are the same from one Fortune 500 company to the next.  If you are serious about being successful with these companies, you have to learn how your business supports these best practices. 

If you have a compelling business case and you know how to go in and talk about what your value is, you've done the work to make sure that you have a complete product offer. You've eliminated all your gaps and you're ready to show up to do the work to knock it out the park. A corporation wants to do business with you. They're going to find a place for you. They're going to see the innovation and the value. They're going to figure out how to get it in their organization. That's what they do. They're looking for folks like us that do this kind of thing.

I know people who have done all kinds of things; massage therapists, “trinket” makers that make those little promotional items. You'd be amazed at everything that corporations will buy. Don't sell yourself short. Don't automatically assume that they won't buy this; it's not going to happen. That's not true, they will buy it; you just have to make sure that they understand the value it's going to generate for them.

The only work that needs to be done is making sure you're ready for the opportunity. The kiss of death with corporations – and there are two of them: Number one: not being ready when the opportunity presents itself because you may not get a call back. The second one is when opportunity presents itself and your effort fails. Bad news travels fast in the corporate world. Contact Randall Dobbins - Business Partner Blueprint. Leave us any questions regarding other things you'd like for us to talk about.

For over 10 years Randall Dobbins, our President and Founder, has been instructing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) from around the world on what it really takes to be successful in contracting with the largest companies in the world. Not only teaching them what it takes to get contracts but what it really takes to compete at the highest levels. Thereby allowing this group of suppliers to enjoy the business success they hoped. He, too, is a business owner.


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