Time To Start Something New
From what I understand, there are quite a few businesses around the site of the World Trade Center’s infamous destruction. Right now, to a lot of people’s sensibilities, Muslims don’t belong within two city blocks of the place. Ever since the news that an Islamic community center wants to go up in the old Burlington Coat Factory building in downtown Manhattan, some people have gone very politically incorrect over the whole matter. People are so upset about the Muslims in our midst because the hijackers that wreaked havoc that day were Muslims. Now, many people are ready to judge the rest as unworthy of our rights until they prove they are worthy of our rights by acquiescing to our collecting condemnation and moving that planned center elsewhere. According to some people, the area commonly referred to ground zero is considered to holy to allow just any Muslim there.
To me, the term holy is pretty strong. It denotes something sacred and held in high regard. When I hear that somebody holds some ground holy it means that it should be above any contamination
It’s been more than two months since I left my last job. And although there have been a few leads about opportunities that I feel are perfect matches to my skill set, for whatever reason may be a job never materializes. It’s a bit frustrating when you know that you are the best candidate for the job. But somebody chooses to pass on you for someone else. Me being a black man with an awareness of all the disparity that faces the black community, I would be lying if I said I didn’t think racism played a factor. If only I could eliminate the racism factor when looking for a job.
Frustrated with my lack of viable employment prospects I decided to try something else. The misses and I have bounced around the idea about using this time of unemployment to start something of our own. But neither one of us had much experience with starting a business.
We went to seek help from one of the local business incubators. We had been thinking that we could go into the computer repair business. The misses has a lot of experience in computer hardware and networking issues. I thought I might be able to assist her in getting customers and managing her work load. She’s taken care of a few people who had nothing but problems with the service they got from the Geek Squad. Corrupt hard drives and the complete restoration and recovery of files are her specialties. We thought we could start a business focusing on residential customers.
My skills were limited to the development and maintenance of business database applications. But with so many consulting companies catering to companies in the area we really didn’t think there was much of a chance of us making much headway into this market. If I couldn’t sell myself in a job interview then what chance did I have of selling my services in a business pitch?
We thought we should go into the residential computer repair business. We wanted help in the development of our business plan, help in developing a marketing strategy, help in understanding in developing a focus on our target market, and all the standard stuff people think of when they don’t have a clue as to what their doing and want help developing a plan to do it.
The counselor at the business incubator was a no-nonsense retired business man. He listened to our plan to do computer repair and helped us see exactly what we were getting into. We needed money just to advertise and lure customers to our business. We had to develop a plan to steal customers from other service providers. We needed to understand our competition so that we could beat them to the marketplace. We needed to understand our customers so that we could better provide for their needs.
We sat with that guy for more than an hour. And after listening to our spiel the retired business consultant convinced us that we’re not ready for the computer repair business. Surprisingly, he suggested that we go back into database development. Without any experience in the information technology business, this guy broke it down for us in simple terms. There are websites already devoted to helping companies find people to work on software projects. People write proposals and bid on projects. Why not start there?
Why not indeed!
That was last week. We spent the weekend putting together a profile and a website. We went to the bookstore and did a little research on what would be the best book to buy for writing business proposals, came home, and bought the book we liked best from a used book retailer on Amazon. Our book hasn’t arrived just yet, but while perusing the Rent-A-Coder website we found an article giving us a few tips about writing business winning proposals. It was good to see that we had already put most of the suggestions in place. I guess it was our natural business acumen. But there were still many helpful tips for us to put in place.
The bottom line is that we have launched our business. We have yet to win an opportunity. But one of our proposals caught the attention of a company in Singapore and they’ve asked us to take a closer look at their processes in order to better assess their need. If the way they responded to our contact is any indication, I’m guessing that other proposals talked about a complete change of their database platform. We proposed keeping the platform, and just making the changes necessary to improve performance. My specialty is optimizing a database to wring the most efficiency possible out of each input/output operation.
Don’t know if we’re going to get this particular contract. But we’re going to do our best. I really like the idea of doing proposals to earn people’s business. If given a fair shot, I know we can do a job just as well, if not better, than anyone else. And we’re more than ready to prove it.