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Can-an-ant-dance?-Yes,-with-1-2-3-4
S. Sundarajan
Monday, September 3, 2007
May be, an elephant can be made to dance. If in doubt, see some old vernacular films. These majestic animals cannot be seen in the circus ring any more, thanks to Maneka. But, what is the problem with the ant? Have you ever seen an ant dancing? Either it does not know how to dance or is simply too busy surviving or preparing for the next winter. What I am really referring to is the relevance of small companies.

Let me discuss the 1-2-3-4 syndrome. ‘1’ refers to the small company.
The smallness affects two sides: I will share a secret: there are only two sides! - employees and clients. Employees are not attracted to a small company for three reasons:
a) The company does not have a big brand? Will the company survive?
b) Is there a good environment? Are there great people? Are there enough projects?
What are the problems that a small company runs into with the clients (let me clarify: No, the clients are not the problems!)? I think of a four fold attack:
a) Expectation to act fast when a requirement is presented.
b) Refusing to accept the extrapolation of capability.
c) More time to take you up the value chain.
d) Tendency to extract more from the weaker side.

So, is your heart sincerely suggesting that small does not have a right to exist? Of course not! Small is beautiful. From small you get the big.
How do you make the ant dance? That too, along with an elephant who has been dancing all along?

Develop uniqueness. Right from what you do through how you do. You may be surprised – how you develop your proposal may depend on your uniqueness. How you develop your test conditions may become your niche!

Influence both the sides: employees and clients. Make the potential employees appreciate three points:
a) They will have a fast track career advance – since they get an opportunity to fast overgrow their shoes, simply because there may not be bigger legs
at all!
b) They get to increase their networking..
c) They enjoy a better transparency in the organization, because of the smallness of the team and the resultant cohesiveness.

On client’s selection and initiating business, adopt a four point strategy:
a) Identify clients who will find your size an advantage. Do not try to sell shaving kits to people preparing for a pilgrimage!
b) Let the clients feel that they have control over what is happening in the project.
c) Do not use the carpet to hide the issues. Share them with the clients. Surrender hurts your ego – but it works!
d) Find this point – I mean, find how you can add value to them. Once the fear that you are not going to compete with them goes off, they will believe you more.
Go ahead. There is as much place for a bicycle as for a truck! Do not ever be disheartened by the first 1-2-3-4. You cut a diamond with a diamond. Adopt the second 1-2-3-4. Best of luck!

He can be reached at sundar@realsoftinc.com
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