I had an important meeting last week with a potential new client. I met with him in his office in the middle of an industrial estate out in the suburbs. There I was, dressed in my suit met with the MD of this company, a shortish guy with a paunch wearing a company logo polo shirt. Coffee? he asked me first thing. I pondered the correct answer to that question before going with what I felt, yeah sure, I said.
We made small talk in the small kitchen while he fixed me a mug of nescafe. Then up the stairs we went.
I didn't know what, if anything, this company wanted from me, but I had done my homework in the preceding days and had been impressed. The man in front of me was actually one of the shareholders having bought out the US parent 15 years ago and taken the company since to new heights. He was obviously a smart cookie.
I introduced myself, my company, explained what we do and the philosophy behind it. I asked him a few questions about things I had read in the press, then delved deeper to find how we could him him.
Turns out we – that's the royal we (though I never admit the company is simply me) – happened by at the right time. He explained they were looking to upgrade their accounting system, which was now 10 years old. They had grown significantly in that time and were now wanting to implement a system that would grow with them into this next period and had the additional functionality they wanted. Well then, I thought…
I left after about 45 minutes promising to forward a proposal to them shortly. That's what I have been working on in the last week off and on. I did a bit more research and then composed what was a brief and high level proposal of about 3 pages. I'm careful not to give away too much without having signed on the bottom line, and it's hard to be definitive after such a brief meeting. Still, I was happy with what I came up with.
This would be a good project to get. Till now it has largely been bits and pieces, with nothing substantial enough to hang my hat on and to build around. This is different. I'm proposing to manage the process for them from evaluation through implementation to the post project review. With a bit of luck I'll even manage an ongoing relationship with retainer to assist with business issues as they arise. It's a good chunk of work worth somewhere between 30-50k over the next 3-4 months working part-time on it – much more if they choose to get me on board and managing everything full-time.
What are my chances? About 50-50 I reckon, which are fair odds for a project of this nature. Ideally I would get another one or two like this to work on concurrently, and to engage some of the people I have identified as associates to assist with this. That's the thing, it's a tough road but when it clicks it will be very lucrative.
Time will tell. No decisions will be made until a board meeting later in the month.