When it comes to running your own business, there’s no better feeling than winning your first bid. I had the privilege of winning my first major contract in August 2012 for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA (R) ) traning course I teach. I started Whiteboard Business Partners full time in June, so I had a major accomplishment after just two months in business.
I have always been my own worst critic. It was hard for me to comprehend the significance of this event. I knew I had a long road ahead to fulfill the promises I had made, but I also knew this was a major moment for my business. The true significance of this event did not hit me until my dad wrote me to congratulate and talk about how important a win like this was. My dad is a quiet, reserved man, and his excitement meant a lot for me.
I know I write about how to make your business happen. What happens when you have won that big proposal or contract?
- Celebrate! – Yes, I made several phone calls to share the good news. My wife was visiting her mom, so I called her to talk. We also agreed to do a home improvement project we had delayed as I started Whiteboard. This was not a major expense, but it still represented something we could do now that we had the financial reward of a big win.
- Take time to know why you won the proposal – The company for whom I am working told me my communication skills and ability to use technology were my key attributes to win the bid. I want to offer this course to other large companies with employees in multiple locations. I can improve my marketing to emphasize how I use technology to make my course unique. I will also make sure I communicate questions and concerns in a timely manner.
- Let others know you won the proposal – Many of us, myself included, tend to be modest about our accomplishments. This is NOT the time to be modest. Publicize your victory. Send a press release to your local newspaper or business publication. Highlight the accomplishment on your blog (as I’m doing here). Tell potential clients how you won the proposal so they can see you have a legitimate business. Share what you have accomplished, because others want to associate with successful companies!
I am actively preparing to overdeliver on what I promised to my customer. I expect to win many more proposals like this one, but there will always be a special place in my heart for this first win. You never forget the first time you see the results of the effort and passion you invest in starting your own business.