Recognising the unique and significant challenges faced by Black, Asian and Minority ethnic businesses, Action for Race Equality has been working closely with a range of local Islington businesses since February 2022, providing them with one-to-one consultancy support, themed masterclasses, and something called Action Learning Sets.
Action Learning Sets (ALS) were developed in the 1940s by Reginald Revans, a university professor and scientist, as a new way for managers to learn and develop together. They have been used in a range of platforms, including in the NHS and other public services.
Read the ALS write up below to find out how they work!
Harman is the CEO of at HMGS Technology Solutions Ltd. He came to the Enterprise Support Programme, looking for advice on how to better convert referrals to opportunities by closing deals. The issues he wanted addressed were:
- Competition with skilled offshore workers, meaning his prices need to be lower to entice businesses locally.
- Time and labour intensive proposals being sent to clients. Much energy being dedicated to creating and pitching proposals to clients but falling short of being offered the contract.
With these concerns in mind, the ALS began with a probing Q&A to dig into Harman’s process of client interaction. Harman talked through how his company meets each client and details their proposals. A big issue, he explained, was that clients end up going to competitors with some of their own ideas.
Another issue for Harman was that costs were pushed much lower than competitors to offer an extra incentive for clients. However, upon probing, he realised that being cheaper meant clients may have less trust in the quality of service his business delivered. Raising his price to the market rate would both benefit him financially initially and enable him to secure more contracts.
Other suggestions included to push for more feedback from clients who did not choose their proposal in the end, and to reach out to ex-employees of competitors for more insight on their business success.
Feedback from this ALS was incredibly positive, with all members seeing things that they could take away for their business, despite being in different industries. “Be better or be cheaper but do not be both” seemed to be a sentiment that many agreed with. Many were able to more specifically about what makes people sign up to their business and areas where this could be improved.
Harman also found it invaluable to get the perspective of businesses in different industries. This showed him how to express things to those not in the tech industry, which is where the clients he is trying to attract are.
“An eye-opener with people from different industries – I would have been talking to another Tech person and getting the same views (their tech views). But this is looking in from other industries which is really good.”