Mahirul Chowdhury is an IT professional with several years of industry experience. That experience lead to him starting his own company, Enterprise Resource Planning. Mr. Chowdhury attended Aspen University and graduated with a Master of Business Administration in Project Management. He currently lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois with his family.
How did you get started in this business?
After being an IT professional for several years, I wanted to have the opportunity to take my skills and put them towards running a business. The beginning of Enterprise Resource Planning transpired when I was talking to another business owner who explained that they were looking to streamline their technology and digitization. From this discussion, I realized that I could center my business around this idea.
How do you make money?
I personally do not focus on making money, rather on solving problems and supporting my business. I believe that the key to being successful in business lies less in the urge to make money and more in the urge to help, with money coming naturally for a successful company.
How long did it take for you to become profitable when you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
It took Enterprise Resource Planning 5 years to breakeven as we marketed to small and mid-sized businesses.
At first, it was a struggle to get contracts and it required a change in business strategy to become profitable. For the first three years, we struggled to land contracts but then we made a change in how we operated. Sure enough, within a year, the business was a successful endeavor and flourished.
How did you get your first customer?
I got my first customer contract by meeting with a client that was tight on cash at the time and agreeing to do work for them as their issue was something that we could solve. Although it did not generate a significant amount of revenue for us, I believe that the positive review we received from them helped to pull in more contracts over the past few years.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
While our success often comes from referrals, the other key factor that I have constantly utilized is to build a relationship with our customers. If your customers trust you on a personal and professional level, they are more likely to stay customers and you will have more success with fewer contracts. It is much easier to retain a client than to find a new one.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
It is never easy to make a business decision that you know will impact your company. Even still, you know that it is necessary for the growth of the company. By far the toughest decision for me over the past few months was to close out one of our offshore support groups.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am a firm believer that helping businesses to the best of our abilities to empower them through technology is what makes the company successful.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moment is always whenever I get to see a client get the results they were looking for. The satisfaction is both intrinsic and rewarding when I see the companies and clients that I work with can now optimize their business function thanks to the work of our business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Enterprise Resource Planning is already a $20 billion business with a lot of foreseeable growth. I am excited to seek out and merge with other successful businesses and possibly IPO my portfolio over the upcoming years.
What business books have inspired you?
Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To see beyond the narrower scope of the issue and have a mitigation plan ready.
I would tell myself to see beyond the narrow scope that an issue might seems to have an create a mitigation plan for a larger, unforeseen issue.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
I am willing to be a mentor. I enjoy having the opportunity to mentor young entrepreneurs. I am available both for interactive lectures and one on one meetings over e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org