Sri Aiyaswamy is an IT expert, and holds a master’s degree in computer science from the San Jose State University. While most techies tend to focus more on the technical aspects of computing, Sri has focused more on marketing. Her strong communication capabilities make her a natural when it comes to marketing. Sri is so good at it that in one of the companies she co-founded (Ravel Software), she managed to grow sales by over 60%.
Besides her strong communication skills, Sri is very open-minded. She believes in learning by doing, and is never afraid of mistakes. She believes that mistakes are simply learning opportunities that help one become a better person.
When not running companies, Sri spends her time giving back to society. She is now in her 4th year as a volunteer at Leave-a-Trail, a therapy program for children with special needs. It takes someone with a big heart to take time off a busy schedule to help take care of kids with special needs. Her selfless nature also reflects in her love for the environment. She knows that it is only through environmental conservation that future generations can inherit a livable world. But Sri isn’t just into serious things, she also enjoys traveling the world as a way to cool down and freshen up. She is the true definition of a successful entrepreneur.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
The demand for consultants and contract opportunities was very high in the IT sector. I knew the right Silicon Valley people to make it happen, so it was a no brainer.
How do you make money?
I generate business and procuring payments through placement fees. I help the best and brightest engineers find jobs in Silicon Valley in the IT sector.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
The first few months were really tough, but through hard work, we were able to get out of the red by month 6. At first, I was too focused on advertising, but once I lowered my overhead, we became profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
No. I did not give myself a choice other than to succeed. It was all or nothing, I invested all of my life savings and soul into it, so there was no turning back.
How did you get your first customer?
Persistent calling and several meetings. I showed the client that I was willing to give the best customer service ever, not just treat them like any other client.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Using social networks has really helped me stand out. I get to know the client on a personal level, rather than just looking at their resume and superficially.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Layoff a good salesman for his lack of integrity. He was a friend, and he was great at his job, but he did something dishonest and I couldn’t let it slide. My reputation is everything to me. I am known as an honest and straight shooter, but if my employees are being dishonest, then it ruins my integrity as a byproduct.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Hard work and treating every day as a new day to rebuild. Some days aren’t great, and Silicon Valley can be incredibly stressful, but you need to reset at the end of every day.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When my clients totally trust me in providing service to them. They then skip a few steps of their hiring process. This saves everyone a lot of hassle, and saves me money so I can keep my prices competitive.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am really excited about expanding the market into healthcare. I am also looking forward to opening new locations in California.
What business books have inspired you?
The Art of Closing The Sale by Brian Tracy. I have read it three times, and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if they are not in sales.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Outsourcing my backend office has reduced my cost of operations. The subscription service has helped me tremendously.
What advise would you give others when they think, where am I going wrong?
Try another way.