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The Nitty Gritty:
- What specific services and offerings entice large companies and organizations to hire boutique firms, like Bonova, instead of doing it in-house.
- Why Breana’s always up-to-date on what her competitors are doing, what she and her team do to win proposals, and what the sales process looks like at Bonova.
- How travel influences Breana’s perspective and positively impacts her business.
- What systems Breana put in place at Bonova to make it easier for single moms to balance raising their children and working at the firm.
Today, my guest on Profit. Power. Pursuit. is Breana Patel, Founder and CEO of Bonova Advisory, a minority woman-owned consulting firm based out of New York City. She shares what working with large banking institutions and state/federal agencies with net assets of at least $10 billion looks like — and how the firm’s methodology and systems relate to owning, and growing, a small business.
Breana boasts over 17 years of leadership experience in addition to holding a Masters in Finance. Besides leading Bonova, she’s an Executive Fellow at MIT, non-profit board member, and angel investor. Listen to the full episode to hear Bonova’s sales process, how Breana wins proposals, and where she’s traveling to next.
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On why large organizations choose small, nimble boutique businesses
Large organizations have large teams. When a change is introduced, it becomes too cumbersome for large teams to manage the change. We are boutique and we offer personalized services to our clients. This allows us to be nimble and agile in our approach.
— Breana Patel
As a small business owner, you might think it’s difficult to land a corporate client. Maybe you haven’t worked with one yet — or you just haven’t seen how what you do can meet their needs.
Let me give you an example. While some large organizations and corporations have an in-house graphic design team, they don’t have a branding specialist. Or maybe they have a content writing team but they don’t have an on-site SEO strategist.
This is where running a small, nimble business works well. You can jump right in and fill the gap between where the client is and where they need to go (without working the 9-5 yourself.) In our interview, Breana adds that most team members on these large teams have daily responsibilities so they simply don’t have the time to contribute to a new project or big change happening at the company.
Think about what you do best, whether that’s personal branding, content strategy, or team building. What’s different and unique about what you do — and how does hiring you or your team fill the gap for a larger organization?
On winning proposals (and being the best at what you do)
It’s always good to know what’s going on in the market and what others are doing, but you have to be best at what you do. When we put in our proposal, we win because of the type of the in-house methodologies and frameworks we’ve developed, the type of the resources we have, and the experience that we bring on board.
— Breana Patel
Breana shares her process on winning proposals — and it’s not just down to price. It’s because of everything else that she and her team bring to the table. This is a good reminder for small business owners: that you can grow your business not just on the experience you bring to the table (also important!) but also based on the service that you provide clients.
For potential Bonova clients, it’s not just about price: they’re attracted to the realm of opportunities from working with Breana’s team that goes further than their collective experience: strategy, additional training, and post-implementation training.
What ways can you level up your services? How can you differentiate what you do from the competition? How can you provide value to your clients and potential clients right now? All good questions to ponder.
On travel’s positive impact on business and life
Travel’s played a major role in my life. Travel leads to open-mindedness and understanding of various cultures. And since I understand so many cultures, I’m able to understand the thought process behind certain actions taken by individuals and the psychology behind it.
I’m in a business which is heavily reliant on people. Because of travel, I’m able to break the ice and start talking to any person from anywhere in the world. It’s helped me connect with different people from different backgrounds.
Plus, innovation and creativity is fostered when a variety of people from different cultures, experience, personality, etc. work together. So this helps us creatively solve challenges and understand global markets.
— Breana Patel
Have you ever heard a more compelling reason to travel more that would benefit your business?
While not everyone enjoys traveling, for Breana, there’s a bridge between travel and her ability to connect with anyone. And when you work within a global marketplace, it’s even more important to understand different perspectives and motivations.
Think about your clients: what are some ways that you can expand your understanding and beliefs to benefit your relationship with them? While you may not be able to travel, watching movies and documentaries or reading books can provide a window into different cultures and perspectives to help you bridge the gap.
Listen to the full episode with Breana Patel, Founder and CEO of Bonova Advisory, to hear more on winning proposals, working with large-scale clients, and empowering women.