1. First of all, could you please tell me the purpose of the travel meeting in Amsterdam?
I am responsible for the international expansion of Granton. And according to our expansion plan, the Netherlands is the first location that we are expanding at the moment and our sole purpose of traveling to Amsterdam was business development, so we went to Amsterdam to have some client meetings and also to establish a branch office in the Netherlands.
2. How is the branch office establishment going?
It is still in the process of undergoing the legal documentation work and checking out some sites to establish our office at the moment so it’s under process. We are also running a trip next week I believe for the branch stuff. So it’s a lot of client meetings as well as the office development going hand in hand. I can say it’s like you have to be there all the time and they have to see you.
3. Wao, Congratulations! Negotiations in Amsterdam, are part of the core expansion project of Granton, for this meeting, which clients were met? and more or less, how many days does it take to go to these meetings?
We met technology companies. We had a meeting with Avisi which is Ernst and young and along with that we went to a Christmas dinner where we met a number of other clients that we are currently cooperating with like Techrise and Penta. We were fortunate enough to meet the founder and director of Dermacol, which is the leading cosmetic brand all over Europe, so we had dinner together, it was great. We also met some representatives from one of the major banks in the Netherlands which is Rabobank so these are the clients that we interacted with and it is not just limited to that we have also interacted with a number of other representatives from ING. We managed to somehow network and develop a meeting in such a short period of time.
About the time, we traveled for three days so in three days we had a number of meetings, so a really good agenda for sure.
4. What was the expected points to arrange by the end of the meeting?
The point of expectation remains the same for all the clients that we met at Amsterdam. Basically, cooperation with the clients that we are meeting we want to provide our services for their IT needs and we want to tailor our services based on their expectations so the kind of requirements that they have at the moment we want to hire representatives from IT from Czech Republic and we want to outsource it to their specific projects. So either be a Dutch project or an international one, we are trying to expand Granton and that is why the sole purpose of these meetings are outsourcing our representatives to work on their projects so that is how we are penetrating into the Dutch market at the moment.
5. What is the current outcome and the changes that had to be made from the expected goals?
What we expected was met and something that we expected did not go as planned. For example, for some of the clients we were able to have this cooperation in a positive manner and right now, we are discussing our consultants’ profile to work on their projects so it went according to the plan.
On the other hand, some of the bigger clients we came to know were expecting that we will just go, talk, present our profiles to them and they will start hiring right away, which did not go as planned. We came to know that major banks in the Netherlands do not hire directly, which is indifferent from the remaining part of the Netherlands. It is not just limited to one city, I think throughout the Netherlands they follow the same policy model of hiring which is they do not hire directly they have some umbrella companies which are responsible to source for them. Which, in conclusion, was difficult for us to penetrate such clients.
6. Is it getting hard to contact these umbrella companies?
We are basically calling, emailing or blindly messaging people through LinkedIn. We don’t know if it is going to work or who to reach out for better communication and we are trying to reach out to as many people as possible because people hardly reply through LinkedIn. If it is of their interest they would reply and if it is no, they don’t even care to connect us. So that is a challenge that we are facing. Until now we have not been able to reach out to any umbrella companies but we are still trying our best.
7. What can we foresee as possible future steps in market penetration? Considering also here, possible boundaries, such as you mentioned the umbrella companies
We can foresee that we are reaching out to these smaller companies which are also supporting the bigger clients so we are taking the ladder to reach the bigger clients, in order to support the smaller companies rather than just directly going and targeting the bigger companies. The companies we are undergoing cooperation with, they have similar business, for instance, they are established in the Netherlands, we are established in the Czech market so we basically go hand in hand in terms of business and that is what we discussed and we are collaborating with them at the moment. Hopefully, joining hands with them would take us to a bigger distance, and we will be able to reach out to bigger clients in Holland.
8. From your perspective, is there something that Granton will need to improve for future meetings and ongoing negotiations?
It is a constant process I would say every step of the way we are learning something new and we are molding our structure and knowledge based on what we are gaining at the moment. So let’s say, now we are thinking that once in a month if you are going and meeting our clients that is sufficient and we are good in terms of handling the structure of Granton here and the Czech Republic. But as we grow in terms of company scale, we would need more meetings to be conducted in the Netherlands, we would need in person meetings, we would need building relationships with our clients, to be present at the location in equal amounts.
What we are doing here then the Czech Republic so it depends on the scale of grounding as we are growing the responsibilities would also increase. So what we are doing in the Czech Republic with the same amount of skills and the same amount of effort will be needed as we grow in the Netherlands.
9. From your own abilities, for the future, which aspects would you like to bring to the table and consider also, were a problem solving key during meetings?
I think that I am really good at making business out of the conversations that we are holding with the clients. In terms of understanding their needs and proposing what we can do for them, I can easily put it on the table. I like being transparent, which means I want to be straightforward about our business and discuss their needs so it is the customer first.
I would also want to know their needs before proposing what we do, in that case, we don’t just go ahead and we try to sell our services. I consider it important to discuss their line of business and if it is what they are looking for at the moment in terms of their needs. And whether or not we will be able to provide our services to them so if it is relevant I would like to put it forward if it is not relevant then we don’t want to keep them hanging about something that we cannot provide to them.
Basically I want to listen first rather than speaking. It is more about you know sometimes the solution is hidden within themselves, if you’re talking about the problem and if you are discussing the problem sometimes the solution to the problem automatically evolves straight out of it. I basically stick to the five 4 W’s and 1H which is what, when, why, where and how so when we stick to these questions to our clients they automatically feel that “OK yeah this can be done”, this is how I deal with the problems.
10. In general, do you find some imbalances between workforce culture?
I have been taking some feedback from our supervisors and trying to work on those feedbacks. Basically how they work here and how they would want me to work here and the Czech market but that is something that I did not follow when I was working back in India. I am learning new and so it remains the saying that I am taking these feedbacks and I am trying to change according to what is needed in the Czech market.
For example when working for a multinational company which is having you know thousands and thousands of workforce you don’t just pick up your phone and call somebody randomly right so we always take their availability on email or like we drop an email first, take follow-up and then like if it is really needed to call them, then we give them a call.
But here because people focus on building relationships and maintaining relationships, they don’t mind calling each other so I learned after coming to the Czech Republic that giving your client a call during work hours is absolutely fine and people appreciate if you give them a call it is a very positive thing that I’ve learned. I appreciate it from this culture.
11. Lastly, could you share what are the current goals of Granton aligned with the recent meetings’ outcome?
The current goal of Granton from my perspective and my responsibilities is smooth functioning in the Netherlands which is like we at least need one or two hired clients. We want to give them at least a few consultants well based in the Netherlands and working on the projects which are based in the Netherlands.
The second goal would be incorporating as many clients as we can because the number of clients that we are partnering with will obviously grow our business so it doesn’t matter if it is in Holland or if it is in the Czech Republic. Moreover, we still need to overcome the alignment of our business with the needs of our client, so if our clients, we are targeting, are not interested in external hiring then we cannot help them in any way. In conclusion, we want to target such clients which are in need of IT services like what we provide.