Thursday, November 1, 2007

How to Start a Call Center from Scratch

I wanted a Business which spans Canada and India when I got my Visa and planned to go to Canada I wanted the Best of the West and the East and I loved my Hometown Hyderabad very much.

Lesson 1 : Clear Vision, Focus and Consistent Mindset
Every Notable achievement has a focused vision

I decided to do a business I started brainstorming for Business Ideas every Idea that came to my Mind looked really good from Trading, Training, Consultancy, Web Designing and etc. all the ideas Exited me and I wanted to pursue simultaneously all of them this let me to the Attention span of a humming bird and a scatter brain. Lucky me I quickly realized that even though I was working hard all day didn’t get any much results

Basing on these values you can build up your Character and Nerves of Steel

Lesson 2: Understand your Strengths and weaknesses (SWOT Analysis in real sense)

With a quick SWOT analysis I decided to go for BPO Business. Hyderabad has Call Center and Web Development Service as one of the key Strengths. Opportunity is that I am going to the West from where I can personally get the projects

Lesson 3 : Get the Right People to work with you

Now the most Important decision have a right Partner or Manager who can manage the Show here while I am gone away to Canada I had a bunch of friends here with whom I shared my Business Aspirations and they most of them wanted to be my business Partner ( thanks to my skill of making people millionaires right away of course in their dreams ) we talked a lot when it came to starting the work everybody were gone nder one pretext or another . even the two closest friends who were experts in this field didn’t bother to be associated with it
Then when chatting with a guy on Yahoo with a friend who I hardly knew I presented the Idea to him and he Jumped at it he was at my house the next day this guy Meraj was what the others didn’t have Hard work and persistence. Though lacking any call center or BPO experience was ready to work hard and prove himself

Lesson 4: Make Financial Sense
We quickly decided to get a Web site online and a Office Space we didn’t have any budget and cash But I managed to get a room in my Fathers apartment building
Now I needed a VOIP Phone with which we can call . A friend of mine was using my Brothers VOIP Phone in his home after a couple of visits to his home I got it.
Now we had a Room with a Desk and a VOIP Phone We did the Financial planning and It looked like this

Detail Amount In Amount In
$ Dollars Rs. Rupees
Vonage $39.99 Rs.1560
ISP $50 Rs.2000
Computer $25 Rs.1000
Rent &
Electricity $80 Rs.2000
Salary $150 Rs.6000
Food $50 Rs.2000
Miscellaneous $50 Rs.2000
Total $444.99 Rs.16560

Lesson 5: Prospect (Want business look for it )

After arriving in Canada the First thing I needed to do was look for work and quickly got a job in Sales at a major Electronics retailer
Then I was clueless on how to get projects so I did what best I would look for projects online I stumbled upon Craigslist which is a very popular Ad posting Site in North America and started Emailing to the Advertisements online for companies who needed sales and Customer Service finally I got my first Email Response it had a Phone Number
It was from Andrew a Franchisee of College Pro Painters ( ) The Franchisees are given to College students who team up to do Painting jobs the average age of these students is around 18 to 20 years and they work only a part of the year
Andrew had just started his new franchise and was clueless on how to get business. I landed a meeting with him at a Starbucks and told him that we will call homes in his territory and pitch for sales that will get him Leads and more business.

I gotto get a project as soon as possible or else the set up done in Hydrabad will fall apart more sooner than it was set up (Besides there was hardly a setup ) . Andrew agreed to give it a try for 2 weeks and continue if he liked the service the Price charged was the minimum Canadian Wage which is 8$ per hour we finally negotiated and agreed at 4 hours a day of calling and two weeks advance payment. So calling for 4 hours a day for 5 days a week for 2 weeks was $320 .He was prompt to pay that amount and we got the job.

Lesson 6: References (Don’t undermine the Power of References)

Now the big Question who will work the People who I knew and counted on to work quickly slipped away under one pretext or another. After exhausting my list of contacts I asked my Brother who also was in Canada he had extensive comtacts to get me someone to help me in the calls . he called a bunch of his friends and one of the agreed to help

His friend Saher she worked agreed to help when he called her but it will require to streach her as she was already doing a full time and demanding job besides pay would not be a very important motivation for her because we were giving her only a fraction of her salary still she agreed. this is where I realized the power of personal reference .

It’s a Paradox you can rely more on people who are more busy than people who have all the free time

Lesson 7 : Get the Formula Right

Right Technology, Right Service , Delivery , Reliability when you have this no one can stop you

The Work at our new Call Center was to pull out customer Information online from the White pages from a couple of ZIP Codes in North Vancovuer then call the homes in the evening for four hours Pitching them for Collegepro Painters expecting Leads .

Each day was a learning experience and we learnt a lot everyday new techniques Drawing Parameters

My job was calling up motivating, putting on the work pressure and making sure the team understands the responsibility

This is how we started all we needed was will to do someone taking initiatives and responsibility in our roles

This gave us the Confidence and we knew that there is nothing we cant do and particularly the business of BPO made sense to us . and the growth is directly propotional to the amount of Hardwork and Dedication we put in the Business

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Surge in Document Management Systems / Web Office System

There has been a surge in Innovation and Startups in Dovument Management Systems / Web Office System the market is full of useful opensource solutions for EDMS(Electronic Data Management Systems)

Some of the very Promising ones are Zoho, Foldera, Thinkfree

This is a Nice CRM from Zoho this has upto 3 users free each additional User is 12US$

Zoho has a set of free online tools which are free now some of the practical are

I got one here

A useful Project Management tool