Beating the Odds, An Insiders Guide to approaching the hospitality and gaming industry
By; Richard L Jones
Published in Minority Business Enterprise Magazine, Volume 21, Number 4, July/August 2004
Everyone knows that you can't hit the ball if you don't go to bat. But how do you get yourself into the game? Or rather, how do you get to the table, where you can ante up? All too often, big business and corporate America unwittingly build walls around their oranizations, making it nearly impossible to get inside. The larger the company, the higher the walls.
In the hospitality and gaming industry, the concept of supplier diversity is relatively new. With few exceptions, the goals of these newly created diveristy divisions remain a priority only to those individuals who are dedicated to the diversity effort. Spreading these goals throughout all divisions of companies within the industry, while a slow process, will be driven, ultimately, by the changing demolgraphics. While this apprears to be a drawback, it actually provides a major opportunity for minority and women's business enterprises (M/MBEs) that wish to target this market - a market in which firms are positioning themselves to be more proactive in diverse supplier participation.
So, how does the small supplier go about doing business within the industry? The first step is to reseach the potential client. Understand the culture of the company before taking aggressive steps to sell to that client. One of the first questions a supplier should ask is: are the goods or services that you provide needed or wanted by your prospective client? Determine the commodities and services that the hospitality and gaming industry buys, and know your competition. This industry buys a wide range of products - all the things that it takes to run a small city - but don't mistake this for everything. You will never convince a buyer to commit to anything that they don't use, or that doesn't briong them value.
Don't take this step lightly; far too many companies have attempted to sell something to prospective clientsthat that they either do not use, or have no desire to use. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you can convince