I’m sure all of us have had the experience of purchasing a piece of software and being frustrated at our inability to fully utilize the program. Our latest New Founder, Mavens Consulting, wants to provide that bridge between technology and business users.  They want to help businesses better utilize the software they purchase, make better business decisions and improve their efficiencies with technology.  In Mavens’ own words, they want to help even the odds for their customers, by giving them the advantage they would otherwise not have.  We’re excited to have them on board, and we had the opportunity to chat with the founder of Mavens Consulting, Prasad Kanumury, in the following interview.

Why and how did you start your Mavens Consulting?

Simply stated, we started Mavens Consulting to EVEN THE ODDS for all those companies buying software. Have you ever bought software that has some pretty neat functions but felt clueless on how to make sense of how to use and truly capitalize on everything the software promised?

I recently purchased QuickBooks to manage my finances. Wow, what a great tool. Fairly simple to use, but I am clueless on whether I am doing things right. I put numbers in and then click on one of the 200 standard reports excited to see my bottom line numbers. But seconds later, I am very disappointed when I don’t get an output that I expect. Is it because I put the numbers in the wrong categories or am I that off with my projections? Bottom line is that I feel lost when trying to fix the problem. I am completely dependent on my accountant to help me figure out how to use the software. And when something doesn’t seem right, I have no choice but to call my accountant and wait for him to be available to help me, and then bill me.

If you have ever felt like this, EVEN THE ODDS has new meaning outside of Vegas. There is so much technology out there and it is changing at nearly the speed of light. So, we want to give our customers, consumers of software, a fighting chance to capitalize on their investment and empower them to make sound business decisions.

What are some of the challenges so far in starting your business? And what’s the best thing about being your own boss?

I think the biggest challenge for me has been trying to define the “how”. How to take a one man shop and grow it… How to convince talent that there is no better opportunity… How to follow in the paths of the other great companies driving our country and how to do it better… How to reach your target market efficiently… How to evaluate if your strategies are working… How to balance my personal life with my professional ambitions… How to know what the right next step is…

The best thing about being my own boss is knowing I am resonsible! There is no one else to blame for failures or credit for success. I am in charge of my clients success. There is no ceiling or standardized HR processes to limit my growth, just my own personal creativity, passion, and ambition.

How do you guys differ from your competitors and how are you marketing your service?

Mavens is a boutique CRM consulting shop. This means… if you are looking for help managing your marketing, sales, and/or customer support teams, we want to partner with you to increase efficiencies and bolster your bottom line. We understand that the services business is a people business, and thus we are less focused on margins and profitability and more focused on building trusting relationships that sustain long term partnerships. We also believe that traditional software “go-live” parties are the first milestone towards success , not the last, so our most popular service packages are designed as a fixed cost offering with a baked-in services plan to guide your organization from a crawl, to walk, to run.

Currently, most of our marketing is done via word of mouth. Our customers are our biggest advocates; they believe we are the differentiator in helping drive success within their organizations.

Why do you need to track time and expenses, and how does Harvest help in that regard?

Being in the professional services space, tracking time and expenses is as basic as knowing how much money is in your wallet. It is critical for us to manage our resources’ time and expenses in a time effective manner. We are a distributed team across the country, thus Harvest helps to support our needs by being an intuitive, web based application our consultants use to quickly enter their time and expenses, regardless of their location. For our consultants, Harvest is easy to use, requires virtually no training time, and is safe and secure. From a management perspective, Harvest is simple to administer, provides powerful reports with no development time required, and is frequently enhanced to meet our growing needs.

It’s kind of amazing to think that Salesforce is where it is today in less than 10 years. Having worked in that company, and being Salesforce specialists – what do you think has made them so successful? What are some lessons all of us small business owners can learn from Salesforce?

Salesforce.com’s success hinges on its ability to understand consumer trends better than its competitors. Salesforce.com focuses less on what businesses traditionally demand and more on what consumers want. They believe if they can give people what they want, then these same people will drive business decisions. If retail shopping was being revolutionized by consumer behavior on the internet, why couldn’t business behavior similarly be changed.

Another thing that propels salesforce.com past its competitors is its growth strategy. Merrill Lynch, Dell, ADP, Nextel, etc were not salesforce.com’s first customers, nor were they a salesforce.com target in their early years, but they were obviously on the radar. Salesforce.com first targeted small business; figured out how to tweak and tune the software to meet the needs of those running small businesses, and then tackled their next challenge. I think small business owners struggle with success because too frequently we are trying to kill the 1000-lb gorilla vs mastering our current domain. There is a fine balance between being ambitious and setting yourself up for failure, and I think salesforce.com has mastered how to walk this line.

Where do you hope to see Mavens Consulting in one year?

In 12 months, I would like the Mavens brand, “Even the Odds,” to be generally recognized and be known as our competitive differentiator.

Please share with us some memorable things you’ve consumed lately.

The Fair Tax
by Neal Boortz, Unaccustomed Earth by Jumpa Lahiri, The Blind Side by Michael Lewis, and chocolate ice cream with mini chocolate chips and almonds mixed in.

Thank you for your time, Prasad!

To find out more about Mavens Consulting and their service, please visit their website.

To help companies get on their feet, The Harvest New Founders Program gives one year’s subscription of Harvest time tracking service to a new company each month. Think you might be a good fit for our New Founders Program? Learn more and apply.