We had the good fortune of connecting with Nazeera Dawood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nazeera, how do you think about risk?
From the very beginning as a child, I have questioned the status quo. I questioned why things were done in a certain way or why norms existed that only provided opportunities to a few, privileged. As I questioned, I also found solutions while taking risk and changed the norms. I am the first professional graduate doctor among a community that did not promote women education beyond middle school. I took the risk to cross the obstacles to graduate. I realize that I have taken risks in both personal and professional life. Just recently, a friend remarked that many consider me as the pioneer since I initiate routes that others choose not to take. Taking risks also helped me in applying and expanding my skill, for example in local government as the Chief of Staff at the Chairman of the Board of Commissioner’s office. If I had not taken risks, I would not have gained the enriching experience from running for local office. Taking risk helped me to better understand the needs in the community while identifying my strengths and solidifying my focus on providing solutions to communities. Taking risk has helped me become an entrepreneur, co-founding Vendorship Inc, providing customized services to companies that seek to diversify into the public sector through government contracting. From delivering documentation, identifying bidding opportunities and writing successful proposals for our clients, we have grown into a committed team that believes in the vision and the purpose of helping companies of all sizes to achieve their goals. Taking that risk has come full circle, a risk well worth taking as this company can provide others with a path to revenue growth, enables me to provide professional career opportunities to exceptional women while supporting community programs – not just financially. Taking calculated risks helps plan for any untoward consequences. However the first step is taking that first step forward with conviction, commitment and confidence.
What should our readers know about your business?
Vendorship Inc.’s goal is to make government contracting easy. We work primarily with IT firms but our services are applicable to any business that has a service or commodity needed by any government. We act as the coach, develop a custom action plan to implement win-win-win strategies for our clients. Compared to database subscription services or silo services, we differ from others because we are real people passionate about assisting, coaching and partnering through a comprehensive and custom service package. We are a women-owned, women-run company, and we pride ourselves in our commitment to delivering on excellent customer service. We have a 100% success record in getting our clients to bid on government proposals, regardless of the size of the client’s size or starting point. It was certainly not easy, moving and thriving through the stages of a startup. The winning factors have to align. A demand in the market, a committed and trustworthy team aligning around the passion for the mission and the willingness to work toward that common goal. We started the business with $200, and there have been times when the account was about to show a negative balance. But we continued to work hard until we found another client. I will never forget the two-week period during which the account balance was $4 and 59 cents … and there were unpaid bills. It discouraged me to the core but also gave me the strength to tweak our approach and work smarter and harder. The secret was to not give up. Lessons learned include that entrepreneurship is not about reaching the destination. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with good and not so good moments. We have to recognize the gravity and potential of the moment sometimes and enjoy the journey taking in to consideration all who are dependent on the company’s success. Occasionally, taking some time off, team retreats, team building and inspiring and motivating each other has helped along the way. Vendorship Inc. grew from $200 startup money into a company with a one-half million Dollar revenue stream within 2 years. What we have built from nearly nothing is based on believing in the vision and having confidence in our expertise and hard work paying off in the long run. We want people to know that our story can be any person’s story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s ironic during this pandemic. There is this in-built fear of freely walking outside or visiting areas where COVID is on the rise which is virtually anywhere in and around Atlanta. Outside COVID times, I would certainly show friends around Atlanta, and would visit the CNN center, the Coca Cola Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Civil Rights. Chattanooga is a place our family has visited often and enjoyed the train rides. I would take them to dine in a few of our excellent Indian restaurants in the area. During restrictions due to the pandemic, the places to visit would be limited, however we would spend quality-time at home, watch movies and cook from scratch. Dosa, idli, biryani, and curries would certainly be on the menu.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes, there are several people who the shoutout should go to. I would like to thank family members and name the team members who make my professional life meaningful. I want to thank the Vendorship team for contributing to a beautiful experience in the business world. We have evolved through several hiccups, but because we believed and supported each other, we have a trusting team. I would like to name them here; Madhu Chatterji, Sabine Genet, Susan Pulla, Seema Kohli, Remya Raju, Rajan Luthra, Ravi Sahani, Roland Washington & Shawntel Hebert. I would like to give a shout out to my adopted parents, Pat & Curtis Smith and certainly our clients who continue to have the confidence in us to help achieve their goals. Shout out to Dr. Neel and the Furtado family who helped continue to light the Vendorship torch.
Other: www.chaiandjustchat.com www.nazeera.net