This month, we’re introducing some of America’s most inspiring entrepreneurs by interviewing all 18 finalists for this year’s Dream Big Small Business Awards. The awards program honors the achievements of some of our nation’s most remarkable small business owners and celebrates their contributions to the American economy. We’ll be spotlighting a different finalist every day between now and the Small Business Summit 2017, where the winners will be announced (register to attend here).
The company: Xylo Technologies,Inc.
Who’s in charge: Dharani Ramamoorthy
Where are they: Rochester, MN
What they do: Provide quality solutions using leading edge technologies
Q: How did your company get started?
Dharani Ramamoorthy: As an IT professional with over fifteen years of software and systems development experience, I founded Xylo Technologies, Inc. in the year 2000. I started my career as an IT Consultant and worked with different clients in Rochester, MN for more than eight years. During these years I noticed that there was a huge disconnect in servicing the needs of clients and what was being provided in the existing market. I was convinced that this gap could be filled effectively. This was the spark that led to the formation of Xylo Technologies, a compelling success story that makes up the American Dream.
Even though I come from an agricultural background, I chose to take the road less traveled because of my entrepreneurial quest. With absolute determination and confidence I ventured into the world of business and there was no looking back. At Xylo, we strongly believe in providing a unique, unparalleled experience to clients, employees and partners.
When sourcing client IT staffing needs, we absolutely ensure that the resources we provide are technically qualified as well as a great cultural fit to our clients. This enables our clients to complete projects within time and on budget. We also ensure that our employees are assigned the right projects which meet their career goals. At the end of their assignments, clients can hire our employees. This has enabled Xylo to be a trusted partner in IT staffing services to our clients which include Fortune 500 companies and Government agencies.
Q: What barriers have you faced while building your company and how did you overcome them?
Ramamoorthy: IT staffing industry is very competitive. Initially when Xylo commenced business with Mayo clinic, Xylo was placed as a third tier vendor which means that business flows to us only when the first two tier vendors are not able to meet the needs of client. We had to work thrice as much hard to get business but we fervently and diligently did our very best and within two years Xylo was elevated to a preferred vendor status.
Even though our competition consisted of several large vendors with a national presence, we were able to succeed by:
- Thoroughly understand clients’ technical requirements
- Use of effective Screening tools to employ best in the market
- Assigning employees in the right projects which meets their career goals
- Coaching and training our employees to fit our client culture and environment
- Competitive pricing structure
- Large partner network
During the time of recession, while all businesses cut back on employee pay and freeze on employee hires, Xylo continued hiring good talent and expanded its business by adding new clients. In IT industry turnover is high. Nevertheless Xylo enjoys retention of over 95% because of our excellent business practices which include competitive salary, training and benefits.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Ramamoorthy: It’s hard to name just one – some of the proudest moments for me as an entrepreneur are providing employment opportunities in the community and greater Minnesota, and connecting the best talent with our clients. I have a deep sense of satisfaction when our employees are thankful that Xylo has sponsored and helped them procure their permanent resident status in the US.
Additionally, commendations received from clients are of utmost value to us and we treasure them. One commendation which stands out to me was when I received an appreciation note from a client manager stating “My faith in humanity is restored”. This was in lieu of the excellent resources we provided.
It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as the Board Chair for the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and to be a role model in the community, providing hope and belief to every new entrepreneur who wants to venture into business.
Q: Tell us about your company’s role in the community. How do you use serve your hometown?
Ramamoorthy: Xylo Technologies believes in being committed and giving back to the community that we serve. We are an active participant in various programs donating our time, talent and financial support to make a difference in the community.
Xylo partners with local educational institutions like Minnesota College of Business and the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse. We also sponsor STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Summit and the Gateway Science Fair for children. I encourage our employees to get involved in the community and Xylo has a plan of paid volunteer hours for office staff. Xylo’s employees volunteer at Rochester schools, Meals on Wheels and Hospitals Patient Visitation. Xylo was actively involved in a community project of Building Blocks mobile block party trailer that aims to build connections in neighborhoods.
As Xylo’s CEO, I serve as the Board Chair for the Board of Directors of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce providing leadership and strategic guidance for community programs. Recognizing the importance of the next generation of local businessmen and women, I am committed to mentoring them and serving in the Diversity in Business work group for the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
Xylo has been a member of the NCMSDC Council since 2005 and participates in procurement fairs and business events. Additionally, I serve in the Minority Input Council, which is instrumental in helping other minority businesses connect with corporate clients.
Q: What does it mean to not only have created your own job, but to also create jobs for others?
Ramamoorthy: It reminds me of “If you give me a fish I can eat for a day but if you teach me to fish I can make a living.” We can never build anything significant if we cannot think beyond our self. I have always believed and cherished when we grow together. It is delightful to see the success in others. At Xylo, we treasure the moments when employees succeed. Being very passionate about this has enabled us to provide 750 jobs over the past 17 years. The very reason and purpose for our business is to attract talent and provide jobs.
Q: What would you do if you won the Dream Big Award’s $25,000 grand prize?
Ramamoorthy: To be a winner of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award is itself a great honor and privilege. We would like to donate the grand prize to our community partners (Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Black Data Process Associates) who inspire and empower workforce. We support initiatives like STEM summit, High School Science fairs, local high school robotic squads, Leadership Greater Rochester community projects. A small portion of the prize will be utilized to celebrate our success with our employees who made this possible.
Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?
Ramamoorthy: My best advice is to become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, which gives access to endless opportunities of networking and helps you expand your business – actively participate in events organized by the Chamber.
Learn from fellow professionals. To learn from experience of other small businesses is an incredible learning. It is wise not to repeat other people’s mistakes.
Dream Big. Pursue your passion. Hard work is always rewarded. Never give up.
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