As I mentioned earlier, we established TASC as a technical writing and training company in 1995. As technical writing was relatively unknown in India, a lot of our early work was centered around training. The contract that got TASC up and running was our first technical writing contract. However, the assignment that really established us was a contract for training the employees of one of India’s largest and most respected non-banking financial companies.
The year was 1996 and the exciting world of graphical user interface was just opening up to PC users. Indian corporates were slowly warming up to the idea of using Microsoft Windows 95 and Microsoft Office 95. There was a great demand for training on these applications, especially from corporates.
Our break into this lucrative training market came in the form of a call from Louis, a great friend, who told us a large corporate was looking for training in Microsoft Windows 95 and Microsoft Office 95. “World we be interested?,” he asked. What a silly question! Of course, we were!
And we were a bit apprehensive too! What do they expect from the course? How long should it be? How much should we charge? Questions, questions, questions….
We spent a great deal of time drawing up detailed course outlines for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And off we went to meet the company!
Our first meeting was with the human resources team, who grilled us about who we were, what we had done so far, how would we conduct the course, why they should choose us…. They went through the course outlines with a fine tooth comb.
It was only later we realised that they did not know a thing about either Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Office 95. They were simply seeing if it matched the course outlines they had from others and covered what was said in the online help!
At the end of the meeting, I was very confused. So many things were discussed that I just got the feeling we talked too much! Anyway, the meeting was a success because we immediately got a call to meet the Associate Vice President (AVP) the next day. That was a meeting more along the lines of what we expected, focused on the course contents and delivery. At the end of the meeting, we were to train 2 batches of 10 people each. Each batch was to last 3 days. We were disappointed that the small number, but we took it on with full enthusiasm.
And the training was such a success, that we were then given 5 batches of 10 people each, and finally the contract to train the company staff across the country! A total of about 700+ people, starting from the receptionist to the CEO, I exaggerate not!
What a journey it was…. our experiences of executing the contract are the subject of other blog posts. So read on!