"My favorite event is Connections to Contracts. It’s a great opportunity to sit face-to-face with potential clients and educate them on our services as well as less formal opportunities to chat during the lunch. We are given a decent amount of time for networking with other WBE’s which can be a great source of generating work or build relationships for teaming. " - Michelle Ray
Michelle Ray is the CEO of Absolute Facility Solutions, a consulting group that specializes in the implementation of facility management software and support services including product development, product consulting, training, data normalization, need assessments, field surveys, and CAD & BIM services. Absolute Facility Solutions has been a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and member of the Women’s Business Council – Southwest for 3 years. Michelle currently serves as a site visitor and member of the Austin Committee We asked Michelle how she has been using her certifications to gain more business opportunities.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
My favorite event is Connections to Contracts. It’s a great opportunity to sit face-to-face with potential clients and educate them on our services as well as less formal opportunities to chat during the lunch. We are also given a decent amount of time for networking with other WBEs which can be a great source of generating work as well or build relationships for teaming.
Which certifications does your business currently have?
- Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
- Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)
- Austin Community College's Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE)
- Economically Disadvantaged Woman-owned Small Business (EDWOSB)
- Woman-owned Small Business (WOSB)
How have your certifications helped you during the Request for Proposal (RFP) and bidding process?
Our certification has helped us during the bidding process. We were specifically selected to team up on multiple RFPs due to our certification. We have also been contacted by other businesses for teaming opportunities due to our status and the relationships built within WBCS.
Can you share a connection you have made through WBCS (WBE or corporate) that has helped you grow your business or yourself professionally?
Through WBCS I have made a lot of great connections that I know will lead to business when the right opportunity come along. One of those great connection has been Marie McGrath with Demand Lighting. Marie and her team have brought us in to review potential projects, talk tech with some of their other partners and is always a great reference for us to give our client base. Additionally, Marie has been a great support and guide to navigating our membership/certification within WBCS and nationally through the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and was the one to refer me to the Goldman Sachs program.
You recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses Program. Can you share a little about your experience and how it has help you grow professionally?
Applying for the program was a big commitment since it required driving to Dallas every week for about 4 months. Once the program started I knew it was the best decision for me and the company. When starting AFS I knew the direction we wanted to go in, the industry and enough about running a business to get started. But as your business grows, there are constantly ideas and opportunities that will change your business and you have to decide what is best. The Goldman Sachs program teaches you how to evaluate those ideas and turn the good ones into revenue. Along the way I learned from some great educators, was able to confirm what I already knew and really grew in my confidence as an owner. Just like parenthood, ownership is a series of decisions that affect other people’s lives. When making those decisions you hope it’s the right decision and everything will work out in the end.