Dusseldorf Jasmin Neuefeind recently peeled potatoes – and had a consultation: “A customer needed some information in the evening that I could give him on the phone,” says the 27-year-old. “Suddenly he asked me about background noises that he heard through the receiver. So I told him that I was peeling potatoes: It is 7:30 p.m. and I’m getting hungry! ”The customer thought it was completely okay and thanked them for their efforts.
Neuefeind is traveling in two worlds: The Munich native earns her money full-time as an independent IT consultant. However, she is also on the road as a company founder with a special topic: she helps women with breasts of different sizes to answer questions about clothing.
She handles advice and corporate management largely from home. For consultants in particular, she says, the corona crisis has given the home office a strong boost. Almost the entire consultant republic worked from home for months. And even after the lockdown, many companies continue to work remotely.
“Anyone who has been sweating blood and water in the last few weeks because they haven’t kept an eye on their employees or consultants will hardly have an easier time as a manager in the future,” she says. The period of the forced home office was the “ultimate trust test” for many industrial relationships – and mostly it was a success.
As a beginner in IT consulting, Neuefeind already got to know the burden of business travel with dubious benefits – every week the flight went to Hamburg on Monday morning and back to Munich on Thursday night.
The workplace at the customer’s site was sometimes the basement, sometimes the canteen – depending on availability and WiFi signal: “And all because you have to show physical presence to prove that you really work. In addition, the high costs for travel, hotel and daily flat rate, as well as the environmental impact – the meaning behind it has never opened up to me. ”
With growing experience and specializing in a specific tool from Salesforce, a widespread software from the US company of the same name for customer management, she made the decision in August 2018 to become self-employed. Her specialty here was CPQ, an offer configurator for which, according to industry experts, there are no two dozen consultants in Germany.
Therefore, the demand that finds its way to her by word of mouth is quite high. “This gives me the opportunity to refuse orders where I am advised to move into a” project apartment “at the client’s headquarters,” Neuefeind states.
Most of the time, however, she finds a way to satisfy both sides: “If my client is not satisfied with my work results from the home office, I would be happy to offer to terminate the contract after a few weeks, if necessary.” This self-confidence obviously impresses the customer – according to Neuefeinds Nobody has made use of this offer so far.
Always on standby
However, it is also part of the new world of work to guarantee customers that you can be reached at any time and at short notice – be it by phone, email, Slack or WhatsApp. Neuefeind sees a mutual benefit here: “Unlike when I’m stuck with a customer, I can quickly help another customer from home if they need something at short notice to get ahead.” This way, they can guarantee fast accessibility for several business partners .
Another form of relationship management from the home office is of course also necessary. The customer should never feel like they have been forgotten. The consultant, says Neuefeind, should not be allowed to tear the thread of his own accord and should also actively listen to the response to a requested feedback: “Nice conversations, which may have nothing to do with the work, are also part of the process, exactly as you would do in the coffee kitchen. ”
It is also important to be aware of what the other person’s voice is conveying: Home office is much more than “just accepting orders in one syllable” and delivering results. Home office means being present without being there.
With the customer Designa, a medium-sized provider of traffic control technology, she obviously succeeded. Marcus Krüger, director of worldwide sales support, is enthusiastic: “Jasmin is in the fast lane, feels available around the clock.” In a project that has been running since January, she was able to keep up with every pace, even the “very sporty intervals” the management prescribe.
For Florian Gehring, founder and co-director of IT consulting Salesfive, which as a partner of Salesforce implements their products in companies, it doesn’t sound any different: “We would have liked to have won Jasmin for our company.”
From a technical point of view, it is “incredibly good” and, above all, has a very strong ability to understand customers’ concerns and to meet them promptly. What particularly impresses Gehring is that the consultant can also put a lot of energy into her founding: “That is awesome.”
On Google’s top spot
The start-up is called Bravaria and, according to Neuefeind, is the first company in the world to offer underwear for women with asymmetrical breasts. The business idea was born out of anger: a school friend came across the problem.
She ran around in her sweater even in summer and never went swimming: two cup sizes were too much difference. She kept withdrawing from the public.
Unfortunately, according to Neuefeind, this is not an isolated case. Years later she googled “breasts of different sizes”. The first hit: the side of a cosmetic surgeon who advises to the operating room. “That annoyed me terribly,” says Neuefeind, who actually never wanted to start up. But now she had a new goal: to push the surgeon out of first place on Google.
The company was founded in 2017 and is mainly operated by Neuefeind itself. One of her employees is her mother, she handles customer returns. The founder sold her car for the start-up capital and took out a loan. The company is now self-supporting, but it is not yet suitable as a main activity.
Even if other providers with market power should get on the topic – it is important to Neuefeind that the topic is no longer taboo, but asymmetrical bras are just as common as symmetrical bras. And that it has now come first at Google.
According to some reports in women’s magazines, demand has increased – “from 20 orders a month in 2019 to now 20 in three days,” says the founder. The most important thing for her is the exchange with the customers. She receives e-mails telling about a new quality of life up to regular letters: “As in the consulting business, a customer relationship bordering on friendship is the be-all and end-all.”
All articles at: www.handelsblatt.com/hoffnungstraeger
More: For whom a lateral entry as a consultant could be worthwhile.