Neeta Singh never thought she would own a business. During college, she only wanted to pursue studies that would lead her to a service career such as social work. Most important to Neeta was home and family. Soon after graduation, she married and had a daughter. However, when her marriage ended, she focused on being a good single mother and finding a suitable career. She started a lucrative sales job and focused on serving her clients well. After being praised by a sales client for going out of her way to help him, Neeta realized that she could help people, do what she enjoyed, and be in business. During her lunch hour and after work, Neeta started what became Tiger Controls, Inc., a seller of industrial and electrical supplies to Fortune 500 companies.
Neeta founded Tiger Controls in 1999, and outstanding customer and employee care was key to its growth. However, the business began experiencing some growing pains, including a year-long wait to gain 8(a) certification, financial reporting issues, a non-functional bid-to-billing process, and need for business plan preparation. Neeta, a believer in personal and career development, attended an SBA-sponsored event and met an SBTDC Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) counselor who discussed services for businesses like Tiger Controls. Eager to get working with a counselor, she was referred to a counselor in her region.
“From our first meeting, the relationship with the PTAC counselor had been nothing but rewarding” says Neeta. “What we appreciated most was the time the counselor spent with us discussing government procurement, because let’s face it, there is so much information involved in doing business with the federal government.”
The PTAC counselor knew that getting the 8(a) certification, which helps eligible small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy through business development, was crucial and made a phone call to the SBA that resulted in Tiger Controls’ receiving this important certification. The counselor also helped Neeta register with the State of North Carolina’s Interactive Purchasing System (IPS). She and the counselor reviewed a bid solicitation and the counselor pointed out where Neeta needed to focus. After submitting the bid, Tiger Controls was awarded the contract for $25,000. Since then, they’ve won several contracts and continue to submit bids.
While the PTAC counselor worked with Neeta on government contracts, another business counselor worked with her to improve several areas of her business including financial analysis, business planning, staff development, and strategic planning. Tiger Controls participated in a strategic planning retreat facilitated by two SBTDC staff – Blair Abee, SBTDC Triad Regional Service Center director, and Bion Schulken, assistant director of the SBTDC’s Management Education Services. The retreat examined the mission of the business from the date of the meeting to three years in the future. The facilitators also engaged UNC-Greensboro graduate business students to complete market analyses and marketing assessments for the business.
Today, Tiger Controls is thriving with sales expected to top $5 million. Since receiving the 8(a) certification with help from the PTAC counselor, growth has allowed the addition of two full-time positions and one parttime position increasing Tiger Controls’ staff to sixteen. The SBTDC’s guidance has also helped Tiger Controls begin the process of building a new distribution center. This will allow Tiger Controls to bid on government contracts as high as $7 million, and effectively create more jobs in the Triad region.
Neeta’s dedication to finding resources to improve her business, making sure clients are satisfied, and providing employee professional development has made Tiger Controls a success. Her company has received several honors including the prestigious Carolina Minority Supplier of the Year Award, and accolades from many clients. Through it all, Neeta believes that the SBTDC has had a lot to do with the success of her business.
“One of the best things to happen to Tiger Controls is finding out about the SBTDC and its Procurement Technical Assistance Center.”
Story originally featured in the SBTDC's 2007 Annual Report.