Entrepreneur Spotlight

Sudhakar Shenoy is smiling big these days. His company, Information Management Consultants Inc., is one of the best kept secrets in Virginia.

According to Shenoy, IMC is one of a few small, local companies that hasmajor contracts with the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department and the Defense Finance Accounting Service, the Defense Departments accounting and payables system.

The 15-year-old firm helps clients design, plan, develop and implement business information systems through out the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, India, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Shenoy started the $30 million company almost by accident. He was selling information systems at American Management Systems until a dispute over a compensation agreement. He left the company, pulled his resources together and started IMC.

However, Shenoy credits his first contract to a combination of pure luck and a faulty elevator. In an effort to attract his first client, Shenoy visited one of IBM's offices. But the elevator stopped on the floor of Wang Laboratories. Shenoy walked into Wang, thinking it was IBM, liked the atmosphere and started talking to people about his expertise. The asked him to submit a proposal for a contract. In less than a week, he had a successful demo. IMC ended p serving as one of Wang's largest third party software application developers throughout the 1980s.

IMC officials spent several years working on state and local contracts with the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Commerce. In 1988, the company's commercial practice blossomed thanks to partnerships with IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase and Sun Microsystems. At the same time, the company entered the 8(a) program. However, by 1993 the company was no longer generating revenue through 8(a) set-asided in an effort to reduce its reliance on government contracts.

"We didn't want to be too dependent on the program," said Shenoy. "The first eight years of our business, we did government work on our own."

Shenoy attributes his company's success to a tight management team, proper use of resources and constant focus. "We are not risk takers," said Shenoy. "We are not in this for the sake of growing. We are motivated to be better with time. That is the whole secret to success."

Shenoy said his biggest challenge is to differentiate his company from other information management companies in Washington. IMC's competitors include systems integrators such as TRW, Integrated Automation and Andersen Consulting.

In the next year, Shenoy predicts his company will hit $35 million in revenues. What's more, he says, commercial work should account for 40 percent of total revenues, an increase of about 10 percent.

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