From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
This week, we sat down with Novi, LLC., an Alexandria-based government contractor that works primarily in the world of satellites. Amit Mehra, Partner, spoke with us about the company and what it’s like to run a small business in Alexandria.
AEDP: Can you tell us a little more about Novi?
Amit: We’re working at the unique intersection of small satellites and associated data analytics / image processing capabilities to revolutionize the way space-based data is collected, analyzed and utilized for a variety of applications ranging from oil and gas pipeline inspection, marine vessel tracking, weather forecasting and precision agriculture (among others).
AEDP: Business can be challenging! What would you say is your biggest challenge with running Novi?
Amit: When you’re a small company, everything seems to be “amplified”. Whether its loss of a single contract, or delay in payments from the Government because of paperwork, the impact is disproportionately high when you’re small and don’t have much of a “buffer” to damp out the volatility. On the positive side, a single contract can all of a sudden give you 6 more months of runway and end up being a game changer from a day-to-day operational perspective. All in all, it’s about trying to strike a good balance between the overall long-term vision and goals, yet, do the near-term tactical things that are required to keep the lights on and make it through another week, month or year to give yourself another chance to go up and bat.
AEDP: And what is the most rewarding thing?
Amit: The immediate link between effort and outcome (both positive and negative). You have the ability to have immediate impact (again both good and bad) through your actions, the time / path between action / feedback being very short and direct. For example, we had one summer where we made a big push towards going after a number of proposals in a certain domain…and sure enough, the results of those effort quickly came in the form of award notifications (and rejections) shortly after, changing the direction and growth path of our company in a big way.
AEDP: What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?
Amit: Overfund and underspend!
AEDP: And what is your favorite quote?
Amit: You miss a 100% of the shots you don’t take!
AEDP: Finally, our favorite question: why Alexandria?
Amit: It was fortuitous in that we found a reasonably priced sub-lease in a building close to where I live (when it was just me starting off and looking for an office).
To learn more about Novi LLC, please visit their website.