It was just over a year ago, that my friend Don Schultz called me to talk to me about his business, Infratactix. A couple days after that conversation, Loree and I loaded up the SUV and hauled our motorcycle in our trailer to make the 3-day trek to Wisconsin. Don and I had struck a deal for me to assume the reins as President and COO of his Madison based Managed Services Provider.
When I came on board in August 2016:
I became the 5th employee of the company.
Client engagement was badly needed and client satisfaction was low.
Marketing was non-existent.
There were no new sales.
Service offerings and pricing needed to be updated.
Our cloud offerings also needed to be restructured.
Support tickets averaged 13 per day.
As with all small businesses, revenues needed to increase.
Staff stress levels needed to be decreased.
I immediately planned our first of 3 marketing events for 2016. The first event was a BBQ to thank our clients for their support as well as to meet the businesses in our building, the building next door and other businesses in our local area. About 45 people attended and we ended up winning an Office 365 migration project from a company that was not even on our radar.
I have never told anyone this but my reason for the BBQ was not to grow business, it was for our team. I needed to give the team a chance to get some fresh air, break bread together and meet with our clients face-to-face, rather than just through a technical support call.
Because of this BBQ, the wheels were now in motion to grow Infratactix to become what Don always wanted it to be when he started it in 2011, back when I was his business coach from 2011 – 2013.
Over my first week in Madison, Don and I met with many of the current clients. I asked some very important questions and got some answers that made me realize we needed to take a deeper dive and engage even more with our current and new clients.
Throughout the past year, I have been able to re-position Infratactix with all our clients and to increase our engagement with those who were willing to invest in, “white glove” service. I say invest, not just pay, because we are both making an investing to work together. An investment should always have a return. As we finished 2016 we showed a small increase of revenue to just over $600k.
Now fast forward a year later to August 2017:
We are now 8 employees. Our staff includes:
Don, Founder / CTO
Stu, President / COO
Loree, Director, Client Services / Project Manager
Trent, James and Brian – Network Technicians
Carrie, Operations / Office Manager
Garrett, Web Designer
Client satisfaction is now up to well over 97%.
We have a bank and a banker that we work closely with.
We hired a new accountant that is truly part of our executive team.
Our help desk ticket count now averages 2 tickets a day and sometimes we will go 2 or 3 days with 0.
We have diversified our services and now offer more including Internet Services, VoIP, Web Design, Security and more Cloud.
We have engaged with many our vendors by joining the Synnex community, Varnex.
We have revamped our software and hardware vendors.
And yes, revenues are up. We are currently on pace to see 2017 revenues right around 2 million in sales and our profit margins are also increasing.
Now, this is not a post about my skills as a great business leader because I really am not. What I am is fortunate to work with great people who believe in my vision. And even better, we have amazing clients who are our partners not just customers.
Have I made mistakes over the last year? Of course I have! In March, I made the decision to do a couple deals worth almost $200k that didn’t work out for us. But Don and I, along with our vendors, accountant, legal team and banker were able to look at the situation and put a plan together to get through it. Now in August, we are just about over that hump and the rest of the year is back on track.
2017 is more than half over and the ride that I call Infratactix is just getting going. There will always be ups and downs in life and in business. I am the luckiest man in the world to be trusted to run someone else’s company the way I see best. Every day I love going to work because I love my job, I love my team and most importantly, I love my friend and business partner, Don like the brother I never had. When I took on this responsibility, I told Don and his wife Carrie that this would be the journey of 2 families, the Schultz and Selbst families. But it turned into so much more, it is about many families. The families of my team, clients and vendors as well. Without all of them doing what they do, the Infratactix team can’t do what we do.
I am so happy that we are planning to host our 2nd Annual Summer BBQ this week. At the writing of this post we have over 50 people registered and about 20 people who have verbally committed to attending. As this annual event grows, it will always be about the “why” of Infratactix. It is not about money or marketing, it is about bringing people together and learning what their needs are and how we can collaborate.
As I close out this post, I am thankful to Don and his family for trusting me with Infratactix. I can’t wait to see how the next year will turn out.
All the best for your success.