Seeking Therapy

By Lynn Haber  |  Print this article Print


Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers

When the business gets messy, solution providers turn to consultants for help.


Seeking therapy

It can be lonely at the top, so where does the CEO go when in need of strategic business guidance?

Kenny Heitner, president of Consolidated Technologies Inc., a $25 million converged communications solution provider with 100 employees, keeps what he calls his business therapist a phone call away. Working with 4-Profit, Heitner has sought out strategic advice to support transformational change at CTI, such as helping focus the company’s talent.

"At one point we needed unbiased outside advice to help CTI take the best qualities of the people we had and put them to the best use," Heitner says. Putting an inside group of strong-minded, confident and talented people in a room to make these changes was out of the question, he says.

4-Profit also hammered home the importance of always recruiting the best talent and having a solid customer service department. "The value of working with consultants is the philosophy they lend around sharing best practices," says Heitner.

The fear of being perceived as weak for having outsiders peek under the company sheets is why many solution providers won’t engage consultants. But for small-business owners, including the brunt of solution providers, working in the business rather than on the business can prove fatal, or nearly so, as Schram discovered.

One step ahead

Working with a business consultant wasn’t on Eric Dykes’ radar screen until a few years ago when he heard Service Leadership's Dippell speak about managed services at an industry conference. Dykes is president of United Technologies Group, a company he launched in 2004 and which sold its first managed services contract in 2006.

"We embraced the managed services model and stayed in touch with Service Leadership for a few years to bounce off ideas, stay abreast of what we were doing and throw out red flags," he says. Today, UTG has 13 employees and more than $3 million in revenue.

In 2007, Dykes brought in Service Leadership on a more formal basis "to understand mergers and acquisitions in our space, understand financial reporting, and for an assessment of our current situation," Dykes says.

With large vendors, such as Dell and Microsoft, for example, asserting themselves in the SMB space, Dykes believes it’s imperative to be educated and ready for risk. "This is no time to turn a blind eye," he says.



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