Meet Schaumburg, Illinois, TeamLogic IT Franchise Owner Erik Person
IT background, combined with desire to control his own destiny, made a TeamLogic IT franchise the ideal choice for this entrepreneur
When Erik Person decided to go into business for himself, he knew two things: It would make sense to pursue an IT-related venture, since he had plenty of experience, and he wanted something he owned outright — no more rotating corporate ownership.
That led to a search that ended with his TeamLogic IT franchise in Schaumburg, Illinois. To say he hit the ground running puts it mildly; he was named “Rookie of the Year” in his first year of operations and broke the $1 million mark for revenue in his second. And he’s just getting started.
How long have you been a TeamLogic IT owner? What were you doing before?
We celebrated four years April 1, 2016. Before that, a friend and I owned a company that sold hardware, primarily system equipment. We didn’t offer any services. Before that, I worked for big companies and handled IT-related marketing and sales.
Why did you want to do something different?
I had gone through a lot of changes in my career due to buyouts. It was a constant transition, because they all approached things differently. I wanted to do something where I controlled my own destiny. That’s why my friend and I started our company for hardware resale. But I wanted something a little more local, and I looked to see what was there in the IT services field for smaller and mid-sized businesses, because I knew they needed help.
How did you find out about TeamLogic IT?
I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, so I knew I’d probably want to go with a franchise model. I began talking with the team at TeamLogic IT, and they connected me with some of their owners. Over the course of six months I did my research, and then I went to a Discovery Day in California. I was very impressed with everything I saw and heard.
What attracted you to the business?
For me, it was the owners. I got a list of the top 10 most successful franchise owners, but I also talked to the people who were struggling, who were relatively new to TeamLogic IT and had not hit the break-even point yet. All of them said it was a great opportunity, and that they would do it again. That kind of attitude, combined with the team at corporate, sealed the deal. Everybody involved with TeamLogic IT is professional and knowledgeable.
Why do small and medium-sized businesses appeal to you?
The smaller companies are owned by people who are here, people I see at the golf course or at the Chamber of Commerce. They’re a little closer to home, and so am I, so we can connect more easily. It’s an unmet niche, because whenever I talk to friends who are business owners, they always say their IT support is terrible. They don’t want to hire in-house, because that costs a fortune and they don’t have enough work for a full-time IT person. So they put up with less-than-adequate support. That was all the anecdotal evidence I needed.
How have you helped a customer out of a jam, or helped them dramatically improve the way their business functions?
One of my easier sales was when we walked into a CEO’s office at a manufacturing company. She was complaining about her laptop, because she’d just bought it and the WiFi stopped working. I checked it and the WiFi switch had been turned off. She said I was a genius, because nobody else had figured that out. I wish they were all that easy!
Another time, one of our biggest customers called us because their email had gone down on a Friday night, and it was now Tuesday afternoon and it still wasn’t back up. Two other companies hadn’t solved the issue. We are five minutes away, so we went over and had it back up in about four hours. Two days later, they signed a 3-year managed IT services contract.
Performing well in emergencies can win you long-term business.
What values do you think are needed to succeed as a TeamLogic IT owner?
I think a lot of it is common sense. When a customer calls, they want to get someone live — not a machine. Treat them the way you want to be treated. If we make a mistake, we apologize, accept responsibility, fix it and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Mainly, be accessible and show a sense of urgency. We have more than 100 clients, and none of them cares if the others are down. They want their issue dealt with.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
We had a really strong first couple of years, then leveled off a bit by the middle of 2015. Since then we’ve seen significant growth, and I think that’s going to continue.
We’re all over the place in terms of clients. I keep thinking one day we’re going to get really good at one specialty area, but we’ve got everything from manufacturing to law and accounting offices to hospitality and restaurant chains. We don’t have any one vertical that stands out right now.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
When you are starting out, the quality of the print pieces is a very big deal. We’re a lot smaller than some of our competitors; but because of the materials we had, and the website along with the network, we look bigger. We have been able to walk into a potential client’s office and say that we’re small, but we’re one of 92 locations nationally. That immediately separates us from the competition. The other systems help you on the operations side, so that you’re not trying to figure out billing and other things on your own. The groundwork is in place to give you a head start and to stay ahead.
How helpful are other franchisees when you have questions?
I talk to a lot of people on a regular basis, and I think that’s one of the biggest benefits in TeamLogic IT. We have the mentoring groups, and so if someone is thinking about doing something in tech service or management, they can talk to someone who’s been doing it for years and get input. That’s a huge benefit.
What does your typical day look like?
It’s a combination of the work that has to be done, like forms and paperwork, and then more fun stuff like going out and presenting proposals. We had four initial meetings the other day, so now I’m putting together proposals for those businesses. If we’re really busy, I can go out and pitch in to help get a job done. There’s really no typical day.
What do you enjoy about the business?
I feel like I am in control of my future. I’m not working for some company that’s going to get bought out, sold and sold again. It’s sink or swim, but we’re doing it as a team and making it on our own efforts. It’s fun to have a day ahead of you that’s got a lot of challenges in it.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else? Why?
I would say that it’s hard work, and it takes commitment and a leap of faith, but I would do it again.