TeamLogic IT Owner Randy Reed Sees Opportunity In Managed IT Services
Overseeing technology — and its problems — for a global corporation gives this franchise owner insight into businesses’ specific IT needs
When Randy Reed left Alaska for the “Lower 48” a few years ago, he thought he also was leaving behind an IT career that spanned the globe. As he looked around for business opportunities, however, he saw how his experience and TeamLogic IT’s managed IT services business model were a perfect fit.
How long have you been a TeamLogic IT owner? What were you doing before?
I took over an existing franchise in November and officially opened Jan. 1, 2015. I liked the idea of having a good customer base right off the bat.
I used to work for a government contractor based in Anchorage, Alaska; our main customer was the U.S. Department of Defense. I was their IT director, and at one time I had an IT department that covered about 7,000 employees in 70 locations worldwide. I handled everything that was needed to maintain the corporate network.
Why did you want to do something different?
I came down to Phoenix about four years ago, because after living in Alaska for 28 years I was ready for a change. I telecommuted, but then they wanted me to go back to Alaska. I opted not to do so, and I began looking for an opportunity to begin the next chapter in my life. I’d always had a bit of the entrepreneurial bug, so I thought I’d get out of the corporate game and do something for myself.
How did you find out about TeamLogic IT?
I’m a researcher. I looked at many options, including just setting up shop as a consultant. That involved chasing a lot of business, though, so I moved away from that idea pretty quickly. I then began thinking of setting up an actual business, so franchising was of interest. I met with someone who evaluated opportunities, and based on what I told him about my background he made some recommendations. TeamLogic IT was one of them. I did my due diligence, and TeamLogic IT seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest.
What attracted you to the business?
I felt like I would get good support, and the other franchises I looked at didn’t have the same system in place for that. I like working and solving problems, and TeamLogic IT’s model seems to really fit well with that. I have some friends with small businesses who tell me about the sub-par IT support they have, and so I know the opportunity is out there. Providers oversell businesses in software and equipment they don’t need, and it all gets very complicated for that business owner. The TeamLogic IT model, where you are a technology advisor, works very differently. We help them manage their pain and use technology in their business in ways that help make money and increase market share.
Why do small and medium-size businesses in your area need your help?
I remember talking with a friend in Alaska. He owned a construction company, and he said he’d love to have an IT firm to work with, someone he could trust to take care of all that stuff. He didn’t want to listen to “geek talk” and then try to figure out what he was being told to do. He’d always tell me that he’d do whatever was recommended, buy whatever equipment he was told he needed, but he never knew if he had too much, too little or even the right kind of IT platform.
Even though I do know IT, you don’t have to be an IT expert to own and operate a TeamLogic IT franchise. You need to know how to communicate with business people, to explain the value proposition of what you’re offering, and I know how to do that. People don’t just want to be told to move to the cloud to save money; they want to know why and what’s going to be involved. They want the best solution for the best value, and that’s what TeamLogic IT, and I, can offer them.
How have you helped a customer out of a jam, or helped them dramatically improve the way their business functions?
We do get some break-fix calls, and we had one business call because they’d changed Internet providers. And by “change,” I mean the new provider came, changed out the system and drove off into the sunset. We went out, scoped the problem and had them back up and running in about an hour. We don’t always want to be in the business of rescuing people, but it’s a great way to get in the door.
What personality do you think is needed to succeed as a TeamLogic IT owner?
I think you have to have the entrepreneurial spirit and be willing to forge ahead on your own. Personality-wise, you need to be focused and willing to set and commit to goals. Stick with your plan and your values. Customers will recognize quickly if you don’t have integrity, and so that’s key.
Also, be able to speak in the language of business. The client needs to understand you, and for that you need some business acumen. Don’t throw out a bunch of technical terms to impress them; they’ve already heard a lot of those. In many cases they want to get away from that, and that’s why they’ve called you. Think like the business owner, not like an IT guy. Know that whatever technology your team puts into place. It has to deliver business value, so be able to communicate exactly how that’s going to happen. Don’t tell them they need a new solution because it’s cool and neat. Tell them how it will provide value to their bottom line in terms of savings or increased productivity. Be a business-to-business peer, and let your tech guys answer the other questions if they’re asked.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
I have a great opportunity here in the Central/Downtown Phoenix area. We’re targeting small and medium-size businesses, and I’ve got more than 4,000 of those within my territory. We’re actively marketing to those, and there’s just all kinds of potential.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
I really liked the university, all that onsite training. They really focused on the things you need to do in order to be successful. We covered marketing, sales and a business plan, and then developed our own tools while we were there. It’s great to have that kind of talent to go through the process with you, and then evaluate what you’ve come up with and offer good feedback.
I also liked how the team at corporate encouraged me to develop metrics and goals, and then helped me set all that up. Just knowing how many managed IT services customers I need, or workstations I should be monitoring, before I hire an additional tech was very helpful. It’s good to have that assistance to put the things into place that help you grow your business properly.
I also really like having the biweekly meetings, and how we can set goals and strategies during those for marketing and sales. I get to hear from other people about how they’re doing, and that develops some good camaraderie and encouragement … and a little competition, which is great.
How helpful are other franchisees when you have questions?
I talked with seven owners when I was doing my due diligence. Some of them were new; others were some of the top performers in all of TeamLogic IT. I talked to owners in the San Francisco Bay area, because they are all up against each other, and I would be next to three owners who were already in the Phoenix area. That was a real concern of mine.
I found out that everyone there, and the guys already here, work great together. If you get a referral into someone else’s territory, you work out a plan so that everyone is more successful. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time with the guys here, just sitting with them and getting ideas. They’ve shared their stories, and all of us are committed to growing the brand identify, which helps us build synergy and will make all of us more successful. Nobody is looking at me like competition.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend an hour or so early in the week looking at the plans for the next few days, and then I have a brief team meeting with my crew. We try to do that every morning, because I want to go over what we have coming up, plus look at what got done the day before and see if there were any problems. This is when we can set our goals and review how we could provide better service. It’s also when I find out if there are customers I need to be in contact with, for whatever reason.
Then I like to get into our marketing and look for new leads and opportunities. I’ll spend some time on the phone calling customers and making calls on leads that have come in from a telemarketing campaign we’ve been doing. Then I try to get out and do some guerrilla marketing and meet with our clients to see how their needs are being handled — and what we can do proactively in terms of managed IT services.
What do you enjoy about the business?
I’m a people person. I like meeting the new clients and learning more about the businesses operated by our existing customers. I like to find out what success looks like for all these people, and how we can partner with them to make that happen. I’m a very curious person; I like to learn. I have the opportunity to do that every day in a lot of different ways.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else? Why?
I already have recommended this business to a couple of people. You get the support you need while you are learning the systems, and you can get up and running very quickly. Sure, there’s a franchise fee, but for the money you get a lot of value. From the marketing to the website and other support, there’s a lot you don’t have to go out and do on your own. Having a great system of support from corporate and the other franchises is far better than starting your own operation, and learning everything through the “school of hard knocks.”