Meet Colorado Springs TeamLogic IT Owner Mark Kelly
A stable business model in the growing IT world appealed to this veteran as he transitioned to entrepreneurship and a civilian life
As a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, Mark Kelly learned a thing or two about quick thinking. He also learned the value of the long game, and having plans in place to cover any eventuality. That’s why, when he began looking around for a business opportunity, he chose technology franchise TeamLogic IT. Now, almost 5 years later, he says the decision was a good one thanks to managed IT services and other differentiators that continue to help his TeamLogic IT franchise stand out in the market.
This is his story:
Why did you want to change careers and do something different?
I was only 48 when I retired from the Air Force in 2009, and so I knew I’d need to find something else to do. I went back to school for two years to pick up a hybrid degree that combined engineering and management, and so then I began to look around and see what I could do with it.
I was attracted to the idea of owning a small business. A lot of former military people become a defense contractor, but that didn’t really appeal to me. I knew that I’d be looking in a different direction.
How did you find out about TeamLogic IT?
I was introduced to a franchise broker, and they pitched me on several different concepts. Having a concept and system to work within appealed to me, because I knew I’d need a lot of support and a leg up. I turned down a few things, and then they came to me with the TeamLogic IT concept and I found it very interesting.
What attracted you to the business?
I’m not an IT professional, but I did have a computer science degree from college. I’d dabbled in command and control networks, configurations of computers, and so I had a little bit of knowledge. My wife, Dawn, is an IT professional, however — she was a computer system analyst in the Air Force herself, and so she’d been working as a high school technology teacher or small-college adjunct professor since we got out of the Air Force and were married.
She’s got the professional certifications, so I ran the idea by her. She liked it, so we set up the business with me as the sales and back-office guy, and her as our first technician.
Why do small and medium-sized businesses need your help? What are their challenges, and how do you meet them?
We have a lot of different business verticals in our market, and they all have their own unique needs. We have some clients in healthcare, and do very well with engineering and manufacturing. We usually have a 10- to 20-seat client, and most of them have come to us for an immediate need — they’ve got a virus, or their network is down. It starts like that, and when things go well we transition to recurring calls for “break-fix” work and then over time, as that relationship develops, we migrate them into a managed IT services program.
What personality or values do you think are needed to succeed as a TeamLogic IT owner?
A couple of things: First and foremost, be ready to go out the door on day one and be a sales professional. You may be able to hire someone for sales eventually, but in the meantime you need to do it yourself. You’ll get a lot of assistance, though.
Also, have good listening skills. The TeamLogic IT model works best if you have empathy and can do well in relationship management. That means listening to what the customer’s pain points are, fully understanding their business needs and then proposing any type of solution. Even after the initial sale is made, that relationship must be nurtured. It’s an ongoing process.
Develop a good sales technique, and be able to listen, and you can be very successful.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
We are only limited by my time management, and how much of me there is to go around. Our market is having a very good year of economic growth, and I think that will continue. As that happens, dependence on technology is only going to grow bigger. As more cloud services come online, it only increases the complexity of the overall business problem when it comes to effective IT use and management. Business owners need an IT professional they can call who knows how to quickly and effectively integrate all their physical and web-based tech so that it can work for them.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
They are outstanding. When someone calls me to do their due diligence before obtaining a franchise, I always call out the marketing support that I get from TeamLogic IT. It’s phenomenal, almost to the point of overload! Sometimes I get more marketing products and strategies to implement than I have time to execute.
We have a website that’s professionally prepared, one-page marketing slicks that cover every service that we can provide and just about anything else we need to succeed in brand awareness. All this makes us look like a much larger company than we are as a franchise location, and that’s been very beneficial to us.
How helpful are other franchisees when you have questions? How do you work together?
I am a member of the Masterminds Group that meets up with Chuck Lennon every month, and that’s been a great opportunity for a few of us to peel the onion on a particular problem and come up with new strategies and solutions. Things like that for networking are just invaluable.
What do you enjoy about the business?
If we do something good for a customer, at a reasonable price, they’re happy. If they have a cranky server that’s taking down the whole business, and they are panicking, we can go in and fix things right up to get them back on an even keel. That’s just a good, intrinsic feeling.
I also like that my job is intellectually stimulating. I would not be a good hamburger-franchise owner. I would be bored to death. But the challenge of trying to stay abreast of all the new tech and solutions out there, first to understand them myself and then be able to have a business-level conversation with a customer, keeps me engaged.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else? Why?
I get those calls, and I tell them to look at it closely. Be sure you can sell, or be able to hire someone who can sell on your behalf, right away. If you’re getting out of a corporate job because you want to be your own boss, be sure that you have the support you need for sales and for the tech work. You’re going to be a business owner, and you don’t have time to do everything. It’s a great opportunity, but you have to be very aware of what your role is, and isn’t, going to be.
TeamLogic IT is the technology franchise small and medium-sized businesses increasingly turn to for turnkey support. TeamLogic IT’s managed services contracts give clients peace of mind around their technology needs, and provide franchise owners with a steady, predictable revenue stream. With more than 100 locations nationwide, TeamLogic IT now serves a wide and growing variety of clients in every business sector, from tourism and hospitality to healthcare, legal and accounting.