Meet Atlanta TeamLogic IT Franchise Owner Rick Higgins
Former real estate and software salesperson knows how to talk to clients,
and TeamLogic IT gives him the differentiators to succeed
Talking to people and helping them find solutions has served Rick Higgins well. After finishing a degree at Georgia Tech he went into software sales, following that up with a stint in real estate.
The economic downturn in 2007-08 meant a changing landscape in that industry, and so a few years later he decided it was time to strike out on his own. Since early 2015 he has owned and operated a TeamLogic IT franchise in Atlanta and says that it brings together his desire to help businesses succeed and his lifelong interest in IT and technological advancement.
Why did you want to change careers and do something different?
The real estate industry really changed with the crash of 2008, and I stuck it out for a while. By 2014 I really wanted to get into something else, and realized I wanted to return to tech — but do it in a way that would let me sleep in my own bed and not travel a lot. I thought IT was a natural progression since I’d worked in it before as it related to software.
How did you find out about TeamLogic IT?
I began researching tech and IT franchise options and looked at two different options. Of those, TeamLogic IT was hands-down the better option. I did reach out to a broker but found them on my own. After that, I spoke with the leadership team at TeamLogic IT and liked what I heard. That made me want to move ahead.
What attracted you to the business?
There were many appealing aspects. I knew I was weak in terms of knowing the latest and greatest tech needed to stay on the cutting edge of business, and that’s a piece that TeamLogic IT does a great job of bringing to the table for franchise owners. I don’t have to think about that stuff — they do the heavy lifting in terms of research and testing, and then bring me the results in the form of good products, services and vendors. They vet the partners, they iron out the discounts and then push it out to owners. They are really good at that aspect of operations.
Describe the clients in your territory. What are their challenges, and how do you meet them?
At one point a third of our clients were accounting firms, but that has lessened. We haven’t really stacked up a lot of clients in any one vertical area, but rather have just taken on a mixed bag. I’d like that to change, so we’re looking at specific ways to target some industry sectors.
One thing we have done is build our managed IT services client base. It’s been about 50-50 managed IT services work vs. break-fix or project work for us so far, and I’d say we’ve got about 25% of our clients into managed IT services contracts.
How have you helped a customer out of a jam, or helped them dramatically improve the way their business functions?
Not so much anymore, because after we brought Robert [Scarboro, winner of TeamLogic IT’s Tech of the Year in 2017] on board he was able to really get into our clients’ systems and identify problems well ahead of time. You can’t control everything, of course, but he’s really eliminated a lot of potential fires and shored up those accounts.
What personality or values do you think are needed to succeed as a TeamLogic IT owner?
There are a lot of things that can help you, but no one single thing that can guarantee success. A lot of owners are like me in terms of having a strong sales background. Others have a really solid IT background. For me, it’s the person who’s got some staying power because you sometimes take a beating when you’re in sales and have to get back up off the ground and keep trying. It takes a type of personality to do that. The good news is that we get a lot of help from the corporate team, so it’s not just you out there alone. It can be a lonely thing, starting a business, but you have that team backing you up.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
There is a lot of business here; our strategy now is to grow our top-of-pipeline efforts. There’s plenty of competition here, but I can close my fair share once I get in front of people. I cut my teeth on good, old-fashioned cold calling, so I can certainly do that, but we also want to expand our paid search and email marketing, so we can build even more leads.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
In addition to working with vendors on our behalf, we get a lot of education. I never miss the webinars about new products, or updates to existing products and services we offer. We also get great marketing materials. As an owner I expect those to be very well designed, and they are great. It’s one more thing that helps me grow my business, and that I don’t have to think about or deal with in terms of generating them myself.
How helpful are other franchisees when you have questions? How do you work together?
I talked to five guys when I was investigating TeamLogic IT, and I liked the fact that Chuck Lennon turned me loose on them. I wanted to talk to people who’d been in business one year to five years, to see how it had changed and how they had changed. They let me know that it wasn’t always rosy, and I appreciated that. They also opened up and shared numbers with me. I got the benefit of their experience, and I still do. That’s why I am always willing to talk to the people who are coming in behind me. We have a very open culture at TeamLogic IT, and I credit Chuck and the whole corporate team for creating that.
What does your typical day look like?
I focus on sales now that I have a great tech team led by Robert, who also does a lot of account management work. I’m primarily doing the hunter-seeker thing, making cold calls and then following up with our existing clients as well as potential new ones. I also attend a lot of networking events to get the word out about us.
What do you enjoy about the business?
I like the challenge of getting our numbers up from where they were a month ago, or a year ago. We’re seeing good growth: in February 2018 we did four times what we did in February 2017. I want to keep that going, and I really enjoy working to make that happen.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else? Why?
I would, but not without encouraging them to do some serious self-evaluation. Ask if they’re cut out for running their own business, because not everyone is. Some of the guys in our network make it look really easy, but it’s hard work. You have to have a plan, and you have to work hard to make that plan happen. You also need to come to the table with the financial support you’ll need to get going, but also to keep you running for a while as you build the client base. It’s a challenge, and it’s not for everybody, but it’s a well-run franchise with a lot of support to help you make it work.
TeamLogic IT is the technology franchise small and medium-sized businesses increasingly rely on for turnkey support. TeamLogic IT’s managed IT services contracts give clients peace of mind about their technology needs and provide franchise owners with a steady, predictable revenue stream. The company now serves a wide and growing variety of clients in every business sector, from tourism and hospitality to health care, legal and accounting. Along the way, TeamLogic IT has grown to more than 130 locations throughout North America and continues to expand in new and existing markets.
Learn more about a TeamLogic IT franchise