TeamLogic IT Franchise Review: Q&A With New Owner Jack MacRae Jr.
Defense contractor sees the value in managed IT services, brings TeamLogic IT technology franchise to new East Tennessee market
When it comes to running a successful operation, Jack MacRae Jr. knows what he’s doing. After years overseeing IT repair and related business for Relyant LLC, which held contracts with the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the Bristol, Tennessee, native spun NewLink Solutions (an arm of Relyant’s business) into his own TeamLogic IT technology franchise. He’s eager to bring the TeamLogic IT approach to Knoxville.
How long have you been a TeamLogic IT owner?
I started a conversation with Chuck [Lennon, TeamLogic IT’s president] in June 2014 and couldn’t move fast enough. When Relyant decided to close down this particular IT function, I went to our chairman and CEO and told him I was thinking about starting a TeamLogic IT franchise. I asked if, rather than just letting NewLink’s clients go, if I could take them over. I laid out the approach and we were able to transition the personnel on staff, as well as the clients, to the new business very quickly.
Why did you want to change careers and do something different?
I had been a senior executive involved in corporate services for a long time. I’ve often been responsible for back-office requirements like finance, accounting, legal and IT. My undergrad degree is from Miami University of Ohio. I was cross-enrolled at Xavier, where I was in the ROTC program, and I spent four years in the military as an artillery officer. After that I went to law school at the University of Tennessee and worked with law firms in Cleveland and then Knoxville. That led to my becoming in-house counsel for a Department of Energy contractor in Oak Ridge, and then I grew my responsibilities until I was president of that company. I spent some time working in England and then came back to get my MBA from UT’s executive program.
It’s all been good in terms of what I’ve learned and been able to achieve, but I decided it was time to get out and be on my own.
What attracted you to the technology franchise business, to TeamLogic IT?
I like that it brings IT technology to bear for small and medium-sized businesses. In the past 14 years, being responsible for IT, I have seen the struggles companies face. What TeamLogic IT does is something I can get passionate about. And the idea of managed services is really something that I see as a benefit.
I liked the idea of stepping out on my own with a franchise, but I needed a partner who’d done the research and could stay ahead of an ever-changing world of technology. TeamLogic IT has that, and it also has leadership that can help me focus on sales and marketing. I think that will help us grow very quickly. TeamLogic IT really sets itself apart in that regard.
What challenges do small and medium-sized businesses face, and how do you meet them?
People in smaller businesses don’t have anyone on staff who can address all their IT needs. Even if they do have a full-time IT person, he or she really doesn’t communicate with the business leaders. They’re usually a network specialist, or are busy with security and applications.
By providing managed services, we support the IT person, if they have one. We can come in and help out with repair, updates, upgrades and all the things an internal IT person appreciates the need for, and we can explain what we’re doing so it makes sense to management. We provide that interchange between the tech side and the business side.
How will your IT background help your customers out of a jam, or dramatically improve the way their businesses function?
I know that you can get a call about anything — from a server going out to advice about how to incorporate new applications into an existing platform. We are going to reach out and understand our client’s business, their challenges, and then design solutions that help them. That way we’re not just troubleshooting, but we’re intertwining ourselves into what they do every day and how they want to grow their business. We’re not just targeting people who have an immediate need, but we’re getting in front of anyone who’ll see us and then helping them build a solution to help their business.
What does a TeamLogic IT owner need to succeed?
You have to be able to sell something and make a relationship grow. Once you have a contract, you’ll be working with that customer a lot, so they need to know there’s substance behind what you’re saying. I know that with TeamLogic IT I have products and a brand that will work, whether it’s the IT support that we will get from other techs in the system or the sales and marketing help I get from corporate.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
It’s a wide-open market here in Knoxville. There is one larger IT services provider here, but I think we’re going to have phenomenal success. People don’t know the difference between what TeamLogic IT offers and what they’ve had available, and so we’re going to be challenging those competitors.
I see us talking to people who haven’t been happy with other folks, and showing them what we can do. That will lead to a lot of growth, and I think eventually we’ll expand up toward Bristol and down toward Chattanooga.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
The technical support is going to be very important. Our four people have a lot of experience, but we also will need to learn a lot as we interact with different clients’ systems. The corporate support has been amazing, from the owners’ summit to the university. I look forward to continuing to tap into everything that’s available to us, and to learning best practices so that we can succeed quickly.
I am really pleased with the engagement we’ve gotten in terms of sales and marketing support. I’ve got materials that will let me go to Chamber of Commerce events and other gatherings and really explain to potential clients what we do and who we are. I recently met with someone that I knew through business networking. He also has a franchise, and in talking about what he is doing and what I am doing, I identified a need that we are going to explore. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t’ have the materials and the support from TeamLogic IT from our very first day.
What do you enjoy about the business?
I like the problem-solving aspect of meeting with someone — sitting across from an executive or business owner — and learning about his or her company. It’s great to come back with a solution that’s been customized to fit their needs.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else?
I would say to do your due diligence. TeamLogic IT is great, but you need to make sure that you know exactly what you want to do. Everything I’ve been told by the company has panned out, and that’s been great. The main thing is that what happens next is up to me. I have 100% support behind me in terms of sales, marketing and tech support, but I have to get out there and make a successful business of it. That’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m 110% convinced that this was the right decision for my family and me.
Learn more about the TeamLogic IT franchise opportunity
TeamLogic IT provides managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses. More than 50 franchise units and 200-plus technicians give the technology franchise a nationwide footprint and a massive knowledge base with which to provide exceptional service to clients. TeamLogic helps its clients become more productive and secure, and that focus has helped franchise owners earn double-digit average same-unit sales growth for three years in a row. To learn more about the business, including startup costs for a franchise, visit our research pages. You also can read interviews with TeamLogic IT franchise owners on our blog. For even more information, fill out a form to download our free franchise report and let’s start a conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!