Meet TeamLogic IT Franchise Owner Don Warden
The managed services model along with a robust set of sales and support tools sealed the deal for this former value-added seller and Navy vet
Many IT professionals begin their own businesses, usually with one or two core clients they may bring along from a former employer. That seemed risky for Don Warden, who has a background as a value-added seller and knows the pitfalls of a single-person operation. The TeamLogic IT toolbox of managed services, training, marketing, support and more, on the other hand, was too good to pass up.
How long have you been a TeamLogic IT owner? What were you doing before?
We bought our franchise in December 2014 and went live on March 2. Before that, I was a regional vice president at a super regional value-added reseller, and system integrator.
Why did you want to change careers?
My wife and I had some discussions around starting a company for her, and I knew that managed services and cloud-based services was a wide-open space still. We looked at starting our own company a year or so ago, and because I’ve been in the business for 22 years and have a lot of friends in the industry, we were able to get a few people in a room and whiteboard out what that might look like.
I figured it would take us six to nine months to develop the collateral and get something that was valuable up and running, and that was too much runway. So we put it on the back burner and began looking at franchises that were not tech related, such as email marketing and traditional mail marketing, structured settlements and annuities … all kinds of things. We eventually came to the conclusion that was a silly thing to do given my experience, and so we circled back around to technology.
When we merged franchise exploration with technology, we also narrowed our focus to managed services as an offering. TeamLogic IT came up very quickly, and we knew once we spoke with the folks at corporate and went for a visit to meet the team that it was the place for us. We knew right away we were working with the right people.
How did you find out about TeamLogic IT?
I’m a U.S. Navy veteran, and so when I was looking around on websites that talked about good franchise opportunities for veterans, I saw TeamLogic IT. They had come up in other searches, as well, but when I saw they were listed as one of the best franchises out there for veterans — that increased my interest.
What attracted you to the business?
The managed services model was a big draw, but the training and marketing was extremely clean and modern, as well. We looked at a lot of companies, and what they offered in that regard was very dated. TeamLogic IT’s collateral is very up-to-date, and the blogs and white papers they have available are very relevant. I could tell they put some money into developing that kind of quality content and collateral.
Why do small and medium-sized businesses in your area need your help?
My territory is Williamson County, just south of Nashville, and up into Metro Nashville. We are focusing on companies with between 20 and 120 employees, and there are a lot of those that are severely underserved in my area. They’re one of the quickest-growing segments of the business population, because a lot of smaller firms come here, or start here, to do business with HCA and some of the larger health-care companies in Nashville, They also come here hoping to connect with Nissan and the automotive industry. Those are the people we’re going after.
What personality or values do you think are needed to succeed as a TeamLogic IT owner?
I think you’ve got to have a lot of integrity. That’s something that TeamLogic IT corporate wants to see in all their franchisees, and it’s what the franchise owners want to see in their peers. That sets us apart from other tech franchises. If you talk to our corporate folks, you’ll find that they aren’t trying to churn out locations and push things through. I think they probably reject far more applicants than they accept, and they are working to get rid of the bad perception a lot of people have about IT service and repair.
How large is the opportunity for your business to grow?
There are a lot of one-person IT shops out there, and there are some very competent people running them. They’ve become overwhelmed, and so they are focusing on break-fix work. We’ll do that as collateral work, but we’re focusing on small businesses that don’t have an internal IT person and want to bring us in to augment what they do have. That’s where managed services gets us in the door.
How do the tools offered by corporate help you market your business and serve your customers?
I think if you look at the integrated marketing plan that you’re given, you see what the priorities are. We are taught how to prospect very efficiently, and we have the best of breed when it comes to vendors. Corporate has done the research when it comes to Google searching and SEO so that we’re found online very easily. They also work with us, both in terms of training and through support calls if needed, to get to price points with potential clients, as well as articulating our value to prospects. The templates and documents we are provided for all that are extremely valuable. The whole fit and finish to our brand is very well thought through, and it definitely makes an impact.
How helpful are other franchisees when you have questions?
We spoke to about 12 different owners, and they were all very accommodating with us. We talked to very new people and to the top producers in the company — people who are all very busy — and they were extremely happy to talk to us about their experiences and give us feedback around the franchise.
One thing that was very impressive to me was that we didn’t hear one negative comment from another owner. That was not the case with other franchises we investigated, and that made a very big impact on me. It’s easy to take care of the guy who’s the top producer and “golden child,” but when you’re talking to someone who’s struggling a bit, and whose numbers aren’t the highest, and he’s still happy to tell you why he’s in it for the long haul? That means a lot.
What does your typical day look like?
We’re meeting with prospects now and have hired a technician. We are bringing in a marketing person, because we need to get our name out there since we’re very new. We’ve gotten our contacts in place with vendors and distributors, and we’re just working to be ready when the business starts coming in.
What do you enjoy about the business?
I love the pace of technology. It’s evolving all the time, and I get to learn along with that. You need to be full of energy and ready to go every day. You can’t just hang out a shingle and hope people will come to you. I have a lot of energy and passion for what we’re doing, and so I wake up every day ready to go and hit it.
Would you recommend a TeamLogic IT franchise to someone else?
I would recommend this, but I’d also tell them to make sure they are committed. Make sure the energy and passion are there, and to make sure it’s the right fit. If it is, then you’ve got a great opportunity with a team that will support you.