I started my first business – an IT support company – while living in Silicon Valley during the height of the .com boom.
There were all of these exciting entrepreneurs doing amazing things around me, and I was sitting in Bay Area traffic driving from client to client, only surviving because of the insane demand for help with technology that existed at that time.
My business model was horrible…trading time for money.
It exhausted me, and after two years, I realized I should be doing something smarter.
I just needed to figure out what!
Off to Business School
I chose to pursue my MBA at Babson College because it was the #1 program for entrepreneurship in the world, and because they offered an option to complete the program in one year.
I was eager to get back to building another business, so that was perfect for me!
I used my time at Babson to evaluate new business opportunities to start, but something kept drawing me back to the IT services industry I was in before school.
I knew it was an enormous industry with competitors that were very fragmented and poorly run, and I felt that if I could just learn to develop a better business model, I could do well.
‘Services That Scale’
Selling services to small businesses had some particular challenges that required creative problem solving.
They don’t have much money, they often aren’t well-run, they don’t have organized purchasing processes, etc.
But the challenge of creating a good business serving them was intriguing to me!
I knew I had to find a way to create what I call ‘Services That Scale‘.
Our services had to be very carefully packaged, with clearly defined limits and affordable price points.
They had to be recurring revenue.
I had to be able to sell and deliver the service over the Internet so that we didn’t burn time driving from customer to customer, and I could provide the services anywhere around the world.
And I had to break the model of trading time for money, instead selling flat-fee, productized services that I could find ways to automate as much as possible to increase my margins.
A month before graduation, I launched my next business.
My First Baby
The result was Everon Technology Services, a business that revolutionized the business model in the IT services industry and went on to be one of INC Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America three years in a row.
Our business was successful. I had three offices across the country, an amazing team, industry recognition, and millions of dollars of recurring revenue each year.
The model had worked, and other businesses were very eager to get their hands on our business.
We were approached by a much more well-funded competitor that had secured AT&T, Comcast, and several other Fortune 500 companies as sales channels for their services, and they saw a fit for Everon to help them sell a new line of services to their huge SMB customer base.
The offer they made was a very attractive one, and we decided it was the right time to sell.
My First Exit…Now What?
After spending years building a service business in the IT industry that required lots of cold-calling, person-to-person selling, and long sales cycles, I was exhausted by the expensive, painstaking effort we had to put into building our sales teams and getting new clients.
But once again, I was drawn to use the lessons of my ‘Services That Scale‘ approach to build a new business.
Could we do it again? Would the lessons apply to a new business?
What about the Marketing Agency industry? It had many similar characteristics as the IT industry…
Could we do it even better and faster this time? And refine our strategies to make the business even more efficient?
‘Services That Scale’ Worked Again!
We took all of the lessons from my time at Everon and launched a new marketing services company (NOT an ‘Agency’…there is a VERY important lesson there!).
Once again, we applied the fundamentals of ‘Services That Scale’:
- Carefully packaged services with tightly defined limits
- Very affordable price points
- Recurring revenue
- Breaking the time-for-money model
- Leveraging technology to scale and increase margins
This next business grew MUCH faster than Everon did!
I had proved to myself that the fundamentals of ‘Services That Scale‘ were applicable to all kinds of services businesses…it was just a matter of figuring out how to apply them.
Off To The Races!
Since then, the great people I’ve been able to work with and I have built online service businesses, training businesses, software businesses, media business, eCommerce businesses, digital agencies, t-shirt businesses, and more.
We’ve built several of them into the multi-millions of dollars of revenue, sold one for millions of dollars…and yes, we’ve flopped, too!
We have also built communities of thousands of entrepreneurs, future entrepreneurs and business owners that we train, encourage, and mentor on applying the concepts of ‘Services That Scale’ to get leverage in their businesses and their lives.
Which Leads Us Here…
The world economy is now heavily based on service businesses, which have rapidly replace manufacturing industries as the foundation of healthy, growing economies.
In fact, over 78% of America’s GDP is accounted for by services industries, and represents over 80% of private employment.
Most of those jobs are at small businesses, which tend to be poorly run, very small businesses that don’t leave much at the end of the day for the very hard-working entrepreneur that owns them.
The prospects of the impact we could have by bringing the ‘Services That Scale’ best practices to thousands of businesses worldwide is what drives us now!
If we can help these small service business owners – Agencies, freelancers, consultants, etc – use the ‘Services That Scale‘ best practices to get leverage in their businesses and their lives – for more freedom, more money, and more impact – it will be our greatest win yet!