Written by Hope Tinney
SEATTLE, Wash. — How many small business owners have the budget to staff an IT department adequate for immediate needs and future growth?
Almost none, says Lance Becker, owner of Responza LLC, an IT consulting and service company for small and medium-sized businesses.
“Small businesses can afford one IT guy,” Becker says, “but they need five.” It’s not just a problem of personnel, but also of expertise. The IT responsibilities at a small business are a mile wide, but the skill set of the one or two IT pros may only be an inch deep in any given area. It therefore becomes costly for organizations to recruit, train, and retain the types of people and skills that they need to conduct their business.
Responza helps businesses overcome this challenge by bringing the expertise, rationale, rigor, and structure of enterprise-level IT to small and midsize businesses. Responza’s business model is based on IT best practices, the technical excellence of its staff around distinct disciplines, customized automation technologies, and a deep understanding of what IT services mean to a business, regardless of its size.
But Becker encountered some challenges of his own along the way. Early in the company’s history, it went through a period of rapid growth, taking on new clients at an exponential rate. “It was stretching our ability to deliver the quality of service that is our hallmark to the point of breaking,” said Becker.
In 2010 he began meeting with Michael Franz, a certified business advisor with the Washington Small Business Development Center.
“I engaged with Michael to focus specifically on how to manage high growth business. Michael came up with some truly brilliant ideas around organizational development, organizational processes, and customer management methodologies. Over the past several years we’ve been implementing changes according to Franz’s recommendations, and it has had a dramatic effect on our operational efficiencies and on our bottom line.”
In the beginning, Becker and Franz worked on strategic planning, including refining Responza’s business plan, and putting business systems in place. Just as Becker’s company works with clients to set up computer systems to optimize IT performance and their company’s growth potential, Franz worked with Becker to set up business systems that would allow Becker to quickly and easily monitor the financial health and growth potential of his company.
“Now,” says Becker, “business continues to boom, and our service to our customers has never been better. Franz’s recommendations (have) had a dramatic effect on our operational efficiencies and on our bottom line.”
For more information about Responza, go to www.responza.com