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Tip No. 2: Get Into Virtualization
More than half of the solution providers on the Fast Growth list offer virtualization services. Don James, CEO of Bear Data (2010 Fast Growth No. 49), says it's one of the drivers of his business.
"We want to offer additional services to clients and be more than a supplier of hardware, offering assessments and services to grow customers' businesses. There is a need for virtualization services for every size client in the marketplace," said James. "Every end user has some sort of virtualization project. Companies are finding some application they can virtualize and therefore can save on some back-end infrastructure cost, whether that's hardware and software, power and cooling or space. We are seeing more of those [virtualization] projects coming to fruition."
And that has led James to continue hiring during the past two years, resulting in the addition of a number of offices. "You can't be afraid to hire. Yes, some projects have been pushed out. But you look at new geography or new markets. There is still IT spending."
With new hires, James feels it's important also to have a physical office location: "Some of our competitors feel they can have a person working out of a house. We pay for an office location, because we feel it gives us a better presence."
Tip No. 3: The Customer Is King
When the economy is in a rut, customers want to spend what money they do have with providers they trust and with which they have a good rapport. They’re worrying about their own sales -- so making it easier to do business with your company will go a long way toward customer loyalty.
"We went back to the basics and focused on customer experience and satisfaction. This not only helped with customer retention, but helped us grow our customer base -- we listened to our customers' needs and priorities, which helped guide us in our decision to widen our capabilities in adjacent lines of business," said Michael Souders, president and COO of Netarx (2010 Fast Growth No. 19). "We also concentrated on aggressive business development, and we invested in marketing to stay top-of-mind with our customers."