8. Rick Chernick, CEO, Camera Corner Connecting Point
So how do you build the world's ultimate digital age solution provider business? If you're Rick Chernick, you start with a tiny camera store founded by your father and build it into a $38 million business that sells and services -- yes, services -- all things technology from Sony TVs to HP servers and SANs to software like VMWare. Chernick dominates the Green Bay, Wisc., market by the force of his personality and the quality of his company's services.
We're not kidding when we say this is the model of the future. That means getting up at 4 a.m. with your top engineer and sales guy and making the four-hour drive to the sparsely populated upper peninsula of Michigan to win new business, making sales calls without breaking for lunch. And then, even as night settles in, rallying your troops to make sales calls to businesses that still have their lights on. There's a reason Chernick's top sales guy pleaded -- "For God's sake can we just go home?" Not if you want it to be the undisputed best in your market. Old school is new school. [read more]