Working 90 HOURS A WEEK Just To Keep My Company From Shrinking!
I started CG Tech Services in 2004 as a one-man band. For a couple of years, it was just me running around doing everything…all the tech work, keeping up on technology and finding time to do the admin work. For a couple of years, we grew steadily through word of mouth. We’d take whatever work we could get and happily billed our hours, not knowing anything about managed services, target markets or USPs. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.
Eventually, ignoring marketing catches up with you. In 2008, as the Great Recession took hold, it hit us like a ton of bricks. We lost several architecture and construction clients, while our other clients didn’t have available funds for projects. We struggled. I was working 90 HOURS a week just to keep the company from shrinking! I was making less than EVERYONE on my team!
During the tough times of the recession, I gave myself until the end of 2012 to turn my business around. Otherwise, I was going to have to give up and close the doors. I couldn’t keep working 90 hours a week making as little as I did.
My “Oh SH*T” Moment!
While continuing to struggle with my business, I kept receiving marketing piece after marketing piece from Robin. Yes, I remember the Guatemalan Worry Doll, the pink paper and her audio CD. On March 19, 2010, I bit the bullet and bought Robin’s Toolkit.
I immediately started to listen to the CDs and got scared. Why? Because when I looked at the Service Provider Comparison Chart, we weren’t the option our prospects should choose. That was my “Oh sh*t” moment! While our clients loved us and we grew steadily through word of mouth, if other IT services providers were truly that much better than us, how on earth could we grow beyond our small team? How would we ever grow from working out of my house?
Our Warmest Welcome Became A $7K MRR Client!
I started with the Toolkit where I could, so I built a simplified Shock-And-Awe box. Mine looked pretty weak since I had to omit many of the service differentiators. A 100% money-back guarantee? Are you crazy?! But I DID need more clients, so into the box went the guarantee.
I remember sending our Shock-And-Awe box to a prospect and cringing in hopes that this marketing stuff would actually work. When I arrived for our first meeting, I was greeted with a big smile because they already knew who I was. It was the warmest welcome I’d received walking into a meeting with a bunch of strangers.
They were impressed with our Shock-And-Awe materials, signed up for our top-level plan and became our BIGGEST client at $7K monthly recurring revenue!
Robin To The Rescue
We continued to grow. I went to Boot Camp in 2011 and tried to put all of this marketing stuff together. But I have to admit, I didn’t feel my brain was wired for it. Every little piece of the Toolkit I put in place kept working. While I had not taken the big step to send a direct mail campaign, as I adopted more and more marketing principles, my mindset began to change.
Our Shock-And-Awe contents continued to develop, and we improved our service offerings. We landed a $10K per month client as a result! I was determined not to let my business shrink, so in September 2014, I signed up for Producers Club. It was like drinking from a fire hose! So many great ideas, but how do you implement them all?
In early 2015, we acquired what would soon become our largest client to date. In just six months, this 18-person engineering firm grew to 150 employees! Then, just three years later, they grew to 450 employees! I was so wrapped up in the tech projects and the amount of money they were sending our way, I didn’t step back to focus on the long-term health of my business. By the end of 2017, they represented 20% of our total revenue!
Today, that client is ready to leave us, so back to Robin I go! I signed up for her Rapid Implementation Workshop to hold my feet to the fire. This single workshop brings all the material together in an organized, step-by-step, stop-coloring-outside-of-the-lines focus that I really needed.
Winning Marketing Campaigns That Resulted In $4,595 In New MRR And $70K In Project Work!
On the first day of the Rapid Implementation Workshop, I sent out three 9-word e-mails to unconverted leads. I was surprised to hear back from ALL of them! This led to scheduling a security assessment and a promising meeting.
Next, we reached out to our clients to schedule quarterly business reviews (QBRs). As part of these meetings, I’m increasing my rates. This rate increase will grow our monthly recurring revenue by $3,237 and our monthly T&M invoices by an average of $819 a month. To date, we haven’t lost a client due to our rate increase! These meetings also generated about $539 in NEW MRR and approximately $70K in project work!
Then we chose a niche we have a lot of experience in: accountants and bookkeepers. Our marketing actions were as follows:
- Created a new TMT Pronto website: seattleaccountingtechsupport.com
- Customized an accountant- and bookkeeper-specific Shock-And-Awe box
- Developed our first ever USP
- Created our 10 Reasons To Choose Us
- Updated our testimonials and added our clients’ pictures
Our First Direct Mail Campaign Was A Potential $100K SUCCESS!
We pulled our first ever cold list from ReferenceUSA and narrowed our focus to accountants and bookkeepers in the Greater Seattle Area with five to 50 employees. Using Robin’s Done-For-You List Cleaning Service to scrub the list, we ended up with 187 contacts.
We also sent out a generic version of Robin’s Stupid/Irresponsible sales letter to our newsletter list. We excluded our current clients and had 76 contacts that were unconverted leads, networking prospects as well as former clients.
The response was better than we expected! We had two former clients and two unconverted leads schedule sales meetings. These managed services opportunities are worth a total of $100,315! Plus, a third prospect is considering moving their physical servers into our cloud environment.
In order to keep track of all moving parts, we used the pre-built campaign templates from Technology Marketing Toolkit in Infusionsoft, signed up for TurboDial for following up and hired a marketing admin to help prepare the mailings and do the follow-up calls. Without Robin’s templates and tools, I’m not sure how we could keep track of all of this and be efficient with our time.
Starting all the way back with our first Shock-And-Awe box to marketing to a specific industry, we are seeing the results. My biggest takeaway from Robin has been about building the systems, scripts and processes to work in concert with each other. Like she has said, there is no one thing that makes this work. It’s the multiple pieces working together with constant improvement that delivers the results you want.