Republished from CRN, 9 Integrators: How I Made The 2013 Solution Provider 500
Among the companies named to this year’s Solution Provider 500 are 45 companies that are new to the list. CRN checked in with some of them to get a sense for what’s driving their growth, where they are finding success, how they are overcoming challenges and what makes them tick. Here’s what we found.
Giobbi: At the end of the equation, the VARs have to either choose to become an MSP and provide proactive IT on-site or they need to go into cloud. Most VARs and resellers are passing on building cloud because of the cost and liability. People want the personalized, boutique-like high-tech feel that they are used to, but with a cloud provider. That’s been our magic where we are giving a personalized cloud approach.
CRN: What’s new that prompted growth?
Giobbi: We figured out how to scale a vibrant culture that was unique, and now it’s taken on a life of its own. We needed one final piece in our puzzle; people needed to find a purpose in their work. They get paid well, but what’s the point of coming to work every day? So, we made an announcement last year of taking 1 percent of our top client sales, and giving that to nonprofits. Last year, we raised $200,000 but didn’t know where to give it to. So we formed an employee committee, set five guys out to ask each employee what their favorite charity was, and why it was personal to them. It crystallizes why people come to work especially when there’s a purpose behind it.
CRN: What was a customer ‘win’ that you are especially proud of within the last year?
Giobbi: We had a customer in North Carolina that had infrastructure on-site. Their disk on the VMware server got corrupted and their core database went down on a Thursday. We flew somebody out there on a Friday, and the backups weren’t working and the disks were corrupted. We sent their disk to a recovery center but from Saturday midday, we moved a decision to move them to our cloud, and by Monday evening we had all their data back for the provider. We had it 100 percent converted to cloud. We minimized downtime and accelerated the cloud.
CRN: What are you projecting for the rest of this year and into 2014?
Giobbi: We’re growing outside of Irvine, so we are building remote offices. We relocated four of our people and leased 5,000 square feet to Las Vegas. Basically our vision is to have 15-20 people and have this expansion outside of California where it’s tough to do business because of taxes and HR regulations.
CRN: What kind of sales growth do you expect for 2013?
Giobbi: We expect 20 percent; that’s our deal. We want a methodical and controlled growth. We want 20 percent per year, not 50 percent or 90 percent; it’s too disruptive.
CRN: How do you retain employees?
Giobbi: It’s the culture; it’s the self-directed model where you become your own boss. It’s given them a purpose of work, like the Non-Profit program, and it’s made the culture so irresistible. When their family and friends hear about what we’re doing, they say, ‘I’d like to work for that company.’ Whether it’s a Presidents Club or trip overseas for the first time in their life, a food truck that shows up or guacamole contest—all those small things are a motor for our employees that we’re thrilled about.
CRN: What makes you different as a leader?
Giobbi: I don’t personally think I’m that great of a leader. I think the main thing, which is probably a good cliché, is to let my employees do their job and stand out of their way. Having those early-on experiences, I’ve seen employees get taken advantage of and realized I was one of them. I represented my parents so I was an owner and employee. I was in an interesting in-between position; now I am sensitive to both perspectives, which makes it better to be here.