- Company: 24×7 I.T. Solutions, Inc.
- Founded: 2001
- Headquartered: Portland, Oregon
- Geographic Market: U.S. West Coast, cloud clients as far as London
- Top Growth Indicator: Monthly recurring revenue
- YoY Percent of Growth: 28.2% for the last three years
- President/CEO: Randy Bankofier
What are the top three metrics that you use to measure your business and why?
We have four metrics that are really important, and the first is our monthly recurring revenue (MRR). When we first started in 2001, we were doing project work. We had the biggest ad in the yellow pages, and after a while, we got burned out on that model. We moved to the MSP model, and now all our clients are on a managed service agreement. We bill on the first of the month, and that way, we are able to make sure each of the agreements is managed properly.
Another metric we use is managed service agreement profitability. We’re measuring the profits per agreement and making sure each one makes sense for us. Customer service is important to us, so we also measure our average response time and how fast we get a technician working on each issue. Our customers enjoy our 24×7 help desk because they love getting that instant support when they need it.
We also measure reactive hours per endpoint per month (RHPM). That shows us how well we are doing at proactively managing our accounts. It’s important for us to know if we’re preventing problems or just reacting to them.
What is the top lesson you had to learn that allowed you to kick-start your business growth?
I had to learn that I couldn’t do it alone. No matter how hard I worked, I needed to build a great team. My plan was to build a great managed service practice, and I needed to learn how to hire and retain great employees to do that. In the end, it took the topgrading method — Dr. Bradford D. Smart wrote a great book about it — which has really helped us get a better percentage of strong, A-team players who meet our core values and work well in our business.
To kick-start our growth, the No. 1 thing I did was find the best people to build the team.
I’m still trying to learn to let go. When you start out all by yourself, you’re doing everything. Then, you build out the processes and hire more team members who can take on those roles. I would say a good key to our success has been daily meetings. We have a 15-minute Zoom meeting with all of our staff, and everybody goes through what they’re working on over the next 24 hours and any stuck points they may have so we can work it all out. We do our meetings right before lunch so there’s a built in endpoint.
It helps us keep a pulse on the company.
What would you say was the single secret to your success this past year?
We’ve got a fantastic team right now. Over the years, we’ve had our share of bad fits who somehow got through the process, but that’s why we’ve continued to get better at hiring, and we try to get a win-win for everybody.
This past year, another thing that has spurred our growth has been my bestselling book on cybersecurity. I was invited to write a chapter for the book “You Are The #1 Target,” and it ended up being No. 1 on Amazon in seven different categories. I think that has really helped our credibility, sales, and prospects.
At 24×7 I.T., we focus a lot on cybersecurity. Part of the chapter I wrote in that book was the 21 things I think every business should have to help protect them. In every single one of our plans, we include a minimum of 10 cybersecurity solutions and offer additional solutions as add-ons. We truly believe everybody needs these services to be protected.
We’ve picked up a couple of clients with military contracts, and they have to be compliant with all the government standards: NIST, ITAR, and DFARS. In reality, I think all businesses need to do that to protect people and their CEOs.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome this past year related to either reaching that growth or as a result of that growth?
I hear that there is about a 1% unemployment rate for IT professionals, and we’re in a growth mode, so our biggest challenge has been hiring A-players to join our team. We’re looking for people who can do the job and fit in with our nine core values. One of our core values is to support team members’ happiness and excellence.
Our success is dependent on the collective energy from all of our team members. Motivated people can really flourish and succeed at their highest potential here. We reward their effort. We have to in order to satisfy and delight our customers. Everything is about striving through teamwork to meet our client’s needs.
We’re committed to greatness. We’re ambitious achievers, and a lot of the time, I like to say we’re overachievers. We constantly stay in the forefront of the IT industry and learn new technologies. Our engineers love learning the newest things and implementing new technologies. We don’t sit on the sidelines; we like to be part of the game.
We also embrace differences and look out for one another. On our team, we might be doing different jobs, but we’re all part of the same team. We think and act as if we own the place. Wealth is created through profits and growth, so we’re looking for team members who are acting and thinking as if they’re an owner.
We are a team of high-performing players, and if somebody makes it through the interviewing process and it turns out we made the wrong hire, it is our belief that you can’t coach a C- or B-player to be an A-player.
We are always looking to hire great engineers. We’re trying to double the size of our business, and we need career-minded team members who love to help people and love technology. If you’d like to know more about our hiring process, go to 24x7IT.com/about-us/careers-it-jobs-near-me.
Who would you say is the most impactful business leader or business thought-leader whose techniques or leadership style you either try to emulate, you follow, or are influenced by and why?
Robin Robins of Technology Marketing Toolkit. She is the master guru on marketing and sales, and I continue to learn from her every day. I am greatly indebted to her teaching and training. She’s helped me learn how marketing is really done: by creating selling propositions, figuring out how to be different in the marketplace, and establishing an effective sales process. At the end of the day, you can be a fantastic engineer and the smartest IT guy who ever lived, but you have to be an expert at marketing and sales to really grow a business.
What book would you recommend that other MSPs or SMBs trying to grow their business should read?
“Hyper Sales Growth” by Jack Daly. He was a speaker at one of Robin’s conferences. I learned so much from him, like how to think like a sports coach. There are more coaches out there who run their team better than most CEOs run their businesses. Daly writes about how if you’re not training, you’re not gaining. You don’t practice with your prospects; you practice before you go out and play the game. Daly taught me about the importance of recruiting top sales performers, and creating culture by design is another thing he’s great at. You have to actually design the culture of the company you want. Otherwise, it will default to whatever is unintentionally happening.
In closing, any specific advice or words of wisdom that you would give to other MSPs looking to grow or build a successful exit for their business?
Learn how to be an expert in marketing and sales. It’s not just IT; you need strong marketing and sales to grow a business. Polish up your sales process so that it wows the prospect. If your salesperson isn’t getting to appointments on time or their proposals aren’t professional, you’re going to lose prospects. Really, it’s all about customer service.