Mike Kahoe drives toward $100M at Group Management Services


Something to prove

Sales, though, continues to be the foot on the accelerator for GMS. However, sales is tough; it takes thick-skinned and relentless salespeople to be consistently successful. That’s why Kahoe hires fighters.

“I like people who have a chip on their shoulder because I have a huge chip on my shoulder,” he says. “Actually, I have two chips on my shoulder. Each one. But we like that, those are the people that are competitive. I like the kid who lost the state championship in wrestling at 189 pounds because of a bad call. I like the kid who was kicked off the football team a year because he stole a bottle of vodka. They’ve got stuff to prove.”

And it’s working. The company is approaching the $100-million mark in just its second decade.

As Kahoe watches the consolidation happening in the thriving PEO industry, he predicts that eventually there will be five to 10 big PEOs, and lots and lots of little ones, which presented him with a choice.

“I decided to be one of the bigger ones because there’s some tremendous advantages to being able to compete in all 50 states,” he says.

Kahoe has said publicly that GMS is chasing Cleveland Clinic to become Northeast Ohio’s largest employer — even if, because of the legal disposition of the PEO/employer relationship, it’s just a technicality. The company is a little more than halfway there.

His plan to close the gap? Fifty calls a day. Six appointments per week. Nine proposals a month.

“That’s why we want to just keep hiring more people and keep plugging along,” he says. “It’s like riding a bike: if you stop pedaling, the bike is going to fall. I feel like somebody’s been chasing me for 23 years.”


» Success comes one phone call at a time.
» Sales are great, but don’t forget about retention.
» Hire fighters. They have something to prove.