Rhonda Slotta Featured

9:53am EDT July 22, 2002

As founder and owner of The Development Center, a management consulting firm, Rhonda Slotta has seen tremendous growth in the company since its 1992 inception. But this past year was perhaps the most significant.

“We ended the year more than tripling the size of our revenue from where we ended in 1997,” when revenues were approximately $2 million, she says. The employee base more than doubled over that same period, growing from 21 to 50 employees.

Since the company is a service organization, it’s the people that keep things going, adds Slotta.

According to Slotta, the reason for the growth is clear. After compiling a huge amount of experience and expertise, the company developed a tight focus and niche, the ability to work with manufacturing companies and manufacturing software, helping companies not just implement the software, but integrate it with other software. Says Slotta, “We had to pursue a specific initiative that gave us the opportunity to grow.”

That opportunity surfaced when Andersen Consulting chose The Development Center to support its software with previously established customers, essentially taking over that part of Andersen’s business. After evaluating several companies, executives at Andersen chose Slotta and her team of employees because of their focused knowledge, capabilities and established relationships. That’s when The Development Center separated into two companies — TDCI Consulting LLC and TDCI Software LLC — to address this new opportunity.

“We learned that you have to develop an expertise and be able to leverage your capabilities,” Slotta says. Part of that means working with vendors rather than end customers. That’s because those vendors have many customers, explains Slotta.

“We got 100 customers by knocking on one door,” she says, noting her company pursued the Andersen contract for 2-1/2 years.

Slotta admits it is hard in the beginning to think about expertise, since you’re not really in a position to turn away business. Still, she believes that focusing has helped her company not try to be all things to all people.

“You start to stand apart from a lot of companies that are out there,” she says. “You develop an identity.”

Written by Lori Murray, a Columbus-based free-lance writer.