David Bellini takes a lot of time when he’s hiring because he wants to make sure he’s got the right employees for the job. And once the CEO of ConnectWise has invested all that time and effort, he wants them stay awhile.
To ensure that they do, the leader of the $14 million information technology company gives his employees perks, such as catered lunches every day, to make sure they want to come to work in the morning. As the company has grown, it’s gotten expensive, but there is another benefit: efficiency. Employees who stay in the office for lunch aren’t out taking hour-and-a-half lunches.
Smart Business spoke with Bellini about how if you take care of the client, the growth will follow.
Q: How do you achieve business growth?
I’ve never been one of those people who are enamored with growth. I know some business leaders will look at me sideways and may not understand, but I’ve really been more concerned with adding more quality clients and doing the best service for them.
If you take care of the client and the customer, the growth thing will take care of itself. I’ve never set the goals that way. I’ve always set the goals as, ‘Let’s have this satisfaction level with clients. Let’s have the clients talk about it so much that they tell their friends about it.’
You take care of the customer, the rest will come. You’ll be forced into it because people will be knocking on your door saying, ‘I want to do business with you.’
Being a privately held company, we don’t have to answer to venture partners or public stockholders where we have to always be chasing a larger revenue. I could imagine that must be a very difficult way to live your life, to always be chasing more gross dollars. To me, it seems like a formula for disaster.
Q: How do you manage growth?
We want to keep quality of service as high as possible. Any time you have growth, especially if you have rapid growth, that’s always a little trickier to keep quality of service up to the standards you’ve had when you were smaller.
We’ve kept our team sizes the same, and we’ve just added more teams. That’s how we felt we could keep the intimacy with the customer. If you lose your intimacy with the customer, that’s the moment you lose the customer.
So each team will handle a certain number of clients and that’s it. After they’ve handled that many clients, we’ll set up a new team.
The client base we’re going after here is small business. Anyone with 150 computers or less, that’s our bread and butter. Smaller companies want to do business with other small companies. They typically don’t want to work with a large, bureaucratic vendor. They want to work with someone nimble and quick, just like they are.
The team structure has allowed us to stay small. We’re trying to mirror the decision team on the other side. It keeps the team as intimate with the client as possible.
Q: What are some pitfalls a CEO needs to avoid?
You need to make sure you spend enough time with your family. Sometimes people can get stuck in the office, taking care of business. But you’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of not only your own personal life, but your employees’ so they’re not over-burdened with tasks, that they have a life outside the company, as well.
We call it, ‘Go home on the weekends and recharge your battery.’ I don’t want anyone working over the weekend. Of course, it’s needed from time to time. We try to inform the significant other a few weeks in advance if they’re going to have to do some weekend work, so everyone understands ‘Not this weekend, but next weekend, Joe’s going to be working, he’ll be unavailable for the family stuff.’
Q: How do you attract quality employees?
After 25 years, I’ve figured out who’s going to fit in to our team well and who’s got the right type of personality. I’m also looking for longevity. If I can keep someone for a lifetime, I want to. The goal is always to keep employees as long as possible.
Why? It’s so much easier when you have that, you don’t even have to manage your company. It manages itself.
Also, I want to make sure we get the right people. Don’t jump to, ‘I know this guy, he’s a buddy of mine from down the street.’ It sounds like it’s just out of desperation, they need help, and they just jump to the first person who seems available. Don’t do that. Spend the right amount of time getting the right person for the job you’ve defined.
HOW TO REACH: ConnectWise, www.connectwise.com or (813) 463-4700