TechSquad IT’s year of record growth in profit, staff and client base in 2012 hinges on one word: execution.
The Information Technology (IT) services company, based in Waukesha, grew its gross sales from about $405,000 in 2011 to about $1.5 million in 2012, increased net profit by 131 percent and boosted monthly recurring revenue by 47 percent from 2011 to 2012. The startup company also gained nearly 20 new contract clients in the past year and added to its staff, increasing its workforce by more than 50 percent.
Today, TechSquad IT serves about 45 contract clients total, mostly small- to mid-sized businesses and organizations in greater Milwaukee, with cloud operations, IT consulting, and email and spam protection among other IT functions. The company also offers email hosting and Website hosting services and sells technology like PC servers and the Mondopad display unit to about 205 non-contract customers.
“One of the things that I really try and focus on is master the strategy and delegate the execution,” said Chris Wiser, chief executive officer and founder of the IT services firm.
Following this business philosophy, TechSquad IT and its staff of 13 internal employees ramped up their planning, marketing and sales strategies throughout 2012 with a much more concerted approach and an emphasis on structure.
“We went from being kind of sporadic and being kind of all over the place to actually having a plan (and) actually executing the plan,” Wiser said.
The company creates weekly and monthly plans to gauge its sales and marketing progress. Within the plans, TechSquad IT tracks the number of leads its sales force generates, the leads that turn into opportunities and the opportunities that turn into closes.
“In business and in the real world everything measured improves,” Wiser said.
TechSquad IT also incorporates the events and Webinars that it hosts each month as well as email campaigns, newsletter distribution and other marketing tactics into its weekly and monthly plans. Wiser hired a full-time marketing director last May to monitor and update the plans as needed.
The Neosho, Wis., native, who has been in the IT industry since the beginning days of Yahoo! and AOL, has made a point to assemble a team of capable employees who complement his strengths and weaknesses with their own and who build on the company’s customer-centric attitude.
“One of the biggest things we do is we really, really focus on the customer service side,” Wiser said. “We really, really focus on trying to make our clients as happy as possible.”
Brian Collins, executive producer at TechSquad IT, came on board in 2011.
“The biggest distinguishing factor (of TechSquad IT) is that even when there’s issues that we have to have resolved with our clients, they’re generally happy to hear from us because they know there’s going to be nothing in the way of getting the problem solved,” Collins said.
Customer satisfaction has heavily consumed the company’s energy from its inception. Wiser launched TechSquad IT in 2004, regrouping after struggling to leverage a separate computer company, Wisconsin PC, that he had started at the end of 2000. In February 2008, TechSquad IT merged with another IT company, but Wiser bought the company out in December 2011. TechSquad IT has tripled in size since.
Much of Wiser’s professional success has emerged from his own drive to take risks.
“A lot of us that are entrepreneurs are big-time risk takers because there’s not a whole lot of upfront capital that you start with,” Wiser said.
With an original intention to pursue mechanical engineering, Wiser’s plans diverted after two years of higher education. The summer following his freshman year, he secured a job on the help desk of a Slinger-based Internet service company, N Connect, which no longer exists. While Wiser’s initial responsibilities involved helping Internet users connect to the Internet and navigate it, within six months he excelled to run the entire service side of N Connect where he began to work full time.
By mid-2000, Wiser branched out with an entrepreneurial mindset to activate his own computer company.
Today, outside TechSquad IT’s Waukesha headquarters, Wiser has risen up through Milwaukee’s IT market into the national spotlight. In January, Wiser’s third book, “The Tech Multiplier,” hit shelves and claimed a ranking on Amazon.com’s bestseller list. Also in January, Wiser was featured in Forbes magazine in a story titled “America’s PremierExperts Presents: Forecasts & Strategies for the New Year & Beyond,” which highlights industry professionals’ advice on ways to thrive in business.
In February, Wiser headed to Washington, D.C. to lobby for a set of national standards for data breach notification as well as supported Startup Act 3.0, which would allow tax breaks for investments in technology startups. In March he took third place in the international “Better Your Best” competition, a contest hosted by Wiser’s business coach, Robin Robins, recognizing IT professionals who have expanded their companies through creative marketing strategies.
Looking forward, Wiser will appear in a television show called “Profiles of Success” on the Biography Channel this May. The show, which captures the stories of individuals who have constructed their own success, traces Wiser’s entrepreneurial ventures as he has grown TechSquad IT from the ground up.
Producers of the show selected Wiser after meeting him through Robins.
The core values that Wiser applies to his business practice set him apart from other entrepreneurs, said Amardeep Kaleka, of Neverending Light Productions. Kaleka served as co-director of the film.
“Some of Chris’ core values are an unselfishness to help other people, and he tries his best to keep other people’s businesses secure,” Kaleka said. “He helps them understand information technology, which is like a jungle to most people. He tries to simplify it down and make it easy for people, but he does it in a very human way.”
The production crew also admired Wiser’s respect for his employees and the way “he treats every one of his employees like a family member,” Kaleka said.
“He looks out for them,” Kaleka said. “They look out for him. And in a small entrepreneurial startup, that’s a necessary item.”