Carolinas IT | Raleigh, NC
Q: What’s your story?
As a Communications Officer in the Marine Corps, I worked with cutting edge technology developing and managing networks. It became a passion and with a little bit of research and training in civilian methods, I started Carolinas IT. We started out with just the two of us, but we envisioned a company where the clients felt like Carolinas IT was an extension of their own team, where high level IT talent could be utilized by small and medium sized businesses who otherwise would be unable to afford the level of quality that we could offer. Today, 18 years later, I feel like we’ve accomplished that.
Q: Describe your business:
Carolinas IT is a flexible technology solutions company specializing in the design, implementation and support of computer networking systems. We provide support via our 24 x 7 Network Operations Center in Raleigh, and also have developed our own private Cloud service. What makes Carolinas IT unique, however, is our ability and willingness to listen to our client’s needs and create custom solutions based on that requirement.
Q: How did you first meet the SBTDC?
I first met with my business counselor, Pete Donahue, about four years ago. We took a detailed look at every aspect of the company and came up with a list of focus areas and goals. So far we’ve tackled an HR overhaul, a restructuring of legal documents, a financial analysis with industry comparables, a focused business plan, and increasing the strength of the company.
The SBTDC has made us a stronger company by providing better intelligence, counseling, and resources. In a lot ways, it has been like a board of directors or an extension of our organization and team, which is how I’m modeling my own company to be a resource to our own clients.
Q: How has the SBTDC been able to help?
For the HR overhaul, we worked with Pete to complete an HR Audit. I am ready to admit that my focus and passion is with the customers and technology, so having an outside source give me feedback and help create a handbook was great.
Management also underwent a two-day leadership seminar where we analyzed how we see ourselves compared to how our clients see us. From this, we were able to make the company stronger for both our clients and employees and developed a business plan that is still effective.
A team of four students working towards their Masters in Accounting from Wake Forest University was paired up with us to assess the company’s market value, to see what we were doing right and compare the company to other similar companies in the area, which has been useful in identifying areas to continue strengthening the company.
Most recently we have worked with the SBTDC to learn more about pursuing government contracts in order to determine if this is a market segment we would like to pursue.
Q: Have you seen any growth since working with the SBTDC?
In the last year, our revenue has increased by 23%. In the last four years, we have increased the staff from 43 people to 55. We opened a branch office in Norfolk, Virginia and developed three new services that are available to clients – Managed Services, Cloud Services and implementation of Electronic Healthcare Systems. And we were recently honored as a Fast 50 Company of 2012 in the Triangle Business Journal.
UPDATE: Carolinas IT has since been honored as a Fast 50 Company in 2014!
Story originally featured in the SBTDC’s 2013-2014 Annual Report.
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She came across an ad for the SBTDC in Business North Carolina magazine and gave the number a call, which started her relationship with counselors Robin and Nick. “It can be so lonely as a business owner when you have to make hard decisions. They are my objective sounding board. They don’t have any skin in the game, so it has been really helpful getting their support and feedback to help me make decisions.”
The bottom line is: if you have a business and don’t make wise financial decisions, it doesn’t matter how passionate you are, you won’t stay in business long. That’s why the SBTDC is so instrumental to small businesses and start-ups. It’s free so you don’t have to pay for those resources.