Episode 10 – Scott Wittstock – Fidelis Inc.

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Episode 10 – Scott Wittstock – Fidelis Inc.

Welcome to the Confessions of an IT Business Owner podcast. In this episode, you’ll learn about some profound struggles related to owning and growing an IT business from the perspective of Scott Wittstock, CEO of Fidelis Inc.

This episode is sponsored by 5stepmarketing.com and BVOIP.com. Check out Josh Whitford and his offering at 5stepmarketing.com/audit, and learn more about the perfect channel only offering for your IT firm and MSP business at BVOIP.com.

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Ryan Goodman: Welcome to The Confessions of an IT Business Owner Podcast, where we believe that healthy cash flow is critical for your IT business, automation is paramount, and building trust with your clients by looking professional will help grow your business. I’m your host, Ryan Goodman, and today you’ll learn about some profound struggles related to owning and growing an IT business, and how Scott Wittstock, from Fidelis Inc., overcame them.
Scott Wittstock: Remember, your service is worth something. Don’t undervalue yourself by giving away free or gimmicky things. The free network assessment seems like a good idea, but is it really? That’s a lot of work.
Ryan Goodman: Here’s the podcast with Scott.
Ryan Goodman: Well, Scott, welcome to the call. Thanks for joining us on our podcast here today. I have a whole list of questions for you, so I hope you’re ready for the interrogation. Again, thanks for joining us. To get the basics out of the way, why don’t you give us your business name, and where people can find the business, and you, online.
Scott Wittstock: Thanks for having me. The business is Fidelis, Inc., and that comes from Semper Fidelis, from my Marine Corps roots. You can find us on fidelisnw.com.
Ryan Goodman: Awesome. Now, as I did … I did a little bit of research on your company, as I always do before I jump into these interviews, and you have a whole bunch of interesting things that I found about your business. I always have this stack of questions that I use to uncover and learn things about the individuals that I’m talking to, but just in your intro, you made a reference as a Marine, and your business name tying back to your military service. I’d love, first of all, to thank you for your service to all of us, and all of us listening, but also that’s obviously had an impact on your business, and I’d love to learn how the military service … Did it get you started in technology or is there a tie-in there, or did you trip upon this business by accident?
Scott Wittstock: It did not get me started. It started in high school. I worked for a neighbor’s company, started out in the warehouse of a telecom company. That was starting around 15. I’ve always been a serial entrepreneurial person. I’m always tracking money, trying to figure out how to make more. I think it’s always been the chase that’s been exciting. I went through the steps of understanding what they were doing. It was really interesting. The next year, next summer, I worked for them again, starting pulling cable.
Scott Wittstock: Shortly after that, I realized I didn’t want to go straight to a college. The plan was always to go to college after serving the country. I wanted to be really challenged, come from some deep sports wrestling roots, and things like that. I really loved the physical aspect of what the Marine Corps was going to bring to the table. I then added in, I wanted to do some level of communications. As a young punk, I didn’t really know what that meant, when signing up for the Marine Corps. That could be the guy that yells and screams at others. That could be the guy that communicates, “Your order’s up.” It’s a very general term.
Scott Wittstock: Through a series of events and trainings and other opportunities, I ended up in, started off, as a field radio operator. I finished top of my class, and they had a couple slots for the next level, so then I went to a multichannel equipment radio operator, dealt with microwave signals and basically early days of military PRIs. We were sending data across these [pipes, inaudible 00:04:14]. I did my four years of that and got out, got a job immediately back in the industry in the telecom side, and then it went from there.
Ryan Goodman: At what point did you start your business?
Scott Wittstock: I started my business officially in 2008.
Ryan Goodman: Was that a prompt from dissatisfaction with an existing job, or is that just the natural progression of your serial entrepreneur nature?
Scott Wittstock: When I got out of the Marine Corps in the late ’90s, I joined one company that then again became another company, then again got assumed by another company.
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: My position and my job didn’t change, but my business card kept changing. It was right around the last acquisition. We got taken over this time by a bigger, well not bigger, but hostile … It was hostile.
Ryan Goodman: Sure.
Scott Wittstock: I lasted for about six months before I made up my mind that I’m going to go do something different. I had no idea what that meant at the time. I had contract opportunities left and right, so that’s what I thought I was going to do. Then, somewhere along the line, I became an MSP.
Ryan Goodman: Sure, and I think that evolution will resonate with a lot of individuals’ dissatisfaction maybe with their current state. They’re good at what they do. Lots of opportunity thrown at them, and the next thing you know, you have a business on your hands, and now what, right?
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, and I’ve had businesses before, always side things. I’ve done everything from flipping homes to, even when I had that other job, I started working on personal computing side of business, home residential stuff, little flyers, things like that, just to make a little extra money, but I don’t know if it was ever really about the money. I think it just fed this constant challenge, and I really enjoyed that. That’s how I got my start.
Scott Wittstock: Even though I was telecom, I did large PBX. I didn’t get out of bed for anything that didn’t have a thousand phones. I had unified messaging. I went all the way back to Windows NT, XP. I’ve been through all those evolutions, as we were doing early days of unified messaging. We were doing early days of data backup, tapes, things like that. There was a lot of things just put on us, as telecom professionals. I did more colleges, airlines, hospitals. Those are the customers that came over with my new company. That’s what happened.
Ryan Goodman: As those customers rolled into the newly found managed service business, what were some of the surprises that you encountered? Were you taking on more work now for those individual clients, and was some of it unexpected, or was it pretty much the status quo of what you had handled for them previously?
Scott Wittstock: I believe most of it was unexpected.
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: One of the surprises I had into the more information technology, the IT side of the world is how I felt it was very undisciplined. A lot of people have a different idea of how to do it versus what I came from, definitely my Marine Corps roots, or definitely how I came from the telecom roots. Telecom’s been around a long time. There’s color codes. The standards are a lot more tight, right? This industry, I saw that one person had an idea, and generally they were a technician. They’d never really ran a sizable project, where they had to do these large deployments and large communications, constant … I’ve always said, and probably back to my Marine Corps roots, “In the fog of war, those that communicate win.”
Scott Wittstock: I just went that approach, and one thing led to another, that someday an airline called me and said, “Hey, can you take on this Windows 7 upgrade and run the whole project for us. It started more on a PMing side, I think, as a project management side, and then, before I know it, they have full-time Fidelis employees out on their sites. It just … We have a dedicated service group. It’s something that we offer with our MSP plans. We can have dedicated there 40 hours a week. We have some plans that that’s one day a week, half days, just a pattern.
Scott Wittstock: I really like standards, because it really makes it easier. That’s what I think I brought to the table for some of these organizations. You hear, a lot of times, the virtual CIO. I really think we are playing that, but we’re not virtual. We’re actually being contracted to be the CIOs and technicians. There’s different levels. I think it’s become a little cliché or unfair to call everyone a virtual CIO, because what experience does a technician have? It’s really the technology. Does that make them good at writing HR policies and those type of things? I think it’s an unfair term these days that people are using.
Ryan Goodman: I hear you, and I think the model is really interesting, how it evolved, and the way that those employees and those resources literally do become even an onsite extension, like you had mentioned, of that business, pushing your clients initiatives forward.
Scott Wittstock: Yep.
Ryan Goodman: That sounds like a huge win. When you had mentioned that the airline had called up, it started this project management and then evolved into more, I’d really like to build on that. What are some of the other wins that you’ve celebrated inside of the business?
Scott Wittstock: You know how everyone says, “What’s your vertical?”
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: Mine is like, “Do you have a project?” Some of my wins have been hospitals. We’ve done everything from large scale cable projects to DAS deployments, distributed antenna system deployments. Sometimes we’re the provider of the equipment and the installer, or sometimes we’re just the project management team. We’ve gotten that.
Scott Wittstock: One that we just completed up is the Seattle Monorail. This is a pretty big Seattle icon. It’s one of the only functioning monorails in the country. They weren’t able to take credit cards on either end. They came to us and said, “What’s your solution? Do you have any?”
Scott Wittstock: We ended up taking our team and running fiber down the line, an end-to-end solution to help them build it all out, address security, those type of concerns we had. We just wrapped that one up. We have a couple school districts that we help service around the area. It’s just a really interesting mix.
Scott Wittstock: Some of our customers are IT customers. Some of them are just a local digital cabling group. Some just are our voice. We do our business telephone systems. Then, our favorite customers are the ones that it’s all three. It really helps us. We’re not all the same technicians, the same planners, the same project managers. It’s really ran as three different entities inside Fidelis.
Ryan Goodman: Sure, that makes sense. We’re set up very similar in our structure in our organization, too, so I definitely understand that. Now, how are you acquiring your customers? A couple questions around that: Are you doing anything specific for marketing, because you said you’re not really focused in a vertical? Do you feel like it’s your marketing, or is it a byproduct of the standardization and the model that you’ve created that’s helping attract people to you? Is that word of mouth, or is it being very intentional through outward marketing of your process that’s bringing these deals in for you?
Scott Wittstock: Number one, excellent question. I ask myself this very question. It’s like, “How do we keep doing it?” Marketing is … I’ve tried. I’m not great at it. It’s not what I do. What we do is I think we approach it as treat the customer as a human being. The technology is just a tool that they use. You don’t-
Ryan Goodman: You’re right.
Scott Wittstock: I think it’s just really, honestly, a word of mouth. We do a lot of functions. We’re plugged into the area. We support local fundraising, nonprofits. We attend their events, and always, if they’re a customer, we always try to give back, and those things are helpful to us, but it’s just something we do. I don’t think … It’s not with a motive, and I think that just resonates with all of our clients.
Scott Wittstock: I built my entire organization around caring for each other, and I think it just trickles out. I would love to learn how to get my message out there more, but then there’s the reality of, if we get too many clients, can we actually service our excellent clients we already have. If we still have to grow … I want growth. Don’t get me wrong, but I want intelligent growth. I don’t want to have to just throw a bunch of bodies at it, and then not deliver a quality product. I think those are just things … In a nutshell, it’s been word of mouth over the years. It started with one phone call, one connection, one person that knew I could do it or knew one of my team members could do it, and it just keeps on … It’s one giant Fidelis snowball around Seattle right now.
Ryan Goodman: That’s awesome, man. Well, keep it rocking. It’s a great answer, and I think everybody’s going to appreciate that insight. I think there’s a lot of ways to skin the cat, so to speak. Ew, that sounded kind of rough, but-
Scott Wittstock: I get it, though. No, it’s true. It’s just like any … In this industry, there’s just so many different ways to approach it. It’s fine and not … Most of them are correct. Some of them are just, it’s just an idea. It’s okay to have the ideas, but I think one of the best ways to approach some of these things is just simply know what you don’t know and to go, “I need to hire professionals to be” … I understand how plumbing works. It does not mean I know how to plumb. I get what a roof does, but I’m not going to be up on my roof, roofing it.
Scott Wittstock: It’s just like how we use partners like ConnectBooster. I mean, I realize that I’m not good at that. I don’t know how to process a credit card. I don’t know how to process this stuff. I’m not trying to be my [knock, inaudible 00:15:43]. I’m going to contract those services out. It’s just something that started to make sense and, over time, these are things that I started to implement as like, if you can hire it, it’s probably a better deal.
Ryan Goodman: Right, and I think what you’ve just described is the difference between a self-employed person and a business entrepreneur that’s working to build systems, right? There can be a big difference between that, and a lot of times people need to cross that threshold if they want, and if that’s inside of what they’re trying to accomplish inside of their building. Being self-employed is a lot different than being a business systems owner and building out the systems as an entrepreneur, and you need to leverage yourself. Obviously, it’s worked well for you guys, that model.
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, I definitely feel like it has worked really well. I honestly could step away from my business right now, and my business would run. I’ve been building that since day one. I’m in it because I enjoy it. It’s still really fun. I love the … It’s so great to be in this type of industry that just keeps on changing and growing, changing and growing. It’s fun to be a part of that. I like that. I feed off of that.
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Ryan Goodman: Now, back to the show.
Ryan Goodman: We have alluded a little bit to business growth. One of the things I noticed, as I was doing a little research, was you’ve made some acquisitions, and M&A is happening like mad in our space right now. Internally, we encounter it all the time, when we have two different partners that use ConnectBooster that are merging up into one, or one gets sold. I’d love to learn just a little bit more about how you’d come across these deals. What was awesome? Also, what was a struggle, and what have you learned through each one of these?
Scott Wittstock: We’ve done it three times, officially. There’s been a couple others, just by hiring someone that you kind of acquired their business. What I’ve seen on these is generally it’s when someone wants to step back and just go back to their own roots of, “Hey, I really like the technical end of this,” or, “I really like being the sales guy,” or whatever role, where they realize that, “Hey, I can’t get past this next step. I’ve plateaued.” It’s hard to get past it. You can’t be the only guy that answers the phone. You can’t be the only guy that can do it.
Scott Wittstock: Some people struggle getting past that point, so what I’ve realized is they’re out there. When there’s the smaller shops that want health benefits, that want 401(k)s, want company vehicles … Frankly, one of the hardest parts of our industry is all that back office work, the HR components, the billing, the payroll. That’s hard. That’s hard for us. That was what … When you go, “Hey, I’m going to go start a business in IT, because I know it’s a well” … What we all forget is all businesses have that stuff. That is where my learning curves were, and I got past that.
Scott Wittstock: I think I find those people that are just … They’ve already partnered with us on other deals, and then they realize, “Hey, this isn’t so bad over here, to join this team and just to go back to my basics of, hey, I get a paycheck, but I have great benefits, and now I get to take some time off. I actually get to build a retirement,” because the problem is, as these business owners go through, they’re going to hit … A lot of these guys, I think, are going to hit 60 and go, “Oh, my gosh, my business really isn’t worth what I thought it was.”
Scott Wittstock: That’s what I think they all run into, or could, that it’s just … The value is not what you made on the top line. It’s honestly what’s going to come in the next five years from your … Your bottom line in the next five years is what’s interesting to these acquisitions. I’m getting pinged left and right on it, too. People are trying to acquire us. My response to them is, “Nope, I’m in the buying business, not in the selling business, at this point,” because I’m not done. What am I going to do? I’m 41 years old. I have a lot of time. I don’t know what I would do. I would just start another business, so I’m good.
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: Challenges, number one, I would say, culture is probably your biggest … People being able to let go of being in charge is hard.
Ryan Goodman: Sure.
Scott Wittstock: I used to be able to just show up and do what I did, charge my credit card how I want, all those things. Those are always the hard parts for the former owners, because they got to do that before. Negotiating the deal is also very challenging, because you have to be the guy to break it to that potential business owner their business isn’t worth as much as they think. That’s hard. That’s a hard conversation to have with someone. I stopped having it, truthfully, and I told them to … I recommend three or four M&A companies and say, “Go get a real estate agent that’s for a bigger business. Get a partner that this is what they do.” It’s like, “Don’t make me decide what your company’s worth. I don’t know. Let me know when you have a price tag on that.”
Scott Wittstock: I do shake a lot of them that are interested in doing this, at that point, because there’s a lot of legwork to that, and they realize that it’s generally, “Well, I made $600,000 this year, top line,” but what did you make bottom line, and how much of it is recurring revenue. I mean, if you quit tomorrow, would you still have a business, or were you the business? What am I acquiring here? I’m not buying people. Those are always things that are interesting conversations to have around people.
Scott Wittstock: We like to structure our deals around the actual profit a client brings in, because sometimes on paper things look great. That does not mean that company is not going to fold or get purchased themselves. I can tell you that, unfortunately, that clients are lost just simply because some new player got hired, and they have their own idea. I can’t guarantee those prices. That’s how we do it. We structure it based of, “Hey, we’re going to give you a job, and then we’re also going to pay you for everything your recognized organization is going to bring in, and we’re going to bring over your best employees, as well, and anyone you want us to bring on,” because that’s the other thing. I cared so deeply about my employees. If I was going to be acquired, I was going to make sure that I was going to protect them, because I would be nowhere without these people. Does that help?
Ryan Goodman: That’s really good insight, not only from a process, but also for people to understand. As they’re building their business, they need to be thinking about exit, and they need to be thinking about what are my sources of revenue? What does my leverage look like? Because without leverage, and without that recurring revenue element, you’re right. There’s not a lot there. If you’re exiting the business, and there’s not an employment opportunity, they’re not buying you, right? I mean, they can’t buy potential future revenue. We’re hoping to have locked in, contract, recurring revenue.
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, yeah, and I started working myself … My entire mission has been to work myself out of my own job each level. Right now, I do a lot of the work with our blog and website. I can’t wait to hand those things off, you know? I don’t know what I would do next, but I’ll just move onto the next mission. Throughout the years, I love jumping back in on project management. That’s one I always like getting back to, because it’s just fun. It can really prove your value, and I just will pick the larger projects.
Scott Wittstock: I love doing training now. That’s one of my favorite components of what I do, is going and sitting down with … I normally hold … For executives or senior management only, I will hold training for cybersecurity, best practices on things like Outlook and things like that, but I really reserve it to the senior management and decision makers. For me, that’s a practice I like. I’m not saying I’m above any user, but I need to really talk to them about what these things actually look like and, by not putting BitLocker on a computer that, when their car gets stolen … It’s really important for executives to hear their exposure, because what ends up happening is executives in these organizations, yes, with their big fat salaries also comes the responsibility, when that goes south, that you’re the one that’s fired.
Scott Wittstock: You can only plead so much ignorance on these type of things. I love getting in front of them and talking in a more business sense, less about the technology and more about the HR policy, the handbook policy, those things. I really like that. I really do. That’s been really fun for me. We try to hold those in our local community events in our city. We try to just stay focused, as close as we can, to the business, just for … It’s better for everyone. We’re right down the road.
Scott Wittstock: We hold those, and we try to get people to attend those. The best part I like about it is I’m never really selling them. I’m just really telling them what I believe in. Sometimes it feels maybe sales-y, but it’s not. It’s really like … I’ll talk about password security. “I love LastPass.” I have nothing to do with LastPass, other than I’m a user. It’s just I like those type of things. They’re really exciting, and I’ve always liked that.
Scott Wittstock: I’ve always been a coach. I’ve been coaching, for 20 years, a wrestling team. I love coaching. I love building up the wrestlers over the years. I’ve done that in the Marine Corps, too. I just love building not only an organization. I really like building people. I really like elevating people.
Ryan Goodman: Well, I think, at least for me, you’ve really helped unlock the key to your success in your business and in life by the way that you’re approaching these things and investing the time into people and process. I think that’s really valuable information here that you’re sharing with all of us. I appreciate that.
Ryan Goodman: I am going to shift gears a little bit. If you could talk to your younger self, after seeing what you’ve accomplished, all the successes, struggles, that you’ve been through, what type of wisdom would you try to impart onto your younger self?
Scott Wittstock: Not all customers are good customers. You can’t be all things to all people. I really would go back, and I think in a couple scenarios I really should’ve went with my gut. My gut was not wrong, but I didn’t want to let others down, and so eventually I got to the point where I had to make that hiring or firing decision, either a customer or employee, business partner, whatever it was, where my gut, in the early phases of that, was right, and I let it go, go, go, because I thought I could make it work, or in the end I just didn’t want to hurt someone.
Scott Wittstock: What I ended up doing instead is hurting everyone else that worked really hard, or us, unfortunately, my wife that has to hear all of my monologues that I go on. Those type of things, the stresses. Really, in the end, we get to the same place anyway. I really wish the whole adage of hire slowly, fire quickly … I wish I would go back and, on a couple of those cases, I probably would not have as much gray hair.
Ryan Goodman: Right, easy in theory, tough to practice.
Scott Wittstock: Oh, yeah. I’ve done better at it, but then it’s a fine balance, though, too. It’s like you don’t want to become a cold person either.
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: That was definitely some things. Oh, that, and I wish I would’ve started it 10 years earlier.
Ryan Goodman: Right.
Scott Wittstock: I had the tools and the abilities. I’m sure it happened for a reason. Also, 2008 was an interesting year to choose to start a business.
Ryan Goodman: Start up, yeah.
Scott Wittstock: I can tell you, we’re really frugal because of it, though.
Ryan Goodman: I bet.
Scott Wittstock: We’re really careful with money, and I think it’s that you got scared. At least I didn’t have to … Other businesses had to lay off people and deal with things there. I was starting to build a business in that, and if I earned a customer, I tried to keep them, because I didn’t know where our next paycheck was going to come from. That was scary times. We got through it pretty quickly. In 2010, things started really shifting around.
Ryan Goodman: That’s awesome. From what I remember right, that also marked the year of one of your first acquisitions. Is that correct?
Scott Wittstock: It is, yeah. I would’ve done that one a little differently. That was my first one. That was one that I was already partners with them. I was prepared to just go in there and go, “I’m done. I can’t handle you guys.”
Scott Wittstock: I was polite, and they said, “Hey, we want to speak first.”
Scott Wittstock: I’m like, “Oh, okay, go for it. What do you need?”
Scott Wittstock: “Well, we want you to take us over.”
Scott Wittstock: “What?” I was dumbfounded, and that’s what ended up happening. One or two of their employees are still with me to this day and most of their customers. The end result was great. How I handled it … I needed it to learn, though. I would not discredit that.
Ryan Goodman: Unfortunately, growth does not come without pain, right?
Scott Wittstock: No. Now you see people that win the lottery are broke, right? Something that’s just handed to you … If you do not go through the disciplines of the bumps and bruises, I don’t know if you can really … I don’t know if humans work like that. We can’t just be simply handed … We desire achievement, but I think it’s better to have a pat on the back for the hard work than it is just handed to us. That’s at least what I believe now.
Ryan Goodman: Agreed. It’s empty without paying the price. I think that’s encouragement to everybody that’s an entrepreneur listening to this, that maybe isn’t to the point where Scott is at yet. Keep working. Don’t give up.
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, definitely. We joke. It’s just, “Open that door. Hard work inside.” I mean, that’s what it does take. We all see those success stories, companies that just grew overnight. In the service industry, can you really do that? I don’t think we can, unless we’re creating a product that just catches on, that’s a viral product or a solution, an inventive side of things that creates something.
Scott Wittstock: In the service industry, it’s disciplined. It’s earned. It takes longer to build some traction. Stick to it, anyone that’s doing it. If you like it, there’s plenty of business in all of these regions. Frankly, more people need to be out there helping us. We are going to be overwhelmed with security needs here in the future.
Ryan Goodman: Agreed. That trend is blowing up.
Scott Wittstock: It’s a trend forced on us. We’re not choosing to be these targets, but it’s there. From small to big, it’s going to need experts to help fix it when it happens and help prevent it. I think it’s more of a team effort here. That’s where this … There’s a level for all of us, and I think everyone should search for their vertical, their niche. Just try to find it. Don’t … If you’re listening to me and then go, “Oh, you can do an airline, and you could do that.” I don’t know. I don’t know if I would tell anyone that they could stumble upon it that way. If you get really good at one thing, stick to that. If it’s one product, one type of customer, just be really good at that. It works.
Ryan Goodman: Sure, awesome advice. To wrap things up here, what would be the number one point you want to drive home to other peers that you have listening to the podcast?
Scott Wittstock: Remember, your service is worth something. Don’t undervalue yourself by giving away free or gimmicky things. Don’t … The free network assessment seems like a good idea, but is it really? That’s a lot of work. Value your work. An engineer or an architect doesn’t give away the floor plans without someone becoming their client first. I think there’s a fine line between doing something that’s … Understanding that to try to earn a customer, earn the customer. Don’t buy the customer.
Scott Wittstock: I think that would be one thing that I wish I would see out there a little bit more, because you run up against these providers that, “Oh, we do this free, free, free, free.” There’s nothing free. We all should know that by now. There’s just simply nothing for free. It is … If we’re going to just run a tool, that’s fine. Call it what it is.
Scott Wittstock: That’s something I would recommend is just really search for customers that want to use technology to enhance their business and don’t view it as a burden to their business. Find people that base it off of value, not price.
Ryan Goodman: There are lots of businesses out there that know they need help to scale.
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, every one of these businesses now have a computer, and every one of them needs help. Whether they believe that or not is a different story. That is something that I … Just don’t undervalue what you can bring to the table. I’m not saying go out there and charge millions of dollars for running a network assessment tool, but I find that’s something … “Well, this company’s going to give a free network assessment.”
Scott Wittstock: “Okay, great. What does that mean?” That’s what we’re seeing out there now. Our competition’s a little different than it used to be, even a few years ago. We have … I mean, now if you look at it, every copier company’s an MSP, every telecom company. Even the big players, like CenturyLink and those guys, are offering MSP services. They sell Office 365 now. You’ve got cable companies and every former equipment dealer, or phone system equipment dealer, now says MSP on their website.
Scott Wittstock: We have a lot of new competition, as well as a lot of opportunity for everyone, but I hope we’re not going down to a race to zero kind of game, where it’s going to be a commodity, not a value that we’re going to bring to customers. The more people that are out there going, “Hey, we should stop doing this, because our business has a value. Our engineering and our skills have a value” … I think it’s something to be very cautious about. I know it’s hard, as you’re growing your business. You just fight for every scrap you can get, at some point, but I don’t know how to get past that. I think you should just set your sights on getting past that.
Ryan Goodman: Right, and I think that’s the point of how you’ve grown the business is, yes, we all have to reach that next level. It’s not easy, and oftentimes there’s not shortcuts, but those are also the opportunities that you’ve looked for in growing your business and acquiring those. You’re ready to embrace the chaos, so just be ready to get through it.
Scott Wittstock: Yeah, yeah, I know it’s hard. Like I said at the beginning that wars that are won during the fog of war are those that communicate. Just keep it up. That’s what we try to do. We’d never say we were perfect at anything, but we keep striving to be.
Ryan Goodman: Well, Scott, it was awesome having the conversation. Lots of great information and wisdom, and I want to thank you for joining us. Hey, hopefully we can do this again. Maybe we’ll talk about the next acquisition in the future.
Scott Wittstock: I would love it. Thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate it. I enjoy every podcast you send out. It’s nice to hear what other people are doing. I enjoy it. Thank you.
Ryan Goodman: Before we end today’s episode, we’d like to thank our sponsors, 5 Step Marketing and BVoIP. Don’t forget to take advantage of your free one-hour marketing strategy session with Josh and his team. That link, again, is 5stepmarketing.com/audit. That’s the number 5, 5stepmarketing.com/audit. Check out BVoIP if you’re looking to improve your telecom strategy. You can find BVoIP online at BVoIP.com.
Ryan Goodman: Thanks again for joining us today on The Confessions of an IT Business Owner podcast, where we believe that healthy cash flow is critical for your IT business, automation is paramount, and building trust with your clients by looking professional will help grow your business. A special thanks, again, to Scott Wittstock from Fidelis, Inc. Fidelis, Inc. can be found online at www.fidelisnw.com. To download the full podcast or listen to some of our previous episodes online, check us out at connectbooster.com/podcast.
Ryan Goodman: Thanks again for joining us today on The Confessions of an IT Business Owner podcast. We’ll talk to you soon.

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