SisAdmin is celebrating our 15th birthday today! We are so excited to have had the opportunity to serve so many customers over the years. I thought it might be fun to do a little journey back in time to celebrate.
SisAdmin was born in my dining room on May 18th, 2000. I had always wanted to own my own business but just didn’t know what I wanted to sell. In my early 20s I wanted to start a business called Tech Tutor, to teach all the new PC owners how to use computers. (Yes, I am that old.) I didn’t have any idea how to start a business, so it never got off the ground.
What made the difference for SisAdmin, my second business idea? I asked the right people the right questions. I knew how to provide great IT service, I just needed to figure out how to run a business. No problem! With the help of several mentors, I got the info I needed, and got SisAdmin off the ground.
My first employee started working at Sisadmin in 2001. We did cold calls to drum up enough clients to support two people. It was a little easier back then–people answered their phones more than they do now. Though cold calling is never fun, it did work. We signed up one of our largest clients, a company we supported for 12 years, based on those calls.
In addition to building SisAdmin in 2001, I was also pregnant with Sarah. You should have seen me doing service calls and sales calls 8 and 9 months pregnant. Even after Sarah was born I would put her in the BabyBjorn carrier and go to work, breast feeding in the car.
I remember one night I had an after-hours project to complete that took all night long. My husband had to go to work so I told him to bring Sarah to me and I let her sleep in her car seat as I finished up. When the clients started to show up at 7AM and saw a baby on the floor with me and the server, they were astonished. We had some good laughs over my dedication for years on that one.
Ok, let’s move along in time a bit–SisAdmin grew and I learned how to be a better manager, sometimes the hard way. We had room in our home for an office which served for several years, but SisAdmin soon outgrew that space. We took over the office, formal living room and the dining room. It was time to move away from home. The timing was perfect. Pacific Ridge Homes, one of our clients, was purchasing a new building and looking for tenants. Not only did they have just the right size space, it was one mile from my home. Ask and you shall receive, I say!
Still, this was scary. Overhead was going up–would we be able to afford it? Will it put a strain on the relationship with the client to be their tenant as well? It ended up to being the best move we could have made. Having a commercial office legitimized SisAdmin. Clients rarely came to our office, so that didn’t change much. Employees and prospective staff did, however, and having a professional conference room to interview in opened staffing to better candidates. In the meantime, we were growing quickly based almost solely on word of mouth, so we had no trouble paying the bills. My worries about the relationship with Pacific Ridge Homes never became an issue; in fact, we became closer. I think very highly of them and I hope they do the same of me.
As we grew, Outlook Tasks stopped being a sufficient way to manage our workload. In 2008, we not only moved to a large ticketing system, but we restructured how we did business to support moving into the Managed Service industry. Unfortunately, just as we got a handle on the new structure and tools, the economy started to decline. We held on to our staff and weathered the recession by having an open book policy and working together to listen to what our clients needed from us, so that they could weather through as well. We contacted each of our clients and proactively asked them what we could do to help them. We allowed our clients to reduce what they were contracted to do with us, we removed travel charges, even changed or removed products if that was what they needed. We always want to be part of the solution not part of the hardship. We did have two clients that did not make it out of the recession but we did not lose any clients.
We have been growing steadily ever since.
I have built this company on high morals, a solid work ethic, and a strong sense of caring for our clients and staff. To this day that has not changed, and I don’t ever want it to change. I want SisAdmin to grow but I don’t ever want us to forget about taking care of each other and our clients with high integrity. I feel strongly that these traits are the reason we have a high client and staff retention rate.
I love my work–I don’t really think of it as work. That trait is what I look for when hiring engineers to support SisAdmin clients. We love doing IT and we will do what it takes to keep the client networks up and stable. And that’s another thing I don’t ever want to change.
Can’t wait to serve for another fifteen!