Be clear about why your brand matters
Twenty-five years ago, Douglas Gray began his business out of his basement. He recalls being a bit of a hacker at the time. Today, Graycon Group Ltd. has 185 employees, offices across Western Canada and was recognized by Deloitte as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies of 2013.
“Our 25 years of success is based on sticking with it and developing a clear understanding of what our business should really be doing.”
- Douglas Gray
Graycon Group Ltd. is an information technology consulting firm that specializes in design and support of IT infrastructure and networking systems. Douglas founded the company in 1989 while pursuing his business degree at the University of Victoria. He believes his education and background in business and human resources have played a crucial role in driving his IT business to success. “I have seen many talented IT people who didn’t make it in the industry because they lacked basic business understanding,” he says. “Our 25 years of success is based on sticking with it and developing a clear understanding of what our business should really be doing.”
Graycon has explored many sectors of the IT industry including web design and programming, but found certain services needed to be cut so the company could focus on what they do best – provide IT consulting, solutions and support to their clients. “Choosing a specific niche is a luxury you often experience after diverging into a bunch of markets to pay the bills,” explains Douglas. “Your brand can be lost if you do too much. People won’t remember what you’re good at; they’ll just remember you as a generalist. It is important to be clear and blunt about why people should care about your business.”
TEC Canada has helped Douglas continuously improve his business and has provided him with a wealth of resources and knowledge. For over ten years, Douglas has been a TEC CEO Forum member. He recalls how hearing other members’ stories can shed light on previously unknown issues within his own business. “You can go into a meeting believing you don’t have an issue, listen to another group member, and realize you do,” Douglas explains.
The beauty of a TEC group, as Douglas knows, is that the problems entrepreneurs face have often already been encountered and solved by someone else before. Members within TEC groups can share their similar experiences, along with personal and business challenges that they have faced. “TEC has been very helpful; it is like having your own private group of directors who are completely candid, open and honest.” Douglas values the ability to network within the TEC community and beyond.
His best piece of business advice for business owners is to “Network, network, network! It helps you to develop different skills and relationships,” he explains. “The success of your business is incumbent on your resources.”
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