Editor's note: The following article recently appeared as the featured entrepreneur at Missouribusiness.net, the Web site of the Missouri Business Development Network
SCOTT CITY -- Some relationships get even better with age.
Such was the case with Technology and Networking, a customer relations and computer networking provider, and the Southeast Missouri State University SBDC. Technology and Networking specializes in the design and implementation of customer relations management and networking solutions, including structured network cabling and security. The company, which is 5 1/2 years old, has six full-time employees.
Owner Jason Eftink was referred to the SBDC by another SBDC client in 1998.
Initially, Jason sought assistance from the SBDC with financial analysis, packaging and forecasting; market research; development of a marketing plan; dealer correspondence and direct mail marketing.
Since 2000, the company began actively exploring state and federal procurement opportunities. Jason requested sample sales proposals, procurement office contact information, guidance on writing a business plan and creating strategic alliances, assistance with attracting investors/partners, the services of a university finance intern, information about the U.S. Small Business Administration 8a minority and disadvantaged small business program and certification, SBA loan guarantee programs and intellectual property protection.
Larry Cooper, business specialist, responded with assistance in all areas requested and more. Jason also benefited from working with the college's marketing and finance departments, the technical assistance center at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, the SBA office in St. Louis and the central Missouri office of the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC).
After a federal government contract was secured, a government payment timing problem arose for the client when the federal agency wanted to return some equipment and delay payment, which would have put the company in a cash flow bind. With the help of the SBDC and the SBA, Jason was successful in persuading the agency to process payment in a timely fashion.
As a result of the SBDC's assistance, Technology and Networking has identified market targets, gained greater business planning and marketing planning skills, qualified as an SBA 8a client and succeeded in selling products/services to the federal government. In 2002, the business secured federal sales contracts of more than $200,000 and expects much greater success in 2003.
Earlier this year, Technology And Networking Inc., announced that a recent Dun & Bradstreet Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation independent survey ranked Technology And Networking as one of the top IT service providers in customer satisfaction with an overall score of 89 out of 100. The rating was based on survey feedback from past customers.
In late March, the business announced it has been awarded a five-year GSA schedule from the federal government's General Services Administration, enabling the company to offer its comprehensive portfolio of technology support services to government civilian and DOD agencies.