MARKETING has never been a consideration for Secure Access director Jason Garland.
Who needs to market when your reputation-word of mouth cycle is in full swing and you recorded a 34% growth rate in 2012 and look like doing the same this year?
His 14-year-old company supplies IT equipment, software and consultancy to 450 business clients on the Sunshine Coast as well as interstate, Canada and New Zealand. Those clients range from a two-person accounting firm to a company with 5000 staff.
It is the only Microsoft Gold partner on the Sunshine Coast and the only Dell Sonicwall Gold partner in the state and was recently named in the top 50 of CRN Magazine's fastest growing IT companies in the nation. It came in at number 24.
Mr Garland attributed his business's growth to continual investment in staff training.
"We continued to invest in our employees' development as well as recruiting highly skilled people over the last few years, even though a lot of our competitors were holding back due to the GFC," he said.
"I have never seen staff investment as a bad thing because it always pays off in the long term.
"Staff is the most valuable asset of any organisation so it's a wise thing to do, especially in our industry where if you waited two years to refresh your knowledge, it would be hard to catch up.
"Every two years, we throw out the certification and start again."
Mr Garland said while he certainly noticed some effects of the GFC, he offset any downturn in traditional income streams with various amalgamations and mutually beneficial peer-group partnerships with other companies.
"We are doing a lot of work with national and international IT companies, so we are leveraging their best practice and trying to get a world's best practice.
"We amalgamated with some groups and we are benchmarking our company against 200 companies worldwide so we can see how we are performing.
"And it's allowed us to sit down with companies that are in this group who may have 200 staff, and we can ask them how they got through these growth periods.
"I don't want this to be a quick growth where you burn out.
"And we never said we wanted to be the biggest in the world, we just want to do a good job."
Mr Garland said referrals had been a big growth driver also, including those from vendors like Microsoft and Acer who specifically recommend his business to inquiring customers.
SECRETS: ensure staff are trained well, do the right thing by the client, make sure it's a solution for them and not just a sale. Your reputation is worth more than anything