Nomad Technology Group has embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy to grow into a national company with a local, multipronged focus. Would this work for you?
By Ray Engler
August 23, 2013
Our goal is to be the largest national IT provider with a local focus.
We plan to have a location within an hour driving radius of everywhere in the country, starting right here in Indiana—that’s the testing ground. We have three or four businesses on the hook in different parts of the country. The idea is to have local people doing local work who are a part of their own community, backed by the organization and discipline of a national company, so we get the best of both worlds for our clients.
Ambitious? You bet. How are we going to execute that? By acquisition. That’s the only way to get massive growth and become a national company.
Right now we’re acquiring and merging with one company per quarter, and we hope to keep up that pace and even increase it as we have the capacity to do so. In the last 18 months we’ve had four acquisitions and grown from three employees to 22.
We do have organic growth in each location, but the core way to grow is by acquiring other companies that are looking to have more structure without the overhead of their own sales force, accounting team, and marketing people. We can provide that.
THE “SECRET SAUCE”
These acquisitions have been self-funded to date. We’ve found the “secret sauce” to do it without financing. Now, I’m not going to reveal the secret sauce recipe, but suffice it to say that we can structure deals in a way that the company owner gets the payout he or she wants in the time frame we want.
You may wonder how we merge the different personalities. The owner of the company we acquire typically becomes a member of the executive team, helping to guide the direction of company. So that person gets a direct say in how we operate—that’s a big political thing. That owner sticks around, in the role of whatever their personality is best suited for, and they still have a relationship with the clients. So far all but one of the previous owners has stayed.
The companies we’ve acquired have employed three to five people, and for the most part everyone has blended well and we haven’t laid anybody off. Now we’re hoping to start acquiring larger companies. We’re looking for successful IT companies that have to do something before they can continue to grow. If they’re bumping a million-dollar wall, say, the only way to grow would be by adding sales teams, etc.—or merge with us. That’s where it’s lucrative for a small business. They can join our team, make same good money, and not have to manage the day-to-day business.
We have recently added a telecom division through acquisition, and we’ve added managed print to our services. So it gives us a very unique capability in today’s changing world of customers who want fewer vendors and fewer things to deal with. They need someone to centralize and manage all that—and that’s exactly what we’re providing.
We offer quality and consistency in what we sell, and it is not going to vary by state when we expand. That’s because nothing is outsourced—all of our labor, services, and design work is done in-house. We don’t rely on any other companies or vendors to service our clients. It’s very important to me that we can provide quality and consistency. And if we open up a branch out in the middle of nowhere tomorrow, we can’t rely on a certain wiring vendor or telecom vendor or copier vendor to always be there so we can sell our core services to our customers. We have to provide those things.
We are really excited about growing this company and seeing how large it can become. But we don’t want to sacrifice quality for our employees or our clients. We want to be the best. We want to sell the best. We want to be what others look to as an example.
There’s something very satisfying in taking care of clients so they become raving fans. If they’re successful, they will make us successful. They will elevate us to the national scale we’re looking for.
Profile: Ray Engler
CEO, Nomad Technology Group
Location: Evansville, Ind.
Number of employees: 22
Company focus: We manage our clients’ technology—including telecom, cameras, printers/copiers—for a flat monthly fee, so they can manage their businesses.
Favorite part of my job: I enjoy the excitement of pushing the boundaries of what people say is possible, like merging telecom and IT practices.
Least favorite part: Any kind of people problems. I have to balance where I want to take the company and keep employees happy and productive.
What people would be surprised to know about me: My heroes are J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt— those are the guys I idolize and try to emulate. I want to be bigger than the IT guy. I’m trying to figure out the next thing to transform society.