Entrepreneurship, Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Inc. 5000 Company Second Year in a Row

Rocket IT

DULUTH, GA – Inc. magazine ranked Rocket IT NO. 3,571, up from the previous year’s spot at NO. 3,686, on its 36th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

“We’re very honored to be named once again to the Inc. 5000 list,” says Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT Founder and CEO. “Our ultimate purpose at Rocket IT is to help others thrive. We’re working hard to change the way people think about IT, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”

The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, LinkedIn, Yelp, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“This year, the winners have once again placed the bar very high,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “Companies that made the list, on average, have grown sixfold since 2013. Over a stretch when the economy grew just 6.7 percent, that’s a result most businesses could only dream of.”

This is the second year Rocket IT has been named to the Inc. 5000 list. Of the tens of thousands of companies that apply to the Inc. 5000 each year, only a fraction have made the list. Only one in three have made the list two times.

 

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Best Practices, Entrepreneurship, Technology

Security in the Age of Ransomware Webinar

Rocket IT

Nearly 77% of small businesses think they’re safe from cyber attacks, yet more than 40% have already been victims. Where is this disconnect, and how can you protect your organization?

In the new age of ransomware, security has to be a top priority for every level at your organization. Find out what you can do to decrease the risk of costly downtime and data loss due to a security breach.

Join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson on July 27th, 2017, at 1:00 PM EST for our Security in the Age of Ransomware webinar.

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Entrepreneurship, Leadership

What is a Business Continuity Plan, and Why Do I Need One?

Rocket IT

Between natural catastrophes, unfortunate accidents, and cybersecurity threats, it’s not a question of if something will happen to your organization, but when.

Does your organization have a business continuity plan in place? Do you know how your team will respond?

A business continuity plan is a documented strategy outlining the steps and processes to ensure your business operations continue to run should disaster strike. In case of significant data loss or even loss of leadership, this plan gives your organization the support and tools it needs to recover.

How do you know if you need one?

If you have a business, then you need a business continuity plan. When calamity hits, you don’t want to scramble around trying to decide how to handle it. The more time you spend choosing an action path and reacting, the more downtime your organization is going to have. And with the average cost for end-user productivity downtime at over $740k in 2016 (and rising), the less downtime you have, the better.[i]

Who needs to be involved?

Typically, your leadership team, IT, and head of Accounting/HR should be included in the creation and execution of your business continuity plan. Their roles need to be defined in the documentation of the plan so everyone knows who the point person is on each task. This way your team won’t be stumped on who should be doing what and who has the authority to approve decisions.

You should also clearly define who has final authority should you or others not be available and able to carry out a leadership role. In some cases, this may mean that you need to legally name someone who can make important choices in your absence.

Do I need to test it?

Yes. You need to test it. You’re not going to be simulate perfectly an unexpected event (thus is the nature of unexpected events), but you can make sure your team is familiar with it and there aren’t any preventable kinks in the process.

Think about it this way – If you built an emergency bunker (not that you should need one for your business continuity plan!), you would want to test that your ventilation sources were functioning properly and any radio equipment you had functioned while the bunker was sealed. Testing your plan won’t go exactly the same way as it will in true action, but you’ll see what parts work well and what others need some improvement.

Should anything happen to your organization’s data, systems, or even to a member of its leadership, a business continuity and disaster recovery plan will help ensure that the organization will be able to recuperate and continue thriving, enabling you to build a legacy to last.

If you’d like strategic insight on security vulnerabilities and expert advice on how to build your own business continuity plan, contact us. We’d love to help you.

 


[i] http://files.server-rack-online.com/2016-Cost-of-Data-Center-Outages.pdf

 

About the Author-

Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Entrepreneurship, News

Rocket IT Celebrates Expansion

Rocket IT

We recently celebrated the expansion of the Rocket IT headquarters here in Gwinnett County! Thank you to everyone who came out and helped us make our 2017 ribbon cutting such a success. We’ve put together a brief slideshow of the night down below. You might see a few familiar faces!

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Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Why We Focus on Hiring People Who Are Good with People

Rocket IT

When you hire, you don’t just look for that one candidate who will be the “Right Now” fit. You don’t want the minimum of a warm body at a desk; you’re looking for the right qualified, enthusiastic individual who is ready and excited to contribute to the team. But finding that right candidate goes beyond experience and what they have on their resume. At Rocket IT, when we recruit for new employees, we place a high priority on finding people who are good with other people, no matter what role we’re looking to fill.

Why is this so important to us and many other companies?

Many of you are probably familiar with the BBC show “The IT Crowd” and their iconic “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” catchphrase repeated throughout each episode and often said the minute one of their characters picked up a phone.

Even more of you may be familiar with the stereotype of the IT person who prefers to sit alone in a dark office and who huffs impatiently when you don’t immediately step out of their way to fix your computer.

That’s not how anyone should do things, especially not the person coming to you when you’re already frustrated. When your devices aren’t working, you can’t receive emails, or your network is down, the last thing you need or want is someone talking down to you. As evidenced by much of the backlash against companies recently, great customer service is enough to make or break a consumer decision.

You need someone who will make your clients feel like not only are their problems being heard, but that you care about fixing any issues and setting things right. Clients want to know that you are on their side first.

But great customer service isn’t the sole reason for hiring employees with soft skills.

In addition to how employees interact with clients, companies are starting to take a very close look at how employees interact with each other. Today’s workforce wants a company culture and environment in which they enjoy being. As an employer, if you want rock star candidates, you have to be sure the environment you and your team create is one that others will thrive in as well.

This is why we also screen for how well people interact with their teammates. There are some candidates who are friendly and engaging, but if they believe they know the best way, and aren’t open to listening to others on their team, then their “my way or the highway” attitude will make them nearly impossible to train and very difficult to work with.

So how do you screen for this beyond your interview questions?

Introduce your candidates to the office, if it’s possible. Take them around and let them shake hands with the team. Also include the key employees who will be working closely with whomever is hired in the hiring team, and listen to how they feel about the idea of working with that candidate.

The best candidates highly value their relationships with both clients and coworkers. Those who speak poorly at length about their current employer and team might be likely to do the same to your team. Pay attention to what they say about their past supervisors and colleagues.

Another great indicator is how they act when they think you aren’t looking. How do they interact with your receptionist? When they answer the phone, are they friendly? When you ask them how they’re doing, do they ask you how you are in return?

It can be these little things that make working with someone a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

Try some of these tactics. You’d be pleasantly surprised at what a difference having people who are great with other people can make for your organization.

 

 


 

About the Author-

Jacque McFadden is the marketing specialist at Rocket IT. While a large portion of her job focuses on the more traditional side of marketing, she is also responsible for finding great new employees. Jacque is originally from Indiana. 

 

1200x627- vCIOHave you found that you need the expertise of a Chief Information Officer to help you make strategic decisions on how to leverage technology to meet your unique business goals, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring a full-time executive to fill that need? Learn about our virtual CIO services.

 

 

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Best Practices, Entrepreneurship

I Was Sold the Right Service at the Right Time

Rocket IT

Salespeople. I am one, so I’m keenly aware of the truth in this statement:

“No one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy.”

Recently, I went to an oil change place near my office. Why did I go? Because I needed my oil changed. Also, they had good online reviews and were convenient.

While I was there, they politely informed me of other things they noticed, including some things they could do for me right there. Now I’m keenly aware that this is a key part of their business model, and if I shopped around for some of these add-on services they offer, I could certainly find them cheaper elsewhere. The two services they mentioned to me that my car could use were a tire rotation and new air filter.

Now paying someone else to change my air filter sounds about as attractive as paying someone else to put a Christmas tree air “freshener” on my rear view mirror. I can certainly change it myself in 2 minutes and probably pay less for the filter itself.

However, spending $20 at that moment to get my tires rotated quickly was much more valuable to me than any of my alternatives (either doing it myself at home or paying a little less to go spend a lot more time drinking bad coffee in a musty waiting room). Knowing they were prepared to do it in record time, I was a little flustered thinking about paying the equivalent of hundreds of dollars per hour for this simple service, but they had made an investment in infrastructure to allow this to be a quick and easy “Yes” from me.

The point? Being a pesky sales guy who is always working an angle guarantees that you will drive away customers and friends alike (how many people do you know whose Facebook feed has become a wall of posts selling this amazing new home business they just got in?). Instead, just focus on offering value to the right person at the right time.

And if you’re in a buying role, don’t be the person who refuses to listen to any salesperson at any time. You might just miss out on your next insanely valuable purchase.

 


 

RBAbout the Author-

Ryan Bonilla is very active both professionally and personally in the Gwinnett community. He is a Gwinnett Chamber ambassador as well as serving on several committees and boards related to leadership and education. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Sugar Hill, GA.

 

Newsletter AugustWant technology and leadership content sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to Rocket IT’s monthly newsletter!

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

From Intern to Full-Time: Why Your Employee Onboarding Process is Crucial to Success

Rocket IT

How to stand out to potential new employees has been a topic before on the Rocket IT blog – through benefits from working remotely to building programs that help them thrive. But there is another way outside of the working hours of 9-5 to help your employees and attract the rockstars you’re looking for. Investing in your team’s development.

There’s an old anecdote in recruiting and retaining employees. One executive asked another, “What happens if we spend all this time and money training employees, and they leave?” The other executive responded, “What if we don’t, and they stay?”

It is costly to put an employee who hasn’t been fully trained into the field. To set your employees up for success, they need to have all the tools to do their job right. You wouldn’t give a mechanic a half-full tool set and wish them luck, would you? This is why your business should have a full on-boarding plan for each employee.

When I first joined the team at Rocket IT, I came on as an intern. Once I completed my internship, I was offered a full-time position (which I gladly accepted). To a lot of companies, that would have meant I’d already had my training, and I would have been thrust straight into the fire on my first day as a full-time employee. That didn’t happen at Rocket IT. Like all the other full-time employees in my office, I went through a 90 day on-boarding plan.

Using this process, new employees start out with the goal of spending their first 30 days focusing on training and learning all of the software and systems we use. Once they pass into the second 30 days, they still spend most of their time training; however, they start to be accountable for their key performance indicators (KPIs), but only at 13 of their eventual accountability. In the final 30 days, they are still training but are closer to 23 accountable for their KPIs. This way, when the first 90 days are up, they have ramped up to being fully equipped to handle anything we could throw at them.

Support shouldn’t end with the first 90 days either. Education is continuous; things are constantly changing and updating in every field, and we need to keep up with it. Employers who support their employees in continuing education, whether it be certification courses, conferences, or classes, are more likely to attract those amazing candidates who want to learn and grow (and if they don’t want that, you probably don’t want them).

Remember, when highlighting the benefits of working for your company, don’t begin and end with traditional bonuses, insurance, and vacation time. Your investment in their success through properly training them and offering ongoing opportunities for improvement will certainly attract the employees you want to retain for years to come.

 


 

EPAbout the Author –

Emanuel Purcar joined Rocket IT in the spring of 2015 as a Service Team Intern and is now a Remote Support Technician. He lives in Gwinnett with his wife and their newborn son, and he plays in a Christian band with his church. 

 

 

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Entrepreneurship

Seeing an Internship Thrive in Action

Rocket IT

We’ve talked before about the importance of building a thriving internship program, but there are few things better than actually seeing the fruits of these programs. We asked one of our most recent interns, Jamie Robertson, to share his experience.

 

“I was getting into my car when I received a phone call from one of the Inside Support Specialists at Rocket IT. He told me I had been chosen as an intern and would be working for the company during the fall, if I accepted. It only took a second before they had my answer.

Like many others, I researched my potential employer, and I learned that they’d won an award for being one of the best places to work in Georgia. That statement doesn’t begin to describe what it’s like to work for Rocket IT.

Rocket IT isn’t just a company. A regular company’s CEO doesn’t make it a point to come down on your very first day to introduce himself again and say how excited he is to work with you. A regular company doesn’t have every single employee stopping by to give you congratulations on being part of the team. From my very first day, I felt like a part of the team.

The big thing we do as interns at Rocket IT is a project that spans the duration of the internship. My project involved SharePoint, so the company’s SharePoint expert immediately took time out of his day to show us how SharePoint is used and made sure we had no questions or concerns before letting us know his cubicle is always open. That statement remained true throughout my project.

The other part of my internship involved shadowing a full-time support technician, in particular the Desktop Support Technician who showed me everything that I needed to know about how Rocket IT works with client desktops and laptops. Within my first week, I had several desktops to set up under his supervision, and I soon stopped feeling like an intern and instead felt like I was a member of the team.

My internship was supposed to run the length of a typical college semester, but it was cut short 2 weeks ago when Rocket IT extended a full-time job offer to me. From the very beginning Rocket IT made me feel like a part of the team, and I feel just as much a part of that team as the new Desktop Support Technician as I did as the Intern. Joining the team full-time is amazing, and I am so thankful to be continuing as a member of this team.”

 

The goal with any internship is to find great undiscovered talent. Offering them full-time opportunities isn’t always feasible, depending on the openings and needs of the company at that time, but when the right positions and the right interns line up, you really experience the full benefits of a thriving internship program.

How have you made a lasting impression with your interns and other employees? We’d love to hear your stories!

 


 

About the Authors-

JRJamie Robertson is a Service Team Intern turned Desktop Support Technician. He is about to graduate from Georgia Gwinnett College in the spring of 2016 and will be getting married to the love of his life the October of that same year. 

 

 

JMJacque McFadden is the marketing specialist at Rocket IT. She graduated from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and returned to Georgia after spending a year in Austin, TX. 

 

 

CTA Infographic 7 Ways PreviewWe’ve all heard stories of wayward IT consultants holding critical company information or other resources for ransom. This is one of the biggest concerns we hear from potential clients. There are several ways you can protect yourself and your business when you outsource your IT. Download our FREE infographic to learn the 7 Ways to Avoid Being Held Hostage by Your IT Consultant here.

 

 

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Best Practices, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Train for the Full Run

Rocket IT

We’ve all heard the sage wisdom that life is a marathon, not a sprint.  This is true about so many aspects of life.  In business, this can be a perfect analogy.  We have large goals and visions for the future.  We can see it come together in our heads, and it all makes sense.  It’s such a simple fix or shift; it can’t be that difficult.  It’s the perfect plan- foolproof even.  But, for some reason, it just never quite translates the same into reality.  What we think should be a sprint often becomes a marathon.  Even if the plan works, it just seems to take longer than we want.

One of my favorite quotes does a great job of dissecting this phenomenon.  I first saw it hanging above a friend’s kitchen sink where it was credited to Anonymous.  I have since seen the quote, or something very similar to it, credited to Bill Gates, Glen Livingston, Chip Lowell and many others.  The quote is this, “We often overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five.”  Regardless of who said it first, the truth of it rings loud and clear

Both our analogy and quote are singing the same song, but each with its own take away.

When it comes to running, training is fundamentally different for sprinters and marathon runners.  People who expect to run a sprint train for a sprint, not a marathon.  In life, at some point, we realize that we are not running a sprint, but a marathon.  When we find out we are running a marathon, we are not prepared.  Even if we finish the marathon, the journey is smothered with pain and struggle.  Sprinting can be part of your marathon strategy, but whatever it is, the strategy must be able to sustain you for the full race, not just part of it.

Once you find you have overestimated what you thought you could accomplish in a year, you can’t give up.  Consistency is the magic of years 2, 3, and 4.  Momentum builds and gets stronger as you continue to function in regular rhythms.  If you keep starting over when you don’t reach your year goal, you never build up to see year 5.  Flexibility allows for adjustments without jumping ship.  Set heroic long-term goals and let momentum work for you, not against you.

Train for the full run, and adjust as needed, but don’t stop.

Photo courtesy of Georgia Race for Autism at http://www.georgiaraceforautism.com/


 

Peter WyngaardAbout the Author-

Peter Wyngaard is in New Business Development at Rocket IT. He also owns a photo booth company in Richmond, VA, and he typically participates in about 3 mud runs each year.

 

 

Newsletter AugustWant technology and leadership content sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to Rocket IT’s monthly newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Entrepreneurship

Finding a Better Way

Rocket IT

Values are important to every organization.  Even if they aren’t expressly stated, they’re still omnipresent and felt by everyone the organization interacts with.  If you choose to name those values and be intentional about them, then comes the responsibility to see them acted out.  If you choose not to identify values, your team will develop individual values which could lead to a loss of unity and clarity across the organization.

At Rocket IT, we have four driving core values that we work and live by.  They are the backbone to every decision we make and the lens though which we see the world around us.  These four values are: Connect with people, be passionate stewards, find a better way, and have a blast!  It is the third of these values that will be addressed in this post.

Finding a better way equates to not settling for the status quo.  In business, there will always be the temptation to settle for good enough or be content with what is not broke.  When it comes to providing transformational IT services, good enough is never enough.  What are we really asking of our team though? What does finding a better way really look like?

We are asking our team to be creative.  When we service a ticket, install a server, set up a new backup or any other task, we are asking our team to think through what they have just done.  We are asking our team to tap into their creative mindset to find a better way.

Creativity is a muscle.  We are certainly not implementing every idea that gets put on the table, but if you are not exercising creativity, the muscle gets weak, ideas don’t grow, and your options become limited.  By regularly engaging with creativity, whether a good idea or bad idea, you are exercising the muscle.  With time, the muscle grows, your consistent efforts begin to produce more quality ideas.  Exercise can hurt at first, but persistence will definitely lead to better results.

So here are a few questions to ask yourself each time you finish a task in your business to start exercising your creativity muscle and find a better way:

  • What are 5 other ways I could have done this same task?
  • If this task involved a client or customer, what could they have been thinking about at the time of this task?  What would I feel if I were in their shoes?
  • If I had to accomplish this task with only 50% of the time that it took me, what would need to change?
  • If I had to accomplish this task with only 50% of the budget that I have, what would need to change?
  • If I had twice the budget that I have for this task, what would change?  What effect would it have?
  • If I had to prevent this issue from occurring in the first place, what would need to happen?
  • If I could invent anything to do this task for me, what would it look like and how would it work?

The specific task and business highly affect the questions you ask, but look for questions that stretch the answers.  Take a moment to suspend disbelief and be willing to imagine a solution that may be scientifically impossible.  The point of the exercise is to build the creativity muscle, not produce 129 different business process improvements in the first month, so don’t worry about perfection. That part will come with practice.

 


 

 

Peter WyngaardAbout the Author-

Peter Wyngaard is in New Business Development at Rocket IT. He also owns a photo booth company in Richmond, VA, and he typically participates in about 3 mud runs each year.

 

 

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