Silicon Valley SBDCSan Jose, CA

"Before I began working with the SBDC, I felt like I was a hamster on a small business wheel. Now I have a clear path laid out for the future and success. Many thanks to my mentor who helped me focus on important goals and concepts I had overlooked that were keeping me from growing the business."

John L. Ward

IMTech is an automation system integrator now located in Fremont, California. The company sells industrial motors, automation software and turnkey equipment maintenance services to large industrial customers, predominantly in the mining and manufacturing industries. Customers are primarily based in Northern California, although the company services customers throughout California and Nevada.

IMTech came to the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center in early 2010 with the request to help them develop a 5 year plan that would potentially lead to increasing the value of the company by 10 times. At the time of the first meeting, the company had had relatively stable sales but was not growing. Ownership felt they were being pulled in too many directions and working too many hours for too little return. The company saw many opportunities to grow but felt constrained by limited funds to add staff to handle growth, and the owners were having difficulty finding management who could take on some of the decision-making load of the owners.

SBDC Advisor Dick Brown suggested the Client develop a 5 year plan and build a strategy for growth that would result in significantly higher company value in 5 years. Initial discussions centered on the company positioning – what were its key advantages to customers, and how the company could capitalize on the advantages. Initial efforts consisted of evaluating acquisition candidates who would complement the products and services already offered, and building new distribution relationships with several motor manufacturers that would bring in new customers and revenue streams. In addition, Dick encouraged IMTech ownership to concentrate on building existing client relationships where it could lead to significant sales growth. Lastly, they worked together on how IMTech could prioritize management time and find managers who could be self-starting, so some of the decision-making load could be removed from the IMTech ownership.

By the end of 2010 IMTech had increased sales by 2.5 times, had increased staff, had added several new distribution clients and moved to a larger facility. Most importantly, the company was hired by an existing customer to provide a turnkey equipment maintenance service requiring 15 people, which increased headcount from 5 to 20, and more than doubled revenue. As a result, 2011 is off to a very fast start and the company is well on the way to meeting its 5 year plan goal.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.