As business coaches, it’s one of our greatest pleasures to help Denver area business owners and CEOs achieve their goals. Being a Member of a business advisory board gives leaders the support they need to push past significant milestones. At TAB, we encourage our Members to set “Champagne Moment” goals — goals that will take effort and focus to attain, and would otherwise not be reachable but for the support of others.
Antonio Wint, CEO and owner of Syn Ack Fin Network & Computer Services (SAF), achieved his big, bold Champagne Moment this year. SAF was also selected as a finalist for the 2020 list of Colorado Companies to Watch (CCTW). In spite of the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the rapidly changing economic landscape, SAF has continued to thrive.
We recently caught up with Antonio to talk about how his TAB Membership has helped him achieve his Champagne Moment and navigate recent challenges.
Champagne Moment goals are not meant to be easy, but they must be possible to achieve. What goal did you set for your company, and how would you describe your journey to success?
Initially, our goal for our Champagne Moment was reaching $1 million in Revenue. We responded to a large RFP at the end of 2018, and it was awarded to our team in the first quarter of 2019. As a result, in February 2019, I adjusted the champagne goal to $2 million in Revenue. It felt a little like we were moving the finish line, but I think it was appropriate in order to keep my team focused and our eye on the goal for that year.
On Super Bowl Sunday of 2019, though, I managed to tear my Achilles tendon playing flag football with my neighbors. This resulted in surgery and having to figure out a way to manage the tasks required to get the goal while also recovering from my injury.
In addition, we had a number of project challenges that made it look like we were not going to meet our goal. The team rallied and we closed out 2019 very strong. This final push allowed us to reach the $2 million goal we set. So, reaching this goal was truly a team effort.
How did your TAB Board help you achieve your Champagne Moment?
The Board helped hold me accountable to my goal. They also helped encourage me during my injury. The accountability is critical because as the CEO you have very little in the way of checks and balances to keep you focused. At Syn Ack Fin, we don’t have VC money or investors. The company is 100% owned and operated by me.
SAF has an exceptionally high customer satisfaction rate. What are some of the key ways you nurture your customer relationships?
We have managed to retain 95% of our customers since opening our doors. In part, that’s because we make every attempt to make sure the customer is a good fit for our company, and that our team is a good fit for their business. We don’t take every lead given to us and we take our leads through a sales process that helps to determine if both companies are aligned.
Once our relationship has matured to the point that both companies trust each other, we onboard the client with our internal workflow using communication tools. These tools make sure they know what is going on every step of the way. The communications platform uses some system automation but we also spend a lot of time communicating with their business leadership over Zoom to make sure we are meeting expectations. Usually after about six months into our initial onboarding, our weekly communication cycle takes on a cadence of about once a month. We follow the Agile Methodology internally and revisit its manifesto yearly to see if there are ways to improve or if we have somehow gone off course in an area of the business.
2020 has been a really challenging year for a lot of companies. What are some of the significant challenges you helped customers navigate once COVID-19 hit?
The most significant challenge for our clients was developing a plan quickly for each business to help move their team to a remote working environment. We managed to do this quickly by meeting with the leadership for each of our clients. Together, we put together a list of business services that were considered critical and needed to function on day one of their migration to remote working. We then grouped other services into lower priorities and set dates to expect that service to be migrated to a remote working environment.
I personally reached out to our client leadership via text and phone calls to make sure they knew that we were focused on making them successful during this time and to make sure they had all the support they needed. Some of our clients are starting to move a small group of their team back into office spaces. We have supported those efforts, too, by providing additional hardware when needed and providing onsite support that meets or exceeds their company policies for COVID-19.
What are some of the challenges you faced in your own organization? How did your TAB Advisory Board help?
We work remotely in my company every day. Our team is accustomed to remote desktops, Zoom calls and handling emergencies at off hours. Our challenges were more internal.
First we made an effort to be fully transparent with the team. We did this with a “State of The Company” address that was delivered at the end of each month. Together, we reviewed the goals from our previous month and established goals for the next month.
We used this time to challenge our team to increase their value by doing training on the products that we support. A portion of their normal work schedule was changed to support this additional training.
We also locked all employee salaries and initiated 20% pay reduction for our executives. The goal was to support the team through this rough patch for as long as possible and to keep everyone busy helping our client first, then building a stronger company with internal tasks.
TAB helped to support these efforts by reviewing my “State of the Company” address and allowing me to use them as a sounding board during this challenging time. Additionally, TAB hosted weekly Town Hall discussions to help businesses work through the challenges. This was done as a community service and people attended that were not officially on a TAB Board, but the insights and input were extremely valuable.
What advice might you offer for business leaders in the coming months? Challenges or opportunities to look out for?
We are aware of the changing business landscape. This is our time to innovate and to adapt to our environment. We can use those adaptations to strengthen our business for the future. We are finding there are opportunities, they just look a little different now.
At SAF, we have taken the time to revamp our sales and marketing approach and language. We have also decided to start offering different products and solutions that meet the current needs of the businesses we support. Being flexible, honest, sincere, and concerned about the businesses we have come in contact with has set a strong foundation for our team and our future. We have made a concentrated effort to focus on what we can do rather than focusing on what we cannot do because of our global challenges.
What would you say is the most valuable aspect of your TAB Membership?
For me the most valuable aspect of my TAB Membership has been being held accountable for my actions, tasks and goals within the company. I believe in speaking things into existence, and once something is presented to my Board, they check in on me regularly to see how I am progressing. They help to identify if I am not making satisfactory progress and provide guidance on how to get it corrected before it spirals out of control. The TAB platform also helps me manage my business with their online tools and processes. My TAB experience is captured online, and I have the ability to review my plan and make adjustments when needed.