THERE’S A REASON “the Big 4” consulting companies attract highly talented people—they are known for recruiting, grooming, training, and advancing talent, which in turn attracts more talent. When you have enough volume, you can have a pipeline as well as a strong bench. That’s what makes you successful. CIO Landing is using this model to fuel our multi-engine growth strategy of M&A, franchising, and organic expansion.
Before starting CIO Landing, I saw this model in action working at Cap Gemini out of college. From there, my brother and I started an ISP business in Chicago, which we grew to $8 million and sold in 2002. I then started consulting as a CIO on projects with large enterprises, plus taking on clients who were friends and fellow entrepreneurs who needed help with their IT. Soon enough, I decided to merge with a local two-person shop, and three years ago we bought out our third partner.
My current partner and I both have roots in Latin America; he’s from Argentina and I’m from Bolivia. We began building a remote team in 2014 by hiring our first sys admin in Argentina. That employee referred another to us, and then another, and thus we were able to grow our help desk and professional services staff, some of whom now live in Madrid and Paris.
One of the things that we learned is the more you hire, the more people know about you as a company that hires tech.
Today we have two full-time employees in Chicago who handle HR and recruit and screen not only for us, but for other MSPs. It’s a line of business we started about a year ago in response to a need expressed by members of my accountability group within Robin Robins’ Producers Club. We have placed Level 1, 2, and 3 technicians as well as telemarketers from Latin America.
We offer two billing models. They can pay us a percentage of the employee’s first-year salary, like a traditional search firm, or pay us $600 monthly and we provide all the employee’s equipment and technology, plus pay their salary and handle the country taxes. So far, we’ve placed eight to 10 people, so it’s not a big moneymaker yet, but it’s helping us hone our overarching strategy of having a competitive edge in talent acquisition.
In terms of our organic growth plan, a deeper bench allows us to take on more work, as well as avoid the “scrambling” that takes place if a key tech leaves or goes on vacation. A healthy talent pipeline will also help us fuel our acquisition and franchise needs.
We currently have an M&A firm working on a deal with an MSP business in Chicago and we expect to close on it soon and will continue to look for other opportunities. When you acquire companies, there is always some attrition, so having a reputation as a company that hires really good tech people and has a great culture is critical to filling in future staffing needs.