CEO of Markham, Ont.-based IT staffing and support firm QUEUE IT Professionals
BEAT THE TECH CRASH
EXCEL IN "A HUNDRED LITTLE TOUCH POINTS"
"Prior to the tech crash, we'd never had a bad debt," says Lee. "And, suddenly, not only were we having bad debt, clients were going bankrupt. Our business model, which has been a challenge, has always been to have fewer clients and do a lot more work for them. When the tech downturn came in 2001, our revenue was around $5 million; and, in one year, we fell to about $3.3 million.
"The way we made it through that downturn, and the way we'll make it through this recession, is by hanging on to our loyal, long-term clients. It's all about service. One thing many people forget, especially in a downturn, are the basics. Extraordinary service experiences don't have to be anything elaborate. It's a hundred little touch points, like not being late, turning off your cellphone, the personalized attention of greeting clients by their names. It's not all about the huge, grand gestures.
"When the dot-com era evaporated, it showed me that people who take the tried-and-true approach are going to make it. It reconfirmed my belief in having a strong business model that you believe in. This year, we've made it back to $6 million, and we didn't change our business model."