When it comes to strategic growth, Conference Technologies Inc. (CTI) knows all about it. Among the fastest-growing companies in the integration world, it manages 24 locations around the country and has successfully expanded from a small AV firm with local reach in St. Louis to a nationwide integrator that services a global customer base.
The company credits NSCA in part for its success as it continues to expand while maintaining a focus on employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Strategic Planning Sessions
To stay motivated and in sync, CTI partners with NSCA Executive Director Chuck Wilson for two-day, in-person sessions to discuss everything from current challenges to recent successes.
“With the tools and resources Chuck uses, it’s very effective in getting everyone on the same page and organizing our thoughts,” says Sara Reasner, director of marketing at CTI. “It’s so easy to move into ‘shiny-object mode,’ and this helps us avoid that. We document big ideas and then can all work toward them together.”
During these planning sessions, NSCA and CTI work together to define the company’s goals for the next few years. From there, the goals are broken down into steps to determine who will lead which initiatives – and what resources will be needed to bring them to life. The end result is a roadmap the team follows to reach its targets, such as growing to 700+ employees or increasing revenue by a certain percentage.
“When we get busy managing our day-to-day work, it can be hard to step back and look at the bigger picture,” says Reasner. “Taking time to document our company’s focus as a living, breathing document is really effective and motivating.”
With the average NSCA member struggling to fill more than seven open positions at any given time, CTI understands first-hand the challenge of finding qualified staff.
As a result, the company is an active participant in Ignite’s Internship Program, which provides internship grants for qualifying integration firms and industry manufacturers. The program also offers helpful guidance on structuring an internship for success.
This year, CTI hired 10 student interns spread across departments ranging from accounting to technical. Some interns transition directly into full-time roles after graduation; others plan to do so once they’ve completed their education.
Educational Resources and Events
As more clients ask CTI about purchasing AV as a service to streamline technology and budgets, the company wants to be ready to provide what they need.
To learn more about the finance and leasing components involved with managed services, as well as calculator tools that help determine service rate costs and sample agreements and contracts, the company relies on NSCA’s Essentials Online Library – which is full of industry-standard business documents that can be customized as needed.
CTI attends Pivot to Profit (P2P) as well, where employees learn about innovation in every aspect of business, from customer experiences to new technology, and prepare for the inevitable shift to recurring revenue.
They find value in NSCA’s other well-known annual event, too: the annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC). Here, 300+ integration firm leaders come together to learn how to manage never-ending workloads, find and keep the right people, and improve processes for better productivity, excellence, and innovation.
“BLC speakers are always great and very inspiring as experts who motivate us,” says Reasner. “The biggest benefit is being among all of our peers for three days. There are so many good conversations that come out of an environment where growth, learning, and betterment are discussed out in the open.”