When Carrie Sypowicz and her husband Tim began their business about four years ago, they were under no illusion that it would be a difficult challenge. But then, Tim was used to difficult challenges. He was an ex-Marine, after all. But he brought his courage and she brought her business smarts, and together they worked day and night to build a Pro Group Networks, a managed services provider of IT systems for small and medium sized companies.
Both had solid IT experience, combining 20 years of knowledge working with system design and maintenance, web hosting and computer services.
“It can be really expensive for small and medium sized organizations to afford in-house IT departments,” says Carrie. “Unless they have significant expertise on staff, they struggle. We are the out-source for that kind of IT service. We are their IT department.”
While there were some rough roads in the early months, one of the big boosts started with Carrie placing an ad in Gig Harbor Peninsula Gateway’s annual feature section for women owned businesses, and then joining The Alliance of Women Owned Business (AWOB) to be able to introduce herself to prospective clients at the group’s annual SHOWCASE of Women Owned Business.
One of the readers who saw the ad was Debbie Knutson, who managed the offices for a group of Podiatrists with four locations in the South Sound. The group’s network of computers were running slow, their systems were not backing up properly, and security was a real problem. Their current system management provider was not helping. So Deborah made a point of finding Carrie at AWOB’s SHOWCASE event, and that was the beginning of a beautiful partnership.
“That connection catapulted our little business into success!” declares Carrie. “When you are new, and small, it is hard to find ways that are affordable to meet prospective customers. We used AWOB’s Showcase to get in front of people who were looking to connect with the business services they needed in a neutral setting, and SHOWCASE made it happen!”
Carrie and Tim never looked back from that point, except to reminisce about how it all started. Their business is flourishing and their client list is growing regularly. They continue to provide maintenance and security for the podiatry group and several other multi-site companies throughout Western Washington from offices in Gig Harbor.
The moral of the story, says Carrie, is that small, intimate trade shows like AWOB’s SHOWCASE of Women Owned Businesses, are a great way to find business.
This year, AWOB’s SHOWCASE is combined with a one-day Power UP for Impact Conference on September 26. It runs from 9 am to 5 pm at The INN at Gig Harbor, and features four dynamic speakers, a luncheon buffet, and about 3 hours of breaks to meet exhibitors and explore their offerings. For more information on the conference and how to become an exhibitor or attendee, contact The Alliance at www.awobwomen.org and click on Power UP.