Jim Savage

My Toughest Challenge

Savage
Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

Jim Savage

Position: Founder and president

Company: Concurrency Inc.

What it does: IT solution provider

Career: After earning his bachelor’s in economics and history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Savage established a Microsoft-focused systems integrator in 1989. He has grown Concurrency to more than 100 consultants and 150 employees among three offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. It has $30 million in annual revenue.


The challenge

In 2007, Brookfield IT firm Concurrency Inc. was shifting away from hardware toward becoming a software and professional services company exclusively.

That’s when the company lost its first big, bread-and-butter client, which accounted for 43 percent of its professional services revenue.

“We were too close to it. They would sneeze and we were there with a Kleenex,” Savage said. “I was working on their business and not ours.”

In January 2008, Savage dug into a line of credit the company had never used before, and business declined to the point of being worried about making payroll by June.

The resolution

“It was marketing, frankly. We got really good at marketing after that,” Savage said.

One door closed and another opened. What Concurrency needed to do to improve its business and increase profit was also what its customers were seeking, he said.

Concurrency bolstered its Microsoft business, started doing email marketing and began hosting events to make up for the loss of the client.

“It was not until we lost them as a client that I started working on our business and we had all this growth and success,” he said. “From that point in 2007, we’ve been on this beautiful, linear trajectory of growth.”

The takeaway

Concurrency brought on a larger number of clients and now makes sure none of them provides more than 10 or 20 percent of the company’s gross income.

“Clients of similar sizes and organizational maturity work best together,” Savage said. “Every small business you see starts with some goofy combination of large and small accounts. Along the way, you learn all the other things, components of organizational security.”

Now, when Concurrency brings on a new big client, it only fuels its steady growth. It added Johnson Controls International plc as a client three years ago, and has been expanding to keep pace ever since. The goal is now 300 employees and $60 million in revenue by 2021.

“It took the internal machinations and organizational management, putting in more executive managers and getting them to function effectively as a team to perform that growth,” Savage said.  n

Savage
Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

Jim Savage

Position: Founder and president

Company: Concurrency Inc.

What it does: IT solution provider

Career: After earning his bachelor’s in economics and history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Savage established a Microsoft-focused systems integrator in 1989. He has grown Concurrency to more than 100 consultants and 150 employees among three offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. It has $30 million in annual revenue.


The challenge

In 2007, Brookfield IT firm Concurrency Inc. was shifting away from hardware toward becoming a software and professional services company exclusively.

That’s when the company lost its first big, bread-and-butter client, which accounted for 43 percent of its professional services revenue.

“We were too close to it. They would sneeze and we were there with a Kleenex,” Savage said. “I was working on their business and not ours.”

In January 2008, Savage dug into a line of credit the company had never used before, and business declined to the point of being worried about making payroll by June.

The resolution

“It was marketing, frankly. We got really good at marketing after that,” Savage said.

One door closed and another opened. What Concurrency needed to do to improve its business and increase profit was also what its customers were seeking, he said.

Concurrency bolstered its Microsoft business, started doing email marketing and began hosting events to make up for the loss of the client.

“It was not until we lost them as a client that I started working on our business and we had all this growth and success,” he said. “From that point in 2007, we’ve been on this beautiful, linear trajectory of growth.”

The takeaway

Concurrency brought on a larger number of clients and now makes sure none of them provides more than 10 or 20 percent of the company’s gross income.

“Clients of similar sizes and organizational maturity work best together,” Savage said. “Every small business you see starts with some goofy combination of large and small accounts. Along the way, you learn all the other things, components of organizational security.”

Now, when Concurrency brings on a new big client, it only fuels its steady growth. It added Johnson Controls International plc as a client three years ago, and has been expanding to keep pace ever since. The goal is now 300 employees and $60 million in revenue by 2021.

“It took the internal machinations and organizational management, putting in more executive managers and getting them to function effectively as a team to perform that growth,” Savage said.  n

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