Nine years ago, my co-founder Josh and I were eating lunch across the street from the building where I’m writing this.
During that afternoon lunch, we tossed around the idea of starting a silent IT company. A lot happened in between, but that was the beginning of Prime TSR.
From our humble beginnings as an emerging start-up to losing our biggest clients, recovering, rebranding, merging with ConvergeOne, and, nine years later, becoming one of the fastest-growing companies in the States, it has been quite a journey.
I’ve learned a lot in under a decade—and I think emerging start-ups and veteran companies alike may glean something useful from it.
Be Open. Stay Agile. Never Get Comfortable
Whether you’re an emerging start-up or have been in the industry for decades is irrelevant. To keep up, you have to be open, agile, and comfortable with being uncomfortable.
That’s the only way you’ll survive—and, if you play it right, thrive.
In 2018, Prime TSR wasn’t growing as quickly as we wanted. After some serious reevaluation, we realized why: We’d outgrown the original model.
Prime TSR started as a consultancy, with our primary focus set on scaling systems.
We knew technology and how to help companies implement it. But over time, we’d developed a robust skill set that we weren’t flexing.
That is, we’d gotten pretty good at helping companies transform from top to bottom. So we pivoted, reimagined, and rebranded.
Prime TSR stands for “tech solutions reimagined.” As the name suggests, reimagining is a big part of who we are. Embracing that spirit gave us the rocket boost we needed to become one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.
We were already good at what we did. And, sure, we could have stayed comfortable and rode that model until the wheels fell off. Had we done that, well, who knows, I might not be writing this.
Small: It’s a Strength, Not a Weakness
Prime TSR clients must evolve quickly. And when I say “quickly,” I mean they don’t have six months or three years to do it.
Large companies have more money and larger teams. When you’re an emerging start-up, you feel the size and economic pains more than well-established companies. At first glance, those constraints feel like a severe disadvantage.
The truth is that your small size gives you an edge over your competitors.
Prime TSR started small, and we did that deliberately. Smaller companies are agile companies. And because of that, they can work quickly and pivot at the drop of a dime. That skillset gives you a leg up on the competition because you’re not bogged down in red tape, tradition, and jumbled communication.
Our competitors lay out six-month and one-year timelines. We give clients a working product they can take to customers in three. That makes the choice pretty simple for clients.
Bias for Action: Work Quickly
“Bias for action” is a phrase used to describe the process of working quickly, trying out new ideas constantly, and making calculated adjustments based on data.
It isn’t a concept Prime TSR invented. Frankly, we stole it from AWS when we became partners with them. The funny thing is that we’d adopted the concept from day one—without actually knowing it had a name.
Technology changes at a dizzying pace. To keep up, our clients need to evolve quickly. Our process makes it possible for clients to do that.
Bias for action doesn’t care about gut feelings, traditions, or three-year plans. Instead, it demands constant experimentation, quick adjustments, and data-driven decisions.
Being right is good, but being wrong leads to innovation and opportunity.
We use this process with every client we serve. But we also use it when we hire, engage employees, and build new products. That approach touches everything we do.
That makes us formidable.
Growth: Do It Cautiously. Do It Deliberately
Triple in the next three to five years: We set that goal as we rolled into 2022. I know, that sounds strange for a company that prides itself on being small.
But as I mentioned, Prime TSR isn’t afraid of change—and to remain agile, we knew we had to evolve. We took a big evolutionary step by merging with ConvergeOne (C1) and we did it deliberately.
C1 enabled us to offer greater value to our customers through a nationwide market presence. Over 13,000 enterprise and mid-market customers trust them to deliver cloud, data, cybersecurity, and enterprise networking solutions. They were the right partner, and having them as an ally makes us stronger.
So, yes, we grew, but we still maintain our core values.
For us, “small” is a mindset more than it is a particular number. Prime TSR will continue to evolve and, hopefully, triple. But we’re going to do so cautiously and deliberately—just as we did when we merged with C1.
The bigger companies become, the harder it is to stay true to their founding values.
We’re well aware of that; we’ve watched other companies make this mistake. So while Prime TSR is in growth mode, we’re doing it cautiously.
We built our company on solid bedrock, and we wouldn’t be what we are without it.
My advice to emerging start-ups is to follow a similar path: Grow when you’re ready—and do it cautiously and deliberately.