Entrepreneurs / Small Business  May 7, 2010

Ted Warner connects the dots with computers

2010 Bravo! Entrepreneur – Greeley

Ted Warner has been part of the Greeley business community for a quarter of a century, as founder and president of Connecting Point. Since he works in computers, those 25 years have seen enough change to fill four times the time.

Raised in Minneapolis and armed with a 1976 undergraduate degree in business administration from Colorado College, Warner started his career in Denver. He was selling mini-mainframes in Sterling when a funny thing happened: He and his wife, Sue, fell in love with the small town.

So when a local CPA asked Warner to manage his sideline computer business, the entrepreneur in him awoke. And when Business Computing Services Inc. started losing accounts to less-expensive PCs, Warner knew it was time to get into that business.

In 1982, he purchased the Greeley franchise of Connecting Point of America, a computer retailer. Then a funny thing happened: Technology changed, again, and Warner knew it was time to reinvent the store he’d owned ourtright since 1985.

In 1990, the company got out of retail and into selling company networks and products. The B2B model worked well through the 1990s.

Then another funny thing happened: Technology changed yet again, and clients wanted fewer products and more help solving problems.

In 2003, Connecting Point transformed itself into a proactive managed services provider. A half-dozen experts monitor technology needs — servers, routers, e-mail, VoIP systems, everything an in-house IT department would do — remotely from a help desk 24/7, each handling 500 to 600 calls a month. The company still sells equipment, through its networking solutions services.

Another funny thing is happening right now: Technology  is moving completely away from in-house equipment. And Connecting Point is beginning its fourth incarnation.

“Companies are starting to ask why they have to continually purchase equipment and house it in their own facilities,” Warner said. “Cloud computing essentially lets them rent the latest and greatest hardware and software, just like a utility. All they need is a connection to us, from anywhere in the world.”

“It’s hard to change course in mid-stream, but if you can’t move quick enough, you’ll die on the vine,” Warner said.

He has been quick enough to be involved in two other ventures over the years. Warner started Xilocore, a business continuity and data protection service based in Las Vegas three years ago, and helped found Pawnee Leasing in Fort Colllins. He sold his portion of Pawnee, but now operates Point Capital LLC.

He admits being an entrepreneur “is a lot harder than it’s cracked up to be. It can be fun, challenging and immensely rewarding, but it can also be frustrating, with obstacles you need to climb over that never appeared in your calculations.”

The key to success is investing in other people you can trust to carry on your original vision and “run it with their own style and grace,” Warner explained. “Until you can distribute your vision, you’re not going to get too far.”

Warner has distributed his time and philanthropic efforts throughout Weld County, serving on the boards of Northern Colorado Medical Center and United Way of Weld County.

“I always thought I’d be a small business owner,” Warner says now. “I just never thought I’d be in the technology business.”

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