CorKat Data Solutions aims to give small companies – some with 20 or fewer employees – the same information-technology tools bigger companies have.

CorKat helps keep small-business IT purring

Companies that don’t have information-technology departments tend to specialize in anything but IT. A problem they can face when looking for help in that area, therefore, can be that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Turning that premise into a business model that can fill the gap is making CorKat Data Solutions a go-to place for companies with fewer than 400 employees – and no IT expertise onboard.Merc100_2015noco

CorKat Data aims to give small companies – some with 20 or fewer employees – the same tools bigger companies have. The success formula CorKat follows focuses on relationship building, education and simplicity, according to Mark Grundy, vice president for business development.

“We focus on a segment of business that very few do,” he said. “They don’t really know what they need and don’t know what to order, so we work to become their trusted adviser rather than simply their vendor.”

The market CorKat targets is categorized as small- to medium-sized. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 5.68 million employer firms in the United States, and companies with fewer than 500 employees account for 99.7 percent of that number. Businesses with less than 20 employees make up 89.8 percent.

What that means is that CorKat has a wide market to appeal to.

Ninety to 95 percent of businesses in the world are small to medium, and they don’t necessarily have IT departments,” said Grundy.

The process to building relationships with potential clients can take about six months – not an appealing fact from a sales perspective but a powerful fact from the perspective of gaining a long-term customer.

One of the benefits of using CorKat is that clients only pay for what they need because the business model is subscription based.  Subscriptions range from $50 a month to more than $10,000.

CorKat currently has about 160 clients.

“I want all of the people who work for me to focus on being a partner that can help companies do better in their business,” Grundy said. “An advantage we offer is that rather than (clients) having to buy new servers every three to five years, we put them on a Mercedes-level server.”

Initially CorKat focused on IT clients and geared its message to people who understood how their services helped.  A recent switch has been to simplify how it presents its work and broaden the market to include more nontechnical clients.

“They don’t need to know how we do what we do – just how what we do will help them,” Grundy said.

CorKat has changed its tagline to reflect that sentiment: “We bring enterprise-level technology to main-street America.”

CorKat’s revenue grew from $268,973 in 2012 to $513,251 in 2013 and $913,315 in 2014. The numbers put its one-year revenue growth at 77.947 percent and two-year growth at 239.556 percent.

“With this new initiative, we expect to grow even faster,” Grundy said. “Our last two months are 250 to 300 percent over our goal of 40 to 50 percent.”