Against All Odds: Inter-Tel The First 30 Years is a study of how a small business can thrive in the shadow of a corporate giant like AT&T. In 1969 a driven salesman and entrepreneur named Steve Mihaylo, took on the telephone monopoly shortly after court decisions forced AT&T to allow non-AT&T equipment to be connected to its network. Emerging from a one-man office with a desk made of an old door nailed to the wall, this company grew through consultative selling. Using the companys relative small size as an asset, Inter-Tel found it could more quickly adapt its product to customer needs and was able to bring innovations to market at a speed only dreamed of by its larger competitors. To most people in the 1970s, the merger of computers and telephones was a far-fetched proposition. Mihaylo committed to growing his business through increased research into microprocessors. This costly gamble allowed Inter-Tel to introduce the first microprocessor-based phone system, bringing features never before available to small businesses. As a result, in 1981 Mihaylo took his company public. Opening at $12.50 a share, the stock sold out its initial offering in 30 minutes and reached $16 per share. By 1982 the stock reached $54 a share, and it was a tremendous financial success. Just one year after such notable success, tragedy loomed, and Inter-Tel experienced unexpected disconnection problems on its key phone system the SPK. As a result, Inter-Tel was forced to redesign its product. Assembling a team of talented software engineers, a new more programmable phone was created, and once again this innovative company was poised for tremendous growth. Using its financial acumen, Inter-Tel introduced its own financing program, and purchased several distributors in order to handle the growth in sales that resulted. In Inter-Tels quest for the most efficient selling relationships, it created the most flexible product for its customers, and a very capable sales force that could sell all of the benefits of the new phone system. Today, as Inter-Tel introduces a new Internet based long distance phone system to the market, it is poised for even greater growth and continued long-term success. Inter-Tel has perfected a customer driven formula for success. This formula is initiated by engaging a talented sales force that can discover the clients exact needs. Next, Inter-Tel employs technology to customize a phone system that affordably meets the clients exact needs. Then Inter-Tel finances its products and remains in contact to offer system upgrades that fulfill future needs. Clients find that this approach builds a relationship and leads to better customer service. In this era of diminished customer service, these basic steps can be applied to almost any business, resulting in lasting success. Entrepreneurs will find this work insightful. This book showcases real-world methods used in growing a small business to a large one and addresses issues of managing growth, increasing financial strength and attracting talented employees to a small business.
Business-Money, Biography-History, Company-Profiles,