This series draws back the curtain to see what makes technology services organizations successful. We’re spotlighting our partners for their take on how to drive growth. Get insights on everything from daily habits to streamlining workflow. Let’s dive in!
TCE Company’s CEO, Sarah Goffman, isn’t your typical technology services leader. She has an academic background in anthropology, three rescued dogs, and occasionally receives emails from the FBI titled “For your eyes only.” She’s also known to joke around, so nobody believed her when Sarah read one such email earlier this year while visiting family in Florida.
“My seven-year-old niece walks in, so I close my laptop, and she’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ and I say, ‘Well, I just got an email from the FBI, and you can’t see it,'” Sarah says. “She thought I was joking. And I say, ‘No, I’m serious!'”
Sarah’s security clearance comes from TCE’s involvement in an organization called InfraGard, a private-sector initiative that works directly with the FBI to help stop cyberterrorism. One of the advantages of InfraGard membership is receiving alerts about security incidents before they’re made public. “It gives us the ability to act quickly for our clients,” Sarah says.
TCE (which stands for Total Commitment to Excellence) serves clients nationwide, specializing in telecom and data MSP.
“We’re especially good at telecom,” Sarah says. “We have our own phone system that’s trademarked. With that phone system, we can offer software development. So if a client needs something that’s, for example, integrated with a CRM and there isn’t a direct connection, we’ll build software to make that connection.”
Building the way forward for its clients has been integral to TCE’s success since its establishment in 1985.
“There’s no cookie-cutter approach to our solutions,” Sarah says. “We want to get to know our clients and be more of a partner to them, to understand their felt needs.”
Felt needs is an anthropology term that resonates in Sarah’s work today. With felt needs, “we’re looking at what the client feels they need, what their pain points are, what problem they’re trying to solve, and then we work on a solution that fits within their culture.”
As a partner to her clients, Sarah always looks out for their best interests in the IT space. With the significant escalation of cyber threats, MSP offerings in cybersecurity are at the top of her list for 2023.
“We want to ensure that our clients are as secure as possible,” Sarah says. “There’s no 100% foolproof way to avoid a security incident, but we can start by looking at what information is out there and implement new products.”
Some of TCE’s new offerings will include dark web scans, cybersecurity training for new and established teams, and a more robust anti-virus.
“It’s about helping our clients understand what their risks are and what their security posture is,” Sarah says.
TCE uses Quoter to build proposals, so adding new cybersecurity offerings to the quote process is a breeze.
“It takes me three minutes to write a proposal,” Sarah says, “and it pushes into our PSA for us.”
Here’s more on how Sarah drives business growth for TCE.
Get pumped up!
“The first thing I do in the morning is play with my dogs. One of them is a fourteen-pound rescue named Dora; she was badly abused before we got her, so she wakes up every day with this energy and appreciation, like, ‘Hey, I’m not stuck in a cage. I’m free!’ She runs around and plays with our other dogs, Bella and Megatron. I always take time to play with them in the morning. It just really ramps up my energy for the day.”
Assess your workday before it begins
“The next thing I do is review my schedule. At the end of every night, I know my plan for the next day. I have everything laid out and my tasks in order of how I want them to be accomplished, including the priority order and everything.
I use Asana, which helps me lay out all my tasks for the day. So I get up in the morning, play with my dogs, grab a cup of coffee, and while I’m having my coffee, I will look at my schedule for the day. I also look at my task list for the day. It mentally prepares me. You know that half an hour people spend when they get into the office, thinking through the day? I’ve already done that, so when I sit at my desk, I’m ready to go.”
Make task lists a treat
“I put my tasks into a calendar view in Asana. There are certain things that I need to do that are recurring daily, like meeting with my engineering team, so that’s included in the task list by default. Some of those tasks are things that I do out of habit, but I still put them on my list because when I start checking things off, I think, ‘Oh, look at how much I’ve done today!'”
Set a date for ‘someday’ goals
“Someone said a phrase to me years ago, and it’s really stuck with me: someday is not another day of the week. I have a bracelet with that engraved on it. And the thought behind it is when you say you want to do something, pick a date and work towards it. So that’s what I do. If I want to do something, I put a date on it and work my schedule backward to see what I need to do to get to that date. If that date isn’t realistic, I will move it out a little. It really resonates with me to give myself deadlines. If you don’t give yourself deadlines, those things won’t get done.”
Use your downtime wisely
“One of the lessons I’ve taken away from 2022 is that the downtime where people aren’t spending money is your time to look at your products, evaluate them, anticipate what your clients will need in the future, and then push forward with them. Then, when the market lull is over, you will come through as a stronger company.
We took 2022 to look at our products and determined that we needed stronger cybersecurity offerings for our clients.”
Pause before you react
“When you have a challenge, there’s always that initial knee-jerk reaction of how you want to respond, but that’s not always the best choice for the challenge. It’s better to take a step back, even if it’s for five minutes. Breathe, think it through, and then tackle it. Sometimes that knee-jerk reaction is going to make it worse than it is.”
Challenge yourself in and outside of work
“I’m a firm believer in challenging myself both at work and physically. It helps me keep my mind centered. It keeps me in that aggressive, go-getter attitude.”
Editor’s Note: Sarah competes in duathlons, triathlons, 5 & 10k’s, and cyclocross races!
Fix the broken processes
“Before using Quoter, we built our proposals in Excel or Word, I can’t remember. (Editor’s Note: TCE has been a Quoter client for a long time – since 2017!) I’d come on board with the company and was learning its quoting process, and I said, ‘No, this is not going to work for me.’
I had someone who worked on special projects, and I tasked her with finding me software to build quotes. She came back with some solutions, but none met what I wanted. I tried searching myself, and the first site that popped up was Quoter, and I said, ‘This is exactly what I’m looking for; sign me up.'”
Pay attention to what matters
“Our clients believe in us. Our clients, and my employees, are what make TCE successful. I couldn’t run the company without them.”
This interview has been edited for clarity & length.