Information technology (IT) is one of the tools that any small business owner should have, and Keyvan Lewis’ launch of CMIT Solutions is poised to be the go-to source for technical solutions to help small businesses thrive. Launched in March, CMIT, based in Dallas, provides IT solutions to small- to medium-sized business owners who are curious about how to integrate technology to support them in meeting their bottom lines and growing their customer base.
In a recent interview, Lewis told TNJ.com that his 27-year background in the IT space inspired him to start his own company.
“I started out as a Unix System Administrator and later moved into networking and started focusing more on leadership and service delivery,” he says. “So after 22 years of working at Dell Services and Entity Data Services, I was let go from Entity in November and decided that instead of going back into corporate America, it was time to take those years of experience and provide a service for small- to medium-sized business owners.”
Lewis’ first order of business: “Within this first year, my objective is to breakeven…$8,000 a month in operating expenses. I’d also like to be able to hire at least one full-time employee by the end of the year, and then I’ll start to grow my customer base. I’d like to have different customers in different markets with different verticals. Today, I have a virtual CIO customer that I’ve already signed, and I have a church and a foundation that I’ll sign next week,” he shares.
His existing customer base began on LinkedIn, where he has 900 connections. “They are people that I have worked with over the years, and through LinkedIn, I let all of them know that this is the next chapter in my life that I am pursuing,” he says.
“All of my customers are people I’ve worked with in the past, people who know my work as an IT professional. They have confidence in me, and they know that I know what I’m doing,” he adds.
One of the areas that CMIT can help with is security. “One of the biggest challenges for business owners is dealing with ransomware, and accepting the idea that investing in security is necessary. For example, the only thing you can do is restore your data from backups when you are affected by ransomware, otherwise your data is going to be held hostage,” Lewis explains. “Another thing that small business owners don’t realize is they think that outsourcing IT support is expensive, but it really isn’t.”
For small business owners looking to hire CMIT, Lewis does a free assessment (pre-proposal) so that the potential customer can describe their objectives and what Lewis calls “their pain points.” Next, he gauges their level of vulnerability and recommends what they consider should having corrected. Then, he gives them the cost. After the assessment, Lewis says he typically hears, “Wow, I didn’t know it would be this inexpensive.”