“Since I was a toddler, there always was a computer at my house, and the family joke was that I would ‘break’ it and had to fix it before my dad got home,” Adam Steinhoff said. “As early as 12 years old, my parents would drop me off at people’s homes, and I’d teach them how to use their computer. When I finished, they would hand me $20, which bought a lot of Legos. I acquired an early understanding of entrepreneurialism and quickly learned that if you work, people will pay you.”
This mindset stuck with Adam into his late teens when, after watching a previous boss neglect his business, Steinhoff realized he had what it took to run his own company.
“That was the moment I knew I was going to do this. I started my first company at 18. I worked for myself for about 3 years, and then I sold that company and went to work for a large global company,” he said. “This is when I realized rather quickly that I’m unemployable. I had been working for myself since I was 12, and in that one year, I found I really didn’t fit into the corporate scene. I left and ultimately started what is Dedicated IT today.”
Dedicated IT is an IT Services company specializing in serving mid-sized businesses with 100 to 1500 employees. Typically, these clients are in high-growth mode and are frustrated and tired of recurring technology problems. That is when they call Dedicated IT.
“We execute very well, and we are not afraid to take on difficult projects or big clients. Most companies that do what we do, focus on a specific client size, usually around 25 to 100 employees. Anything over that scares them,” he said. “Dedicated IT has specifically fought that trend. We have gone after the larger companies. What we found is that mid-market companies are under served by our industry, so we really found a good niche.”
Quoting John D Rockefeller, Steinhoff says, “What makes Dedicated IT special is doing common things, uncommonly well.”
Keeping a Competitive Edge
Steinhoff says their competitive edge lies in the fact that their team is built on a set of very distinctive core values.
“We look for those core values along with their technical abilities. It’s fairly easy to find a smart technical person, but it’s difficult to find someone who also relates well to other humans,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of hiring very smart IT people who also have these distinctive core values, and that allows us to go after the large, under served companies.”
Beyond that, Dedicated IT is always searching for new ways to challenge the status quo, further setting them apart from their competition. After analyzing the software available on the market for companies like Dedicated IT, Steinhoff and his team noticed they were all lacking significant components needed to run their business.
“Instead of continuing to be hindered by the existing software packages, we chose to develop an end-to-end management platform on Salesforce. This decision has enabled Dedicated IT to provide our staff and clients a software application that scales quickly to meet our business goals, while still making it feel like a customized solution for each client,” he said. “This has become a major differentiator for Dedicated IT.”
It has been so transformational for Dedicated IT, that other IT solutions providers are interested in also utilizing their platform.
“In the very near future we will have to decide whether we will keep this software as our own competitive advantage, or to disrupt the market by selling it to other IT solutions providers, which will create a new revenue source for Dedicated IT,” Steinhoff said.
Dedicated IT’s Company Culture
The leadership at Dedicated IT has fostered a company culture where employees are empowered, respected and supported.
“The leadership at Dedicated IT respects our people. This seems so simple, but it’s what I feel is missing in many companies,” he said. “We respect that they have a life outside of Dedicated IT, and we encourage them to be present for important events for their kids, or to make time to go to the doctor or the gym during the day. We value them and support them in being who they are. While they must work hard to stay on our team, we want them to enjoy themselves while they do it.”
Steinhoff recognizes the immense talent that makes up his team, so he’s committed to making Dedicated IT a great place to work.
“We absolutely have the best of the best here, and we know that they are talented enough to work anywhere. We make sure that we provide a workplace that is unlike others, so their decision to stay here and to grow with us, is easy for them to make,” he said.
Overcoming Challenges and Looking Toward the Future
Like any entrepreneur, Steinhoff has faced his share of challenges and they’ve slowly changed as the company continues to grow.
In the beginning, the biggest challenge for Steinhoff was the realization that he had to determine his clients’ needs before providing them a solution.
“Being a techy, engineering-brained person, I always just assumed that if you have the best solution or the best product, people will come because you have a website up,” he said. “I really missed the mark of understanding how important sales and marketing was early on.”
Although his company gained substantial traction over the years, Steinhoff’s next challenge was not dreaming big enough.
“A couple years ago, we set a goal to get to $50 million in revenue by 2025, and at the time I remember arguing with my leadership team, ‘Guys let’s be realistic here.’ The crazy thing is, we’ve consistently hit the projections that we’ve put into place to get to that number,” he said. “It’s weird to think, that for a long time, I wasn’t dreaming big enough, and I think that was something that stunted our growth.”
Today, Steinhoff says they’re in a growth period where they need to start looking at laying down a middle management layer.
“When you start laying down the management layer, it’s costly. We ended up slowing it down a bit as we try to figure out what that management layer will look like and who reports to whom,” he said. “Then it’s, how do we pay for these resources? We want to be sure we’re getting world class managers and not just a body. I would say that’s a struggle for us as well.”
When it comes to growing the business, Steinhoff and his team have no plans to slow down anytime soon. His long-term goal right now is being at $50 million in revenue by 2025.
“Short term, we’re laying down that management layer, and we’re starting to prep for the next round of growth. We’re attempting to grow through acquisition, so we’re looking at other firms we can acquire to speed up that growth,” he said. “We’re really trying to mature who we are. We were a big-little-company, and now we’re transitioning to becoming a little-big-company.”
What It Means to Be an Honoree
Dedicated IT was selected a top 50 second stage company in the state by GrowFL, based on their growth, innovation, culture and more. Although proud of the achievement, Steinhoff says he wasn’t quite sure what to do at first.
“I’m not really braggadocios, so it was an interesting thing to be selected and want to brag to everybody, but not really feeling like I could since it’s not my nature,” he said. “But it was a moment of pride, a moment of excitement, and a validation that we are a legitimate company. I think a lot of entrepreneurs suffer from imposter syndrome, where every day we wake up and think somebody’s going to find out that we have no idea what we’re doing,” he laughed. “So, I think this type of award is the validation that we’re legitimate.”
Advice for Future Entrepreneurs
When asked what advice he would give to future entrepreneurs, Steinhoff laughed and replied, “How much time do you have?”
He was able to boil down a few of the greatest lessons he’s learned along the way; the importance of constantly learning, taking advantage of other entrepreneurs around you, and what seems like the best idea, might not always be.
“Every time I talk to an entrepreneur, I always ask them what they’re currently reading or what they have read to change their life, and I add that to my list of books I need to read. I constantly have an audio book going, that’s a really big thing,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call an entrepreneur who is out of your league. Often they want to impart their wisdom.”
“Lastly, when you need something done, ask a busy person. A lot of times in my career, I’ve taken the cost-effective way to solve a problem, when in fact, it would have made more sense to pay a higher end consultant to get the right advice.”
Notable Community Involvement
With a mission statement to make people and organizations better today than they were yesterday, Dedicated IT encourages its staff to get out into the community and make a difference, even during a work day.
Dedicated IT’s leadership is actively involved with organizations like UCF and their PSP program, AMI Kids and The Palm Beach Tech Association.
As a whole, they frequently sponsor charity events, like the Freedom 4-Miler, which is a major fund-raising event for Believe With Me, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing hope and help to families who have lost a loved one while serving in the Military.