After realizing he had the skills to build out a business of his own, Grant Baxley chose to walk away from his job and start his own business, Infinity Computer Solutions.
Providing managed services to the Tampa Bay business community, their telecom platform was originally built under their IT company. Baxley quickly discovered juggling a company specializing in both IT and telecom services wasn’t going to be sustainable. He decided to sell Infinity Computer Solutions with a goal to be the best telecom provider in their market and TeleVolPs was born.
“My ‘ah-ha’ moment was realizing the potential growth in the fact that we can sell the IT arm of our first company to focus on building relationships with other IT partners,” he said.
Today, TeleVolPs is a market leader providing business phone service that any business can utilize as they bridge the gap between a traditional phone provider and cloud services.
“For example, a lot of our clients emailed us last week with the hurricane and said, ‘Hey, can you put this message in for Tuesday because we’re going to close our business.’ National providers might give you a portal and they say, ‘here you go, figure it out,’” he said.
Employees First, Clients Second
“I know it sounds different, but it works out really well and everybody is more together,” Baxley said when he explained he leads with an employee first mentality.
“A lot of companies say the customers are always right or the customers are always first. But I strongly feel that if you’re a family, your employee is always first, then comes the customer,” he said. “When you treat your employees that way, the customer will always be treated properly.”
With only 15 team members, it’s important to Baxley to foster a family like environment based on respect, flexibility and opportunity to grow.
“We are a small business with a family atmosphere, complete with Friday afternoon happy hours, weekend team sporting events, frequent team lunches, and outings to volunteer together for our clients’ nonprofit organizations,” he said.
Overcoming Challenges and Looking Toward the Future
Like any entrepreneur, Baxley has had to overcome many roadblocks and challenges along the way of growing his business, some right off the bat.
“Early on when we were an IT company, the challenge of trying to partner with other IT companies was pretty much impossible to do. When you want to partner with someone that does the same thing as you, they’re not going to refer you business,” he said. “It wasn’t until we actually sold the IT arm of our business that we started to grow.”
Now, the biggest challenge for him is finding the right talent to add to the TeleVolPs team.
“I always like to say were slow to hire, quick to fire, so we want to make sure we’re finding the right people for our company,” he said. “We’re very customer service driven so that person needs to engage in our clients on a day-to-day business.”
In the next two years, TeleVolPs is planning to expand into five different markets, with Atlanta at the top of their list.
“We’re a national company but we have local markets. Jacksonville has been our test case to see how we will roll out to additional cities,” he said. “We have clients in almost every state, but they’re branch offices of our corporate headquarter clients. For example, we work with a pharmacy based here in Tampa, but they have 70 locations with us nationwide. We have that national footprint, but the corporate offices that we are going to bring on are going to be in our local markets.”
Keeping a Competitive Edge
To keep their competitive edge, TeleVolPs is constantly working to develop innovative new automations, integrations, and processes. For instance, they developed their own softphone app to allow their clients to utilize the functionality of a robust business phone right from their cell phones.
“Many of our new clients operate now using only our app, which provides them the ability to make and take calls from their business phone number(s), park, transfer, track, and record calls as well as text and check voicemails,” he said.
They also host “SIP Nights” at local breweries, which focus on connecting tech professionals in their area. Frequently meeting with their IT partners has strengthened their relationships with them, and built a large referral partner network, ultimately growing their client pool.
Recently, they integrated their telecom system with a wide variety of CRM systems, like Salesforce, so their clients can access in-CRM click-to-dial, screen pops, and other features between the two systems.
“This gives our clients the ability to instantly create tickets or new contacts when someone calls in, view history so their caller never has to answer the same question twice and add notes to existing contacts and companies without ever having to search for them in the system,” Baxley said.
What it Means to be an Honoree
Being selected as a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree was another edition to an already great year for TeleVolPs, after also being listed on the Tampa Bay Fast 50 and Inc. 5000 list.
“We’re honored. It’s exciting for us to be chosen to participate in this award and we’re really looking forward to the event,” he said. “Having these awards under our belt has been great for the entire staff to see and potential new hires as we grow our company, too.”
Advice for Future Entrepreneurs
When asked what his advice for entrepreneurs that may be following in his footsteps, Baxley said, “Never give up. It’s those first five years where there are going to be challenging moments. You just have to keep going and give it your all. That’s all it really takes, just never give up.”
Notable Philanthropic Involvement
It’s important for TeleVolPs to go beyond just serving the communication needs of their clients, but giving back to them as well. They’ve accomplished this in various ways like providing them discounted services to nonprofit organizations in their communities and putting boots on the ground building houses with Habitat for Humanity. As a client of theirs, TeleVolPs is also extremely active with the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa.
As an entrepreneur of his own start up, Baxley donates his time to mentor young tech companies in the Tampa community through startup incubators like the Tampa Bay WAVE and has guest-taught several technology courses at the University of South Tampa.
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