Story of TECHNOCOM
told by Charlotte Business Journal
I don’t tell this story very often,” says Jim Riggins, CEO of TechnoCom. “I was in Myrtle Beach in 1984 on a family vacation (taking a break from work in a copier business), sitting in a Jacuzzi at 11 p.m. with someone I didn’t know. We chatted. “Over the next few days, we talked more and spoke about getting together to play golf the next time we were on vacation in Myrtle Beach. When leaving, he said to me, ‘If you ever want a good copier line, let me know.’ This is how I found out that Marc Parsons, my new friend, was really the chairman of a major Detroit copier (Toshiba) company.” Jim Riggins was 24 years old at the time. He and Parsons stayed in touch over the next two years, getting together once or twice to play golf.
Planting Tree“The next year, I resigned from a position I had with a copier company,” says Riggins. “I called him (Parsons) and he said, ‘Let me see if Toshiba is available in Charlotte.” “I did some homework on the line,” reminisces Riggins, “finding out there was no market presence in Charlotte. I created a business plan and called him back. “When do you want to start?” he asked me, says Riggins. “He sent me a $25,000 check,” continues Riggins, “with no contract – just like that. I found an office location, sent him the lease, and started my business in March of ’87.” Riggins then received $60,000 in copier equipment. No contract was ever requested by Parsons for the money he sent to 26-year-old Jim Riggins-nor for the $60,000 in copier equipment. “We never did sign an agreement,: says Riggins. “I paid the money back, with interest,” he adds. “But, how many people do you know who start a company with no commitment?” asks Riggins. “I believe it’s a miracle. It’s formed the platform by which I run my business now.” “We try for a win-win-win – customer-employee-company- scenario at TechnoCom,” says Riggins. “I feel that’s the reason for our success,” he adds.
“I made a lot of mistakes when I started the company,” Riggins says. “It was very humbling. But, with a humbling experience, a person can either get angry and bitter or just get better. I chose to get better. “The way we run our business is very different. I seriously doubt there’s another copier company that runs itself like we do. “Normally, a copier sale is a one-time deal –no maintenance or anything,” explains Riggins. “Tom Tini was instrumental in a plan that restructured the company in ’95. We created separate companies within our company that run independently by sales and service teams.” The new structure offered maintenance and ongoing assistance to clients. The restructuring was different, too, in that it paid sales teams a traditional commission upfront, but instead of a one-time payment, the salesperson was paid maintenance profit over three-to five-year period. A long-term relationship was created between the client, sales team, and TechnoCom. “We have a low turnover,” says Riggins. “And our staff is highly experienced.” TechnoCom, more than 13 years after its inception, still sells Toshibas-copiers and faxes. “We’re now handling Hewlett Packard,” says Riggins. “There’s a new 320 Mopier printer which is a copier and a printer.”
Also, relatively new at TechnoCom is the computer division, which was started in 1997. Offering hardware, networking, consulting, installation and maintenance, Riggins saw this as a necessary next step for the company. “We recognized industry changes and have implemented everything necessary to accommodate digital output,” says Riggins. “I am constantly looking six months to three years out (in the future),” says Riggins. “I’m definitely a big-picture person,” he adds. “In the business world we’re in, greed often takes over,” Riggins says. “Certain companies will take advantage. I’m going to do what’s right. “I’d like to give a lot of credit to the people I work with. I don’t consider myself to be wildly successful,” he adds. “I surround myself with great people. I haven’t done it on my own. I feel I’ve been blessed.”
Call TechnoCom at 704-847-5200 or visit www.technocomusa.com. With a company foundation that wants its customers to win as much as it does, how can you go wrong?
-Trisha Berry, Journalist from the Charlotte Business Journal