Avis Yates Rivers recently celebrated her 30th anniversary as a small business owner, but she still remembers her days as a fledgling entrepreneur. Now the CEO of Technology Concepts Group International (TCGI), an IT services business with big-name clients like Verizon, Merck, and Marriott, Avis decided to strike out on her own after an 11-year career at Exxon.
“I started out in my basement,” said Avis. “When I moved into my first real office, I began to explore the services and resources available to me. That’s how I found UCEDC.”
When she signed on as a UCEDC client in 1988, Avis received help writing her business plan and setting up a sound bookkeeping system. Then she was ready for $20,000 in funding, which she used to hire additional staff and expand her marketing efforts. The investment paid off: she soon won a major contract with the federal government and her business blossomed, ultimately evolving into what TCGI is today.
“Where I am now is a direct result of the early help I received from UCEDC,” said Avis. “They did for me exactly what they are in business to do: lend technical and financial assistance to new, small businesses that are trying to grow and often lack access to capital. They were and continue to be a tremendous resource for me.”
Not Always Easy
Of course, there were some bumps in the road to success. “It wasn’t a straight line up,” said Avis. “I’ve seen my fair share of ups and downs, but like any good business owner, I can navigate the bad waters as well as the good.”
A major risk in Avis’s business is market downturns. “Our business is predominantly corporate, and when they experience severe economic downturns, it can have a drastic impact on our ability to attract new business.” Avis says that some volatility is inevitable, and she tries to overcome it by continuing to look for new business. “You have to keep going and know that opportunities will continue to present themselves,” she said.
Passing the torch?
So what’s next for this successful businesswoman? She recently launched TCGi’s global expansion into the Asia Pacific region, with an office in Singapore. Once she establishes a few more global locations, Avis will be open to merger and acquisition inquiries. After a long and fruitful career, she is ready to transition to a career as author and speaker.
“I would like TCGi to become an attractive acquisition target,” said Avis. “It could be a sale or a merger. I just want to transition my business to a larger company that could benefit from the solutions we’ve put in place.”
To learn more about Avis Yates Rivers and her company, visit technologyconcepts.com.