Even techno-phobes have heard of the millennium bug-the glitch that could cause a worldwide computer crash in 2000.
For businesses, the idea is frightening, but for Martha Daniel, president and CEO of Information Management Resources Inc. in Costa Mesa, California, which helps companies deal with the so-called Y2K problem, it’s an opportunity.
Daniel started IMRI in 1992 and raked in $65,000 that year. Today, the company has six locations and 55 employees. Because of the growing demand for IMRI’s Y2K expertise, 1998 revenues were projected to reach $9 million, up from $5.6 million in 1997.
Daniel’s corporation is structured a bit differently from most of her competitors’. Most of the technicians are employees, rather than independent contractors. “I’ve found that when the independents finish a project and leave, they take the knowledge with them. It’s important to keep that knowledge within the company.”
Daniel started her firm with the backing of a former business associate, who was able to secure a $200,000 credit line for her. A break came when Arco agreed to a lump sum payment of $252,000 for a one-year contract in 1994, at which time she also obtained $200,000 in loans from the Small Business Administration. “I had to get over being ashamed to say I’m small,” she recalls. “When I told customers that I needed to be paid in 10 days, most of my big clients were willing to do it.”
Not limited to one-time contracts, she also pursued large projects on a long-term basis from the public sector by taking advantage of minority vending programs.
Before starting her own company, the 46-year-old Memphis native worked as a manager for Arco, IBM and Bekins, where she learned the value of placing the company first. “I’ve reinvested in my company by hiring senior-level people from the corporate world.” As an incentive, Daniel uses the promise of stock options if IMRI goes public within the next year.
Others are taking notice of the well-run, high-tech company. Daniel has turned down acquisition offers for $10 million and $14 million because the investors’ visions differed from hers. “I know that as long as we continue to fine-tune our process and methodology, we’ll be in demand.”
Information Management Resources Inc., 940 S. Coast Drive, Suite 260, Costa Mesa, CA 92626; 949-852-5101; www.imri.com.