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Taking a business to the next level of success is often a daunting task. With the start-up phase behind them, how can an entrepreneur best scale up their company from simple profitability to the second stage of significant revenues and a meaningful return on investment? COO & President Arathi Rajagopalan and CEO Vijay Krishnan, founders and principal owners of Integrass – an IT services, products, and solutions company –   found themselves asking that very question and discovered answers at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in its Advisory Board Council (ABC) program.

Since its founding in 2011, Integrass has grown from an IT services company into much more. Today the firm creates competitive advantage for organizations around the world by implementing customized, end-to-end IT solutions that help achieve business success, leveraging leading technology platforms in a global delivery model.

The Integrass company story is a good one. “We stumbled through the initial startup stages,” Krishnan recalls humbly. “By 2013 we had hit our first $1 million in revenue. But in a startup’s lifecycle, a million dollars is kind of just a starter. You can either become non-existent or you can grow and navigate the small business no man’s land to get yourself to the next milestone which is predominantly the $5 million revenue target.”

“What Integrass lacked at that time was the expertise, knowledge and guidance about how to build a company from $1 million to $5 million in revenues,” Krishnan explains. “And that’s why we got introduced to the Advisory Board Council at the FSBDC.”

Designed for established, second-stage companies, the Advisory Board Council provides no-cost, customized teams of volunteer professionals who offer advice and counsel to help small businesses grow. The program acts as a matchmaker between established local small businesses and area professionals who donate their expertise as members of an advisory board, with each of the volunteers purposefully selected to address the specific needs of the FSBDC client.

“The FSBDC meticulously crafted a Board which gave us expertise in the areas where we were lacking – financial management, strategic planning, marketing & sales management – and then actually guided us through the whole journey to where we could navigate ourselves and reach that $5 million target,” Krishnan states.

“The Advisory Board was a great forum to bring in our business challenges, big or small,” Rajagopalan remarks. “Then they helped me understand that I needed to be more focused on strategy and let go of operational tasks. It really helped bring out the better leader in me.”

In fact, since starting with the FSBDC’s ABC, Integrass has enjoyed impressive growth. “When we joined the Advisory Board Council, we were a $1 million-dollar company and looking for direction” Krishnan recalls. “Since then, from a metrics perspective, revenues have grown from $1 million to $7 million, the number of employees has grown from 25 to 105 and we have moved from a rental office to four locations around the world. Most important, we have built growth accelerators and created new products, growing from zero in the beginning to six today with plans for more in the future,” he concludes.

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