As a big college basketball fan, Schooley Mitchell Strategic-Partner Dave Lemonds knows if the plays aren’t working you’ve got to readjust your game plan.
Yet it is something too few business owners are willing to do when it comes to their telecommunications and merchant services needs.
“Everyone has issues with their telecom but hardly anyone is willing to address it,” explains the Indianapolis-based consultant. “When most people get a service, they stick with it and rarely go back to see if there’s anything better they could be doing.”
Many people don’t realize better pricing and better quality services are available. However, with his help, it is something more and more of his clients are learning.
He recalls one company that was getting a decent price for its landline service, but wasn’t faring well in the wireless department.
After bringing forth recommendations to reduce their monthly spend by 42 percent, the company’s owner was beyond pleased.
“He was so surprised I thought he was going to come across the desk and hug me,” recalls Lemonds. “Now we’re managing their accounts for the next three years and they’re thrilled to have us reviewing them regularly.”
And that’s the part of his job he enjoys most. Having spent many years working for a major multinational computer technology company, Lemonds felt his hands were tied in the solutions he could recommend to his clients.
But today, with no ties to any provider or vendor, his independence and objectivity allows him to recommend the packages and plans best suited to his clients’ needs.
“I’m working solely for that customer and looking out for their best interests,” he says. “Having the world at your fingertips and being able to work with your client to find the best solution is the most satisfying part.”
And with more and more companies transitioning to VoIP services, he expects his help will be needed. Couple that with the virtualization of networks and increasing demand for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, workplaces are facing some serious technology upgrades and security issues.
“These trends are overlapping and overtaking the market,” he says. “These are huge challenges for companies of all sizes.”
No matter how many people are on the payroll, he’s noticed just about all businesses need some sort of telecom assistance. In small organizations, employees are often confused or overwhelmed by telecom offerings, or busy with the core areas of the business.
In large organizations, IT staff may be knowledgeable about technology, but are too pressed for time to give it the constant attention it requires.
Schooley Mitchell is a family affair for Lemonds, who operates his office in partnership with wife Phoebe, who has an impressive background in business and healthcare.
Outside of work, he enjoys spending plenty of time with his family, and is an avid basketball and pro football fan.
He’s also an accomplished musician who has toured across North America and still operates a recording studio, though it’s more for the love of music than a business venture these days.
He actively supports fundraising and research for POEMS Syndrome, which is a rare plasma-cell proliferative disorder that is progressive and often fatal.
Lemonds also works with the 32 and 0 Foundation, a charity founded by members of the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball team. The organization donates IU memorabilia to raise money for charities, including breast cancer awareness and Alzheimer’s research.
If he could give business owners just one tip, he would tell them to stay focused and clearly define their short-term goals.
“Everyone has an end game,” he says. “If you do the small things, the large things come in time. Do everything in small increments.”