Tanya McCaw is the CEO of Royal IT, an IT Managed Services business. She and her business partner and husband arrived in NYC in 2015 to take a bite out of the Big Apple. AWNY sat down with Tanya to find out what it’s been like bringing their company from Perth to NYC.
Tell us about your business and what inspired you to begin?
Royal IT provides IT consulting, support and Managed IT services to small businesses of up to around 200 staff. Our team of consultants, engineers and project managers become the IT department for our clients so they don’t need to hire their own IT staff. Our goals are to maximize our clients’ profits through the use of technology. We have an office in Perth, Australia, which is now 9 years old and we opened our second office in NYC in 2015.
My business partner and husband is the founder of Royal IT – he started the company after working in the IT industry for over 17 years. I joined Royal IT when it was 3 years old and needed a person to take charge of the business and leadership aspect. I have always wanted to own my own business since I was a teenager, and now that I am realizing this dream with my life partner I feel blessed as we really complement each other.
You brought your business to the USA two years ago – what was the inspiration for moving to the USA?
After backpacking around the world together for a couple of years when we first met, we had a taste of what it would be like to live abroad.
We came to NYC for a holiday 5 years ago and instantly fell in love with the energy of this amazing city. There are so many interesting, talented and diverse people compacted together – it really does inspire me on a daily basis to evolve and become a better version of myself.
From a business perspective, we have always dreamed big: our goal is to open 5 international offices. By moving to the US we are able offer an exceptional service that is 24×7 because we have international teams that are on opposite time zones. The US was an attractive place to start because the need for Managed IT services in small business is becoming crucial as the technology landscape becomes more complicated.
It also made good business sense to expand to the US and diversify our markets during a time when Perth is experiencing an economic downturn.
As an IT consulting business – why come to NYC vs other cities in the USA?
In a city like NYC business professionals are very busy and don’t have time to wait hours for their IT issues to be resolved. Our 24×7 help desk and technical consulting team is able to service the round the clock needs of our clients. In addition, we provide guaranteed IT support within 45 seconds! We do plan to expand to other cities in the USA, but at this stage we are focusing on NYC.
What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?
The first 12 months I definitely wasn’t in my comfort zone and was trying to get a grasp of the unique way everything is done in this city. I worked really hard on putting myself out there to develop new friendships and networks and after a while it started to pay off. Now I find that I am out most nights of the week either socializing, attending workshops or networking events. I love it!
My ‘Ah Ha’ moment was when I was delivering a presentation on Royal IT to a group of around 30 professionals and I was sharing our story. I was proud to show photos of our international team and offices. I remember feeling really confident and proud of what we have achieved so far.
What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business?
There have been so many! Starting a business and expanding internationally isn’t for the faint hearted that’s for sure. The main lesson would be not rushing into new hires and taking the time to find the right people. We are now very picky with selecting new staff to join our team and have a lengthy interview process in place. We go against the grain of the typical ‘IT geek’ and employ exceptional communicators that can relate to our clients’ needs. Of course it’s also essential that they possess the right technical skills and are a good fit for our team.
What has been the hardest thing about bringing your business to the USA?
Leaving my family, friends and the Royal IT team in Perth was definitely the hardest part. The flight to Perth is around 26 hours, so unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of popping home for a long weekend catch up. Despite this, I make sure I take out regular time from my schedule to Skype home. My parents and Aunty and Uncle are coming to visit in August this year and they have never been to NYC, so I am very excited to show them around.
Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?
We use an outsourced marketing team to coordinate the marketing campaigns for both our Perth and NYC offices. We developed a strong brand and use a range of marketing strategies that have proven successful, which include in-bound marketing and paid advertising. Networking and referral-based marketing groups have also been critical for lead generation.
Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?
Royal IT is a member of several different IT industry groups that provide ongoing training and mentoring by business leaders. We also attend a couple of industry conferences each year, which are critical as they provide a community to share information and learn the latest technology trends.
In addition to this, I have engaged the services of Zento Global Consulting for the past five years for business coaching. We have used business coaches since the early stages of the company’s development and this has been an instrumental component to supporting the company’s growth.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?
The best advice I can provide is: don’t go at this alone! If you don’t have any business experience, find some mentors or engage a business coach. It might cost a bit extra but it really is a wise business investment and will save you from making many costly mistakes. If you pick the right coach they will effectively become part of your team.
Secondly, as a business owner a critical part of your responsibility is to put aside time every week to work ‘on’ the business. This time should not be switched out to work on operational or reactive tasks. Use a virtual assistant and outsource ALL of your lower level tasks where possible, as it is not a good use for your time.
Finally, it is critical to take time to look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, meditate and ensure you have time for family and friends. It is very easy to get caught up in all the ins and outs of running a company and let your life and health go downhill.
Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?
Our business name is from the street we used to live on in East Perth: Royal Street. Our whole team in Australia is involved with the servicing our NYC clients in one way or another, which is really exciting.
What is next for your business?
Continuing to grow the NYC office and expand our networks is the priority. At the end of 2018 we will start looking into opening our third office somewhere in the USA.
Do you have an offer or promo code you would like to share with AWNY members?
Royal IT offers a 10% discount on our services to AWNY members. Use the code RIT-AWNY when you get in touch.
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