How This Husband & Wife Team Adapted Their Corporate World Experience And Ushered The Family IT Business To Become The Leading Provider Of Technology Services For Small Businesses In Indiana

Brian and Lisa Johnson were frustrated.

On the outside, the couple, who married in 1997, seemed to have everything going for them.  

In just ten years, Brian, who holds a degree in computer engineering from Purdue University, had climbed the ladder at an international tech company serving clients around the world implementing and executing multi-million-dollar IT projects and solutions.

Lisa had found her super-power too. Also working for a large international tech company, she performed project management, implementation, and business process improvement for large companies.

But their work left them feeling deflated and empty.

“I was managing some fairly large technology design teams,” Brian said. “I’d pour my heart and energy into some large muli-million-dollar projects.  These were big deals. But then the client would decide not to implement. It was frustrating.”

Both Lisa and Brian wanted more control. Even more important, they wanted to do meaningful work that made a difference.

“We saw the challenges small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) faced, and we’d proved we could move the needle in a large company, where it’s very difficult to do,” Brian said. “So, we thought, imagine what we could do for an SMB organization? We knew we could make an even bigger difference for them if we made that the focus in our own business.”

This contemplation returned Lisa to where it all started for her—the place she first worked in IT. In the 1980s, when Lisa was in high school, she cleaned computers, ran cables, and built computers at AVC Technology Corporation, a company founded by her father, Brent Enderle.

AVC opened its doors on July 1, 1971, specializing in the technology of the day which included overhead projectors, and tape players. The company transitioned into computers in the eighties when companies began purchasing computers for their business. A mechanical engineer, Brent enjoyed technology and saw this as an exciting opportunity.

“Businesses didn’t know what to do with computers,” Lisa said. “So, my dad started helping businesses utilize technology better.” AVC grew into one of the largest regional Commodore dealers, becoming well known in Indianapolis. AVC quickly evolved into services and software around those computers, introducing AVC Managed Services in the 80s and AVC Custom Software in the ‘90s.

When Lisa and Brian were looking to make a move from corporate America to entrepreneurship, her father was looking for a transition plan so he could retire.

In 2002, they quit their corporate jobs, took a leap of faith, and joined AVC.  Moving into ownership a few years later, their vision is providing technology solutions that are helping their SMB clients break new ground. Experiencing significant year over year growth, the company has grown 400% since they stepped into ownership. Today, just one year shy of celebrating 50 years in business, AVC is a leading provider for software and technology services for SMBs in Indianapolis. They are also the largest fund accounting and payroll software provider in the state of Indiana.

Adaptability To Change Creates Tremendous Opportunity For SMBs

For a tech company to be in business for 50 years is remarkable. Technology changes rapidly. This brings tremendous opportunity to those who adapt, but it also drives companies to extinction that fail to adapt.

AVC proves again and again they are adaptable, demonstrating their continued forward-thinking and innovative approach, which, in turn, provides opportunities for SMB clients to stay relevant.  

In the 80s, AVC sensed there could be a different business model for businesses other than the traditional “break-fix” approach well before other IT providers.“Everybody else was doing break-fix, but we came up with managed services,” Lisa said. “We realized then that the businesses we served needed predictable costs. We’ve had all-inclusive since then. I remember cleaning computers as part of our managed services when I was in high school.”

An industry leader in forming the principles of managed services and how they work, the plans devised by AVC in the ‘80s have become a common practice in IT companies today.

In the 90s, AVC began looking at ways to help clients streamline their business using technology. “My dad wrote a piece of accounting software in the nineties,” Lisa said. “While it’s changed and been updated over the years, we’ve got that software in over half the libraries in Indiana.”

In the early 2000’s, AVC brought in Brian and Lisa to give their more advanced business and engineering acumen not readily available to SMBs. Their fresh perspective not only allowed AVC to pass on to the next generation, it’s grown bigger and kept the SMBs they serve on the cutting edge so they can effectively compete and grow. This has helped AVC dominate and expand their market from Indianapolis to the entire state of Indiana. “The services have resonated with SMBs,” Brian said. “And because the technology doesn’t get simpler, it’s created more of a demand for people like Lisa and I to go in and help.” 

Today, AVC continues to excel at adaptability. Helping clients in their selection of the right set of software, tools, and processes, they provide innovative solutions that solve client’s problems, streamline their organization, and help them survive in rapidly changing times.

“Technology is always changing,” Brian said. There’s always new, better, potentially cheaper or more efficient ways to do things. You must change with it to get the full value out of technology so you can prevail.”

For example, one of the transitional technologies AVC offers which are saving their clients a lot of money and from headaches right now are cloud services. AVC’s team partners with their clients to understand their challenges and then provides their expert recommendations.   “We do everything we can to do things at the right time, in the right order with the right budgets to fit their needs,” Brian said.

SMB Businesses Receive Solutions Normally Reserved For Large Companies

One of the critical differences AVC offers is that they bring large scale IT solutions not traditionally available to smaller organizations. While their business clients span a variety of categories most of their business clients are medium-sized businesses with 25 -100 computers and primarily fall into the categories of construction management, wholesalers, architectural firms, and professional services.

In addition, SMBs express their desire to partner with AVC due to the level of comfort and trust they experience – a level they don’t typically experience when working with large companies. Repeatedly, clients mention that AVC gives them “peace of mind” and that AVC “takes care of things so they don’t have to worry about it”.  “In today’s world, you must have a technology company you can trust,” Brian said. “A lot of bad things can happen. They know we’re there to protect them and at the same time we’ve got their back if anything happens.”  

Same Mission, Bigger Vision

“When we left our big corporate jobs, we wanted to bring business process improvement, technology, planning, and services used in large companies to the SMB companies where we could make a real difference,” Lisa said.

 “Now we want to expand to become a recognized regional provider and help more SMBs in the central Midwest region,” Brian added.

As a company whose work brought the power of innovative software solutions and cutting-edge technology to SMBs for nearly half a century, to help them utilize the best technology while remaining inside their budgets, and who continues to be forward-thinking and adaptable, they’ve laid the foundation to achieve this. There is no doubt that AVC will continue to lead the field in IT for SMBs in the Midwest and beyond.

MSP Success Magazine is a print and digital publication dedicated to helping the CEOs and owners of managed IT services businesses build strong, profitable, growth-oriented businesses. Written and published by Robin Robins, founder of Technology Marketing Toolkit, this magazine is uniquely focused on the topics of marketing, client-acquisition, sales, profitability, leadership and personal development.



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