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By Verne Harnish 

scDataCom has more than doubled revenue since last year by implementing the Scaling Up platform, growing it from $3.2 million in 2021 to an estimated $7-8 million this year. Along the way it has scaled from 20 to about 30 employees. 

Alaina Meyer started the tech-adjacent business, based in Savannah, Ga., 10 years ago, when she was 22. It provides physical and electronic security systems to large organizations with complex requirements. 

Two years into running the business, Meyer brought in her mother, Kathleen Ford, who had recently retired from the military. Ford is now CEO and majority owner, and Meyer is president. With Ford at the helm, they are able to pursue contracts set aside for military veterans and tap into their unique skill sets.  

The duo worked with Scaling Up certified coach Jennifer Berkowitz at R&J Advisory Group in Delray Beach, Fla., to put the principles of Scaling Up into action. Berkowitz previously founded BUMI (Backup My Info Inc.), a backup and recovery business in New York City that served the financial industry and grew to multimillion-dollar revenue. 

Here is how they applied the Scaling Up platform.   

Job switch

When Ford came on board, Berkowitz immediately suggested that they switch jobs, so that Meyer would be president and her mother would oversee operations as CEO. Both liked the idea. 

“She was a colonel in the military,” says Meyer. “She brought a lot of value and took a big idea and made it a reality.”

One other advantage of having Ford at the helm was that she was very aligned with the company’s team. More than 50% of the staff are veterans. The company has won the HIRE Vets Medallion Award, a federal-level award that recognizes employers committed to hiring and retaining veterans.

“It’s a veteran-friendly workplace,” says Meyer. “It’s a bit more structured than comparable companies in the industry.” 

Embrace Core Values

One of the first initiatives the company worked on with Berkowitz was drafting its Core Values. “It seemed really simple, but Jen said it would be much harder than we thought,” says Meyer. As Berkowitz explains, Core Values are not complex, but they require careful thought. “They’re something you have to get right,” she says.

The Core Values are: Get Stuff Done; Delight Our Customers; Teamwork Makes the Dream Work; Learn, Grow and Improve; and Own Your Impact. These values now infuse everything the company does. 

Putting execution front and center 

Putting the company’s goals into action became easier with Ford at the helm. “My skills are more aligned with sales and marketing and hers are more aligned with organizational efficiency,” says Meyer. “She was well-suited to the job.” 

The leadership team is now turning a close eye to processes and procedures. “Everything is more complicated than you ever expect it will be,” says Meyer.

Keeping cash flowing

As the company has scaled, cash flow has become a high priority. It has rolled out partial billing to keep cash flowing. “It’s not feasible with all of our customers,” says Meyer. “The federal government, in particular, doesn’t pay up front.” 

The company also added to its professional advisory team, which includes an accountant, attorneys, lawyers, and a bank that offers a leasing program for its commercial clients. “We’ve got a better bench,” says Meyer. For any company that’s scaling up, that’s essential, and scDataCom is clearly on the fast track to growth. 

As Berkowitz says, “Kathleen and Alaina have been terrific students of the Scaling Up methodology because they are eager to learn and they immediately implement everything given to them.  All leading and lagging indicators throughout their company are being measured now, and everyone in the company understands their top priorities.  I have no doubt that 2023 is going to be an even bigger year for them.”

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.