Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2004

Business evolves with the times

Inter-state Wireless plugged into technology industry

January 22, 2004

It's a simple philosophy: small businesses without a long-term grasp of the future don't remain businesses for very long.

Nope, this isn't some fortune cookie wisdom or a snippet from some new jack exec wannabe on "The Apprentice" but the actual theory put to the test by Inter-state Wireless, a Basehor company specializing in wireless technology sales and installation.

"A lot of businesses fail when they become stagnant," said Rick Redieck, Inter-state Wireless executive vice-president. "We've never stayed stagnant.

"So many small businesses fail because they have tunnel vision," he added. "To succeed in business, you've got to have a long term grasp of the future, a vision."

From the depths of a near failure three years ago to high praise heaped upon the business this year, Inter-state has seen a meteoric rise due to its theory of evolution.

Evolve or perish.

In 2003, Inter-state Wireless was named as one of 10 business success stories in the state by the Kansas Small Business Development Center. In March, Inter-state will be honored with a plaque during a session of the Kansas Legislature.

It's been a strange road to success for Inter-state, one which began, oddly enough, at truck stops.

Initially, the company began its operation by attempting to market cellular telephones and other mobile technologies to the trucking industry.

"A great idea, but, logistically difficult to manage," Redieck said.

The company had a choice: find another way, another market to succeed in, or fold.

Inter-state took the challenge and ran with it: the company expanded its business to include satellite broadband Internet technology and a hodgepodge of other technology-based services.

Today, in addition to marketing products to residential homes and small businesses, Inter-state Wireless has contracts with heavy-hitter corporations such as BestBuy, Circuit City, McDonald's, Super 8 Motels, Blockbuster Entertainment and Wendy's. The big boys.

The hand that appeared like a fold 'em three years ago hit paydirt.

"We evolved, tremendously," said Redieck, summarizing the company's ascent.

The company began its operation with four employees.

Today, approximately 18 people have payroll checks signed by Inter-state Wireless.

In 2003, the company projected $1.1 million in gross profit.

This year, the company projects $3 million in profits.

The company doesn't expect to slow down anytime soon. Already it's planning to expand its wireless operation.

"Wireless is our new frontier," Redieck said.

And if times ever get rough again, the business can look to its past for advice on the future.

"When things don't go well it's easy to shut the doors and say 'Oops, we're another statistic,'" Redieck said. "We keep adapting and it's paid off."

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