I AM CEO PODCASTTech

IAM195- CEO Helps Businesses Work Smarter and More Efficiently By Taking Care of Their IT

Podcast interview with Michael H. Drobnis

 

Michael H. Drobnis is the CEO of OptfinITy, LLC, a technology solutions firm which has received numerous industry awards including a ranking of the top 250 small technology businesses worldwide. Mr. Drobnis has over 22 years of technology experience across many different industries and disciplines, including but not limited to records management, disaster recovery and business continuance planning, system security, web design and development, project management, technology and infrastructure design. As an accomplished technology executive and project manager, his vision and expertise have helped hundred's of organizations work smarter and more efficiently through the use and development of proper technology solutions and collaboration tools. Mr. Drobnis received his MBA with a concentration in technology from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

He has served on the Fairfax County Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee, the ITT Technical Institute Curriculum Advisory Board, as the President and on the board of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Drobnis is an alumni of Leadership Fairfax and The FBI Citizens Academy and is the proud father of 3 girls in West Springfield.

  • CEO Hack: (1) Get away from the business (2) CRM based system- ConnectWise (3) Yellow line paper book for prioritization
  • CEO Nugget: Put together that vision before you get started
  • CEO Defined: Being a generous and a leader in helping people succeed

Website: http://www.optfinity.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/optfinity
Twitter: www.twitter.com/optfinity

Full Interview


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Transcription: 

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:02

Hello, hello, hello! This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Michael H. Drobnis of OptfinITy, LLC. Michael, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Michael H. Drobnis 0:28

Well, thanks for having me. A pleasure to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do, which is read a little bit more about Michael so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Michael H. Drobnis is the CEO of OptfinITy, LLC, a technology solutions firm that has received numerous industry awards, including a ranking of the top 250 small technology businesses worldwide. Mr. Drobnis has over 22 years of technology experience across many different industries and disciplines, including but not limited to records management, disaster recovery, business, continuous planning, system security, web design and development, project management, technology, and infrastructure design.

As an accomplished technology executive and project manager, his vision and expertise have helped hundreds of organizations work smarter and more efficiently through the use and development of proper technology solutions and collaboration tools. Mr. Drobnis received his MBA with a concentration in technology from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts. He has served on the Fairfax County Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee, the ITT Technical Institute Curriculum Advisory Board, and as the President on the board of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Drobnis is an alumnus of Leadership Fairfax and the FBI Citizens Academy and is the proud father of three girls in West Springfield. Michael, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

[restrict paid=”true”] 

Michael H. Drobnis 1:57

I am

Gresham Harkless 1:57

Awesome. Let's do it. So the first question I had was the hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Michael H. Drobnis 2:04

So a lot. That's an interesting story. Prior to living in this area, I grew up in the Boston area and went to school in the Boston area, I was working for Iron Mountain at the time, and did some work across the United States as well as in London. And honestly, it was time for a change. I didn't exactly know what that change was going to entail. So I said, you know what, I'll just get a nice paying job, move down to the DC area and see what I can do with myself. So you know, I moved down here and really spent about three months looking for a job and saying, okay, none of this really fits what I'm looking for.

And so I said, well, let's see what's out there. So I found somebody who was looking for some help, who was the CEO of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. And so I went out there, I did some consulting for her. And well, next thing, you know, someone else is looking for help. And she'd say, well talk to Michael. And so I started doing some consulting, I did that for about four or five years. And I finally I mean, I had branded it as a company. But it wasn't really at the time, it was sort of just a lifestyle business, consulting with a name. And so at that point, I said, well, you know, what, there's a lot of business, a lot of customers, I might as well put some structure into it. And that's pretty much where it all started.

Gresham Harkless 3:08

Nice, nice, nice. And so you suggest pretty much I guess, tell the entrepreneurs and business owners exactly what they should do organizations, and then you move towards actually implementing these solutions, and also probably provide that consulting as well.

Michael H. Drobnis 3:19

Yeah. I mean, honestly, from the very beginning, I was doing it all. And so you know, it was interesting. I remember prior to going away from my honeymoon, one of our clients had a massive virus outbreak. And this was back in 2004. And I literally put in 40 hours over three days, because I'm like, well, I'm leaving, I have to go. There is no out. It's like this has to be fixed before I leave. So I was working to one in the morning and just getting this done at multiple locations. So yeah, I decided I think it was at that point where I said, well, I think I need people to work for me because yeah, this consulting thing. It just takes a lot of time.

Gresham Harkless 3:52

Yeah, especially if you're going on your honeymoon. That's definitely something that can happen.

Michael H. Drobnis 3:56

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 3:58

Well, cool. So I know, we touched on a little bit, and you touched on a little bit more, but could you tell us I guess exactly what you're doing to kind of help support the clients with all the services that you're providing?

Michael H. Drobnis 4:06

Yeah, absolutely. You know, to put it simply, we are the IT department for organizations that either don't have their own IT or are too small for their own it or they need something that's going to go above and beyond what they can do. And a lot of cases you know, you're a 40-50 person organization, you can hire an IT person to work in the business but they work 40 hours, they take vacations, they get sick, you know, then you got to buy the software to monitor to maintain to take care of everything that needs to be done.

Well rather than doing that we provide that so that we provide all the tools needed. We provide all the hardware, the file protection, the antivirus education, and the training, but we also well individually sure my employees take a vacation, but we're a 24-by-seven Help Desk. So if you're working at 11 o'clock at night, you're not going to call that IT person because well they're not on the clock with us. We're always on the clock with the exception of six major holidays a year our help desk is open 24 by seven.

And so what we do is, that's what we do. So we come in once a quarter we work with our clients, and we say, alright, this is what's going on, this is what you need to do over the next six months, 18 months, 24 months to get to where they want to go. And we eliminate all that IT problem, all that IT headache, we just take care of it for them. And we do it at a flat rate.

So they know when we come in, they're gonna get the firewalls they need, they gotta get the licenses, they need the software, they need all the support they need, we're gonna come in once a quarter to talk about things, pretty much they can narrow it down and say, hey, you know what we need IT, we're gonna get it taken care of. And that's what we do. It's all at a flat rate, there are no hourly fees. And in fact, if you hire an employee at $20 an hour, just to give an example, if you were to add another 70 cents per hour for that employee that would cover everything they need, the backups, and so forth. And that's what we do, we just take the hassle out of the IT portion of their business.

Gresham Harkless 4:58

Yeah, and that's definitely huge, because IT is literally everywhere in every industry, and every business, every organization, and to be able to think about like all the updates, all the changes, this, you know, interacts with this differently now, because of this update, you don't really have to worry about all of that. Because as it sounds, you can just kind of call you guys and you guys can kind of take care of a lot of that stuff. Right?

Michael H. Drobnis 6:09

Exactly. Again, if you hire someone, they're gonna have their expertise. When you hire an organization like ours, you have different people with different expertise. So that again, you're taking care of you don't need to worry about okay, we're now going to send this guy off to training or this girl off to, you know, this training, we take care of all of that.

Gresham Harkless 6:27

There you go. And you're tapping into many mines so that any organization will definitely be successful, which is of extreme importance. Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this is what you feel kind of distinguishes you or sets you apart.

Michael H. Drobnis 6:38

Our secret sauce is I mean, honestly, it comes down to customer service. In reality, look, at what we do. It's not rocket science, we're you know, I don't like to say we're a dime a dozen. But in reality, everyone out there is saying hello, I can take care of your IT, I can take care of your computers. What makes us different is that we focus on customer service, we're not really focused on the IT problems. Anybody can do it we're looking at the business. We're looking at and saying, okay, you're a nonprofit organization, what do you need to do in order to succeed, and then we're going to apply that IT solution to it.

So we're not out there saying, hey, let us be your geeks on call, you want geeks on call and go get geeks on call. What you need is somebody who not only understands the technology but understands the business and doesn't talk down to you. I mean, the biggest complaint we get from clients that we take over is a call to the help desk and the help desk says well you don't know what you're doing. Let me just show you and they are done. That's not the approach we take.

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So between the customer service, and the fact that we do it all at a flat rate. So you can literally look at your budget and say, you know what, it's gonna cost me $30,000 for all the tools the IT support, and whatever for the year, plus, we're gonna give them a breakdown of these are the machines you need to replace, they literally will know to the penny, what they need to spend on IT. And so for us, you know, you know, nonprofits, associations, small businesses, where they're counting those dollars, but they really want to use technology, that is a very important piece. And that's what we bring.

Gresham Harkless 8:00

Yeah, that's absolutely huge. And like you mentioned, just because there are so many things that pop up so many things that happen. So in business, a lot of people forget, a lot of it is about minimizing your risks or doing these things in order to minimize the likelihood that you know, you have things that pop up. So if you are able to predict or have a budget or understand this is exactly what this is going to cost. And that's one less thing an entrepreneur or business owner has to worry about.

Michael H. Drobnis 8:21

No, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 8:22

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this is an app or book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Michael H. Drobnis 8:31

Sure. I mean, so there are a lot of ways to go about that. I mean, obviously, as a technology provider, I'm gonna stick with the technical aspects. I will say you know, it's not even a CEO hack. But to take it back a step, the most important thing I can recommend from that perspective is to get away from the business plan. So before we can get to the hill technology, you know, as I was telling you, right before we started this, I just went on vacation, I took my kids, we went overseas, and while yes, I did check into my email once a day to make sure that you know, nothing blew up, I wasn't working. So that when I come back, I'm focused on it.

So before we get to the, you know, the actual technical hack, per se, that'd be the number one thing I'd say is you need to get away you need to set priority you need to really focus on family and if you don't have a family focus on your personal life focus on just something else, because otherwise you're going to become useless, you're eventually they're going to stress out burnout, or you're just not gonna go to figure those things out. Now, that being said, you know, as a CEO, the important thing you have to do is you have to be accountable, you have to know what's going on.

So from our perspective, you know, you need a good CRM-based system. You need a system that doesn't know. The hack I'm gonna provide isn't going to be a great one because it's really IT-focused we use a system called ConnectWise. But I think for any good CEO, you need something to manage a calendar. You need something to really go out there and say what is my day gonna have you know what I do every day as a CEO is you know, I am an IT guy but right next to me is my yellow line paper book. It literally has these are the issues I must deal with every single day.

And although I'm gonna be living my life via my system, and via my emails and so forth, I look at that halfway through the day and say, oh, you know what, I gotta stop, I gotta do that. So from that perspective, I think time management and prioritization are the most important things you can do as a CEO. And again, what good is running a successful business if you can enjoy the fruits of it? So again, that's so that's what I would say would be my CEO hacks.

Gresham Harkless 10:21

Yeah, I love those. And you said the software tool was ConnectWise?

Michael H. Drobnis 10:25

It's ConnectWise, it's an IT-based tool, but any tool, I mean, you know, whether you use Salesforce, whether you use I don't even know if Acting Goldmine is still around, but I'm dating myself there. But yeah, I mean, anything to manage yourself, and to set prioritization of what you're doing. That is the most important thing you can do.

Gresham Harkless 10:41

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO, nugget. And you might have already touched on this, but this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice, you might tell your younger business self.

Michael H. Drobnis 10:51

You know, I'd say, to really you know, younger vision, business self should have been really put together that vision before you get started. I went into it. And I said, okay, you know what, this is what I'm gonna do. And I just sort of won by the seat of my pants. Yes. you know, I mean, there were reasons for that I had Bootstrap, I, you know, I invested in myself, but I never really looked at and said, where am I going with this, you know, and then I here I am six years into it and saying, I could have done this a whole lot different.

And so I think you need to look at it, you need to stop being penny wise pound foolish, you need to look at it and say, you know, I'm gonna invest in this, yes, I know, it's a risk. But anytime you start a business, anytime you run a business, you're gonna have those risks. And you have to make those risks, especially before you get married before you have kids before you have those reasons why you got to not take those risks. I wish I had done a lot more of that. And I will probably be at a much probably progressed a lot further than I have so far today. Not to say I'm doing poorly, but I'm doing very well. But on that token, I think, you know, I would have been a little less stressed a few years ago.

Gresham Harkless 11:51

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, we definitely read your bio. So we introduce you. So we know you're doing well. And, you know, we definitely appreciate that perspective. Because a lot of times you know, you want and have a vision, sometimes you just have to be able to, quote-unquote, take care of certain things. So to be able to kind of have that vision, I guess in the beginning, you're saying might have been able to help you, maybe, I guess, accelerate some things maybe at a certain level.

Michael H. Drobnis 12:13

It's sort of, you know, I would have been where I am today, five years ago. And you know, five years ago, I was still working those 80-hour weeks, you know, now I'm down to 60, which for CEO is pretty good. But you know, and again, that's where it is, you have to look at that. A lot of times I was like, Well, I'm just going to work on this. I want to finish it. And you know, you really and I guess another way of putting this is work on the business, not in the business. And you know, I spent the first 10 years of my career working in the business where I finally said, you know what, I need to look at the vision, I need to look at where I'm going with this not what am I doing tomorrow?

Gresham Harkless 12:52

That's powerful. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show. But Michael, I want to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Michael H. Drobnis 13:04

That's a multifaceted question. You know, some people ask me what I do. And I tell them, I'm a janitor. And they're like, What do you mean, you're a janitor, so I have to clean up everybody's mess. And so some days, that's what the CEO means, it's okay. You know, and again, going back to that vacation, I was on there. And I found out somebody did something that wasn't the smartest thing to do. And I said, well, you know, what, tell him I gave you approval, let, you know, let them blame me. And, and we'll go from there.

So in some cases, that's what it is. You know, but I think the biggest thing is, and it goes back to the time whether it was in fear for me when I was in leadership, Fairfax or otherwise, being a CEO is being a leader, it doesn't matter whether you're a leader of the business leader of your family, leader of the community, it's about making sure that not only have you created something that's going to succeed, but all the people that rely on you depend on your work with you. And again, whether that's your kids, whether it's your employees, they need to succeed. The business doesn't succeed if they don't. And so you need to put in place ways that they can succeed. And so to me, a CEO is about leadership. And if you can help the people within your organization when your family succeeds, you're going to succeed as well.

Gresham Harkless 14:10

There you go, yeah, that makes perfect sense. And that's a great kind of sign of leadership. If the people around you and on your team working with you are able to succeed, you too, can definitely be successful as well, too. So Michael, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know. And then of course, how best they can get a hold of you and get in touch with everything that you're doing.

Michael H. Drobnis 14:32

Yeah, absolutely. And let me first say thank you for having me on the show. I enjoy having the opportunity. Obviously, I've gotten to know you a little bit over the last year, but I always enjoyed the opportunity to talk into I won't say preach the business gospel, but you know, totally get out there. But no, I mean, honestly, the most important thing I can tell anybody is you got to pursue your passion. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you're doing the wrong thing. Now I'm not gonna go into the whole work-to-live life-to-work thing. I mean, I do both.

Somedays I'm trying to get away from the kids and I want to come to work. But other days, you know, my focus is that, and as you know, I wear ties with my kid's pictures on them. Now we're going for today, just because I didn't leave the office at all today, but you know, you have to have a reason for doing what you do. So that's really all I gotta say to the to your audience there but um, you know, as far as getting hold of us, you know, we're here in Springfield, Virginia. We have clients all over the East Coast. Our website is optfinity.com or if I just duck there you can see behind me. Our phone number is 703790 400. But that's it. Just give us a call. Look us up, and be happy to talk to anybody.

Gresham Harkless 15:35

Absolutely anywhere across the United States can reach out to you.

Michael H. Drobnis 15:39

Absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 15:40

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And what we'll do is we'll have those links in the show notes and their information in the show notes just so that anybody can follow up. But Michael, truly appreciate you again and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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Michael H. Drobnis 15:49

Right. Thank you and have a great 2019 And a Happy New Year.

Outro 15:53
Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:02

Hello, hello, hello! This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Michael H. Drobnis of OptfinITy, LLC. Michael it is awesome to have you on the show.

Michael H. Drobnis 0:28

Well, thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do, which is read a little bit more about Michael so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Michael H. Drobnis is the CEO of OptfinITy, LLC, a technology solutions firm which has received numerous industry awards, including a ranking of the top 250 small technology businesses worldwide. Mr. Drobnis has over 22 years of technology experience across many different industries disciplines, including but not limited to records management, disaster recovery, business, continuous planning, system security, web design and development, project management, technology and infrastructure design. As an accomplished technology executive and project manager, his vision and expertise have helped hundreds of organizations work smarter and more efficiently through the use and development of proper technology solutions and collaboration tools. Mr. Drobnis received his MBA with a concentration in technology from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts. He has served on the Fairfax County Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee, the ITT Technical Institute Curriculum Advisory Board, and as the President on the board of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Mr. Drobnis is an alumni of Leadership Fairfax and the FBI Citizens Academy and is the proud father of three girls in West Springfield. Michael, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Michael H. Drobnis 1:57

I am

Gresham Harkless 1:57

Awesome. Let's do it. So the first question I had was the hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Michael H. Drobnis 2:04

So a lot. That's an interesting story. Prior to living in this area, I grew up in the Boston area went to school in the Boston area, I was working for Iron Mountain at the time, and doing some work across the United States as well as in London. And honestly, it was time for a change. I didn't exactly know what that change was going to entail. So I said, you know what, I'll just get a nice paying job, move down to the DC area and see what I can do with myself. So you know, I moved down here and really spent about three months looking for a job and saying, okay, none of this really fits what I'm looking for. And so I said, well, let's see what's out there. So I found somebody who was looking for some help, who was a CEO of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. And so I went out there, I did some consulting for her. And well, next thing, you know, someone else is looking for help. And she'd say, well talk to Michael. And so I started doing some consulting, I did that for about four or five years. And I finally I mean, I had branded it as a company. But it wasn't really at the time, it was sort of just a lifestyle business, consulting with a name. And so at that point, I said, well, you know, what, there's a lot of business, a lot of customers, I might as well put some structure into it. And that's pretty much where it all started with.

Gresham Harkless 3:08

Nice, nice, nice. And so you suggest pretty much I guess, tell the entrepreneurs and business owners exactly what they should do organizations, and then you move towards actually implementing these solutions, and also probably provide that consulting as well.

Michael H. Drobnis 3:19

Yeah. I mean, honestly, from the very beginning, I was doing it all. And so you know, it was interesting. I remember prior to going away from my honeymoon, one of our clients had a massive virus outbreak. And this was back in 2004 . And I literally put in 40 hours over three days, because I'm like, well, I'm leaving, I have to go. There is no out. It's like this has to be fixed before I leave. So I was working to one in the morning and just getting this done at multiple locations. So yeah, I decided I think it was at that point where I said, well, I think I need people to work for me because yeah, this consulting thing. It just takes a lot of time.

Gresham Harkless 3:52

Yeah, especially if you're going on your honeymoon. That's definitely something that can happen.

Michael H. Drobnis 3:56

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 3:58

Well, cool. So I know, we touched on a little bit, and you touched on a little bit more, but could you tell us I guess exactly what you're doing to kind of help support the clients all the services that you're providing?

Michael H. Drobnis 4:06

Yeah, absolutely. You know, to put it simply, we are the IT department for organizations that either don't have their own IT or are too small for their own it or they need something that's going to go above and beyond what they can do. And a lot of cases you know, you're a 40-50 person organization, you can hire an IT person to work in the business but they work 40 hours, they take vacations, they get sick, you know, then you got to buy the software to monitor to maintain to take care of everything that needs to be done. Well rather than doing that we provide that so one we provide all the tools needed. We provide all the hardware, the file protection, the antivirus education, the training, but we also well individually sure my employees take vacation, but we're 24 by seven Help Desk. So if you're working at 11 o'clock at night, you're not going to call that IT person because well they're not on the clock with us. We're always on the clock with the exception of six major holidays a year our help desk is open 24 by seven. And so what we do is, that's what we do. So we come in once a quarter we work with our clients, we say, alright, this is what's going on, this is what you need to do over the next six months, 18 months, 24 months to get to where they want to go. And we eliminate all that IT problem, all that IT headache, we just take care of it for them. And we do it on a flat rate. So they know when we come in, they're gonna get the firewalls they need, they gotta get the licenses, they need the software, they need all the support they need, we're gonna come in once a quarter to talk about things, pretty much they can narrow it down and say, hey, you know what we need IT, we're gonna get it taken care of. And that's what we do. It's all at a flat rate, there's no hourly fees. And in fact, if you hire an employee at $20 an hour, just to give an example, if you were to add another 70 cents on per hour for that employee that would cover everything they need, the backups, and so forth. And that's what we do, we just take the hassle out of the IT portion of their business.

Gresham Harkless 4:58

Yeah, and that's definitely huge, because IT is literally everywhere in every industry, and every business, every organization, and to be able to think about like all the updates, all the changes, this, you know, interacts with this differently now, because of this update, you don't really have to worry about all of that. Because as it sounds, you can just kind of call you guys and you guys can kind of take care of a lot of that stuff. Right?

Michael H. Drobnis 6:09

Exactly. Again, if you hire someone, they're gonna have their expertise. When you hire an organization like us, we have different people with different expertise. So that again, you're taking care of you don't need to worry about okay, we're now going to send this guy off to training or this girl off to, you know, this training, we take care of all of that.

Gresham Harkless 6:27

There you go. And you're tapping into many mines, so that any organization will definitely be successful, which is of extreme importance. Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this is what you feel kind of distinguishes you or sets you apart.

Michael H. Drobnis 6:38

Our secret sauce is I mean, honestly, it comes down to customer service. In reality, look, what we do. It's not rocket science, we're you know, I don't like to say we're a dime a dozen. But in reality, everyone out there is saying hello, I can take care of your IT, I can take care of your computers. What makes us different is one we focus on customer service, we're not really focused on the IT problems. Anybody can do the it we're looking at the business. We're looking at and saying, okay, you're a nonprofit organization, what do you need to do in order to succeed, and then we're going to apply that IT solution to it. So we're not out there saying, hey, let us be your geeks on call, you want geeks on call and go get geeks on call. What you need is somebody who not only understands the technology, but understands the business doesn't talk down to you. I mean, the biggest complaint we get from clients that we take over is a call to help desk and the help desk say that well you don't know what you're doing. Let me just show you and they are done. That's not the approach we take. So between the customer service, and the fact that we do it all at a flat rate. So you can literally look at your budget and say, you know what, it's gonna cost me $30,000 for all the tools the IT support, and whatever for the year, plus, we're gonna give them a breakdown of these are the machines you need to replace, they literally will know to the penny, what they need to spend on IT. And so for us, you know, you know, nonprofits, associations, small businesses, where they're counting those dollars, but they really want to use technology, that is a very important piece. And that's what we bring.

Gresham Harkless 8:00

Yeah, that's absolutely huge. And like you mentioned, just because there's so many things that pop up so many things that happen. So in business, a lot of people forget, a lot of it is about minimizing your risks or doing these things in order to minimize the likelihood that you know, you have things that pop up. So if you are able to predict or have a budget or understand this is exactly what this is going to cost. And that's one less thing an entrepreneur or business owner has to worry about.

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Michael H. Drobnis 8:21

No, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 8:22

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this is an app or book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Michael H. Drobnis 8:31

Sure. I mean, so there are a lot of ways to go about that. I mean, obviously, as a technology provider, I'm gonna stick with the technology aspects. I will say the you know, it's not even a CEO hack. But to take it back a step, the most important thing I can recommend from that perspective is to get away from the business plan. So before we can get to the hill technology, you know, as I was telling you, right before we started this, I just went on vacation, I took my kids, we went overseas, and while yes, I did check into my email once a day to make sure that you know, nothing blew up, I wasn't working. So that when I come back, I'm focused on it. So before we get to the, you know, the actual technical hack, per say, that'd be the number one thing I'd say is you need to get away you need to set priority you need to really focus on family and if you don't have a family focus on your personal life focus on just something else, because otherwise you're going to become useless, you're eventually they're going to stress out burnout, or you're just not gonna go to figure those things out. Now, that being said, you know, as a CEO, the important thing you have to do is you have to accountability, you have to know what's going on. So from our perspective, you know, you need a good CRM based system. You need a system that doesn't know. The hack I'm gonna provide isn't going to be a great one because it's really IT focused we use a system called ConnectWise. But I think for any good CEO, you need something to manage a calendar. You need something to really go out there and say what is my day gonna have and you know what I do every day as a CEO is you know, I am an IT guy but right next to me is my yellow line paper book. It literally has these are the issues I must deal with every single day. And although I'm gonna be living my life via my system, and via my emails and so forth, I look at that halfway through the day and say, oh, you know what, I gotta stop, I gotta do that. So from that perspective, I think time management and prioritization are the most important things you can do as a CEO. And again, what good is running a successful business if you can enjoy the fruits of it? So again, that's so that's what I would say would be my CEO hacks.

Gresham Harkless 10:21

Yeah, I love those. And you said the software tool was connect devic?

Michael H. Drobnis 10:25

It's ConnectWise, it's an IT based tool, but any tool, I mean, you know, whether you use Salesforce, whether you use I don't even know if Acting Goldmine is still around, but I'm dating myself there. But yeah, I mean, anything to manage yourself, and to set prioritization of what you're doing. That is the most important thing you can do.

Gresham Harkless 10:41

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO, nugget. And you might have already touched on this, but this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice, you might tell your younger business self.

Michael H. Drobnis 10:51

You know, I'd say, to really you know, younger vision, business self should have been really put together that vision before you get started. I went into it. And I said, okay, you know what, this is what I'm gonna do. And I just sort of won by the seat of my pants. Yes. you know, I mean, there were reasons for that I had Bootstrap, I, you know, I invested in myself, but I never really looked at and said, where am I going with this, you know, and then I here I am six years into it and saying, I could have done this a whole lot different. And so I think you need to look at it, you need to stop being penny wise pound foolish, you need to look at it and say, you know, I'm gonna invest in this, yes, I know, it's a risk. But anytime you start a business, anytime you run a business, you're gonna have those risks. And you have to make those risks, especially before you get married before you have kids before you have those reasons why you got to not take those risks. I wish I had done a lot more of that. And I probably be at a much probably progressed a lot further than I have so far today. Not to say I'm doing poorly, but I'm doing very well. But on that token, I think, you know, I would have been a little less stressed a few years ago.

Gresham Harkless 11:51

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, we definitely read your bio. So we introduce you. So we know you're doing well. And, you know, we definitely appreciate that perspective. Because a lot of times you know, you want and have a vision, sometimes you just have to be able to, quote unquote, take care of certain things. So to be able to kind of have that vision, I guess in the beginning, you're saying might have been able to help you, maybe, I guess, accelerate some things maybe at a certain level.

Michael H. Drobnis 12:13

It's sort of, you know, I would have been where I am today, five years ago. And you know, five years ago, I was still working those 80 hour weeks, you know, now I'm down to 60, which for CEO is pretty good. But you know, and again, that's where it is, you have to look at that. A lot of times I was like, Well, I'm just going to work on this. I want to finish it. And you know, you really and I guess another way of putting this is work on the business, not in the business. And you know, I spent the first 10 years of my career working in the business where I finally said, you know what, I need to look at the vision, I need to look at where I'm going with this not what am I doing tomorrow?

Gresham Harkless 12:52

That's That's powerful. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. But Michael, I want to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Michael H. Drobnis 13:04

That's a that's a multifaceted question. You know, some people ask me what I do. And I tell them, I'm a janitor. And they they're like, What do you mean, you're a janitor, so I have to clean up everybody's mess. And so some days, that's what the CEO means, it's okay. You know, and again, going back to that vacation, I was on there. And I found out somebody did something that wasn't the smartest thing to do. And I said, well, you know, what, tell him I gave you approval, let, you know, let them blame me. And, and we'll go from there. So in some cases, that's what it is. You know, but I think the biggest thing is, and it goes back to the time whether it was in fear for me when I was in leadership, Fairfax or otherwise, being a CEO is being a leader, it doesn't matter whether you're a leader of the business leader of your family, leader of the community, it's about making sure that not only have you created something that's going to succeed, but all the people that rely on you depend on you work with you. And again, whether that's your kids, whether it's your employees, they need to succeed. The business doesn't succeed if they don't. And so you need to put in place ways that they can succeed. And so to me, a CEO is about leadership. And if you can help the people within your organization, when your family succeed, you're going to succeed as well.

Gresham Harkless 14:10

There you go, yeah, that makes perfect sense. And that's a great kind of sign of leadership. If the people around you and on your team and working with you are able to succeed, and you too, can definitely be successful as well, too. So Michael, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know. And then of course, how best they can get a hold of you and get in touch with everything that you're doing.

Michael H. Drobnis 14:32

Yeah, absolutely. And I let me first say thank you for having me on the show. I enjoy having the opportunity. Obviously, I've gotten to know you a little bit over the last year, but I always enjoyed the opportunity to talk into I won't say preach the business gospel, but you know, totally get out there. But no, I mean, honestly, the most important thing I can tell anybody is you got to pursue your passion. If you're not passionate about what you're doing, you're doing the wrong thing. Now I'm not gonna go into whole work to live live to work thing. I mean, I do both. Somedays I'm trying to get away from the kids and I want to come to work. But other days, you know, my focus is that and as you know, I wear ties with my kids pictures on them. Now we're going for today, just because I didn't leave the office at all today, but you know, you have to have a reason for doing what you do. So that's really all I gotta say to the to your audience there but um, you know, as far as getting hold of us, you know, we're here in Springfield, Virginia. We have clients all over the East Coast. Our website is optfinity.com or if I just duck there you can see behind me. Our phone number is 703790 400. But that's it. Just give us a call. Look us up, be happy to talk to anybody.

Gresham Harkless 15:35

Absolutely anywhere across the United States can reach out to you.

Michael H. Drobnis 15:39

Absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 15:40

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And what we'll do is we'll have those links in the show notes and their information in the show notes just so that anybody can follow up. But Michael, truly appreciate you again and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Michael H. Drobnis 15:49

Right. Thank you and have a great 2019 And Happy New Year.

Outro 15:53

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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