When Two Degrees Become One Successful Business

Posted by Greg Slater on Aug 2, 2018 9:55:18 AM

Entrepreneurs Abound

We started CCS Technologies in 1976, which originally was known as Coopersville Computer Services (our customers always called us CCS). We re-branded in early 2000 and changed our name to CCS Technologies. Since then we have continued to evolve with the times. Our focus has always been on keeping our customers operational. Personal service and local support are key. They were important in the beginning and are still very important today. That’s our niche. Keeping our customers operational and helping them grow has helped us grow as well.

 Coopersville store-compressedTwo Degrees Helped Open Doors – The Rest is History

I went to Baker College in Muskegon where we used IBM main frames with punch cards. One of my degrees is in data processing and the other is in accounting. When we first opened our doors, we did data processing for our clients, which was basically the accounting functions of a business, like payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial reporting, etc. It was all of the accounting functions that businesses were doing manually, so it helped them save time and labor costs. In the beginnings we used Litton paper tape computers and moved to a Burroughs mini system with magnetic media (about the size of a LP album) in the late 1970’s.

As businesses progressed, so did CCS Technologies. In the early 1980s, PCs were just becoming prevalent and in 1984 we purchased our first PC’s with a Novel Network and 10-megabyte hard drives. We continued to do accounting processes until the mid to late 80s when stores started selling PCs. At that time Radio Shack started selling their Tandy PC’s with little support so people could actually use them. That’s when we started to help those customers.

After helping many customers with their Tandy equipment, we soon made the transition to our own equipment. So, in the late 80s we began to sell selected brands of computers and software. It became an easier process for us to support quality systems and we didn’t have the frustration of dealing with third party hardware and software vendors.

Grand Opening Hudsonville CCS  (41)

In the 90s, the explosion of both PC’s and networking took off for many small to medium size businesses. It wasn’t long before Microsoft took over from Novell as the #1 network operating system and with their office products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, they had their niche in the market. At that point we did away with our accounting operations department to focus solely on the technology for small- to medium-sized businesses. We continued to help our customers with their computers and networks.

It wasn’t long after that the Internet exploded and made supporting our customers even easier. Business needs became more adaptable to our model. And because our focus is to keep our customers operational…it’s still all about personal service and local support.

 

We Work with All Small Businesses

At CCS Technologies we work with all small businesses – anywhere from one or two people who work out of their home to businesses that have up to 250 workstations. Our typical clients are small businesses between 5 – 50 employees. Most large businesses have their own IT departments, so we focus on the smaller businesses that do not have an IT department, so we become their IT department.

 Retailer of the Year-Greg and Ellen SlaterSecurity Is A Big Part of the Expertise We Offer

From a security standpoint, there are many ways for a bad guy to get into a business through the Internet, email, and more. Every business needs to have firewalls, the proper hardware, web content filtering, anti-virus software, remote management tools, etc. We want to keep the employees safe without getting too technical. So, if we can block certain websites, it protects everyone from accidentally accessing something bad. We offer training to employees because they are potential victims to spam, social engineering, and phishing attempts. We’re training employees to not click on everything they see. Many things on the Internet are dangerous so it’s been challenging to help employees understand that clicking something they don’t know where it’s coming from is dangerous. We give them tools to help them navigate better.

Because our small business customers have the same needs as large companies, we have a well-rounded technical staff with a variety of expertise. They can help with hardware repair, server installation/maintenance, wireless networking, programming, etc. As well as having the availability of leading software vendors that provide IT management tools, different levels of backups and much more.

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Entrepreneur Loves Helping Other Entrepreneurs

What I love most about my business is the people. I love working with small businesses… I love who they are as entrepreneurs, and I love being able to take care of the technology part of their business, so they can focus on doing what they do best – running their business.

 

 

Service and Support…It’s What I Offer My Customers and What I Receive from My Bank.

My relationship with ChoiceOne Bank began because I wasn’t happy with my current bank. I started looking in Coopersville and found ChoiceOne Bank. I spoke with the local branch manager at the time and once we started growing CCS in the 2000s, ChoiceOne Bank had all the products that I needed along with the expertise. I liked them because they were a lot like me. As a local community bank, they fit well with who my company is as a small business. It was nicer to talk to them than a large bank. Our relationship grew because of the products offered, but more importantly it was because of the people at ChoiceOne. They took care of me quickly and understood me. And when I was ready to expand my business with more locations, I received a lot of help from ChoiceOne. Bottom line – they gave me the same type of service and support I give to my customers.