Mike Reinert spent years in the IT industry helping companies of all stages and sizes manage their data and information. After working closely with small business owners, Mike realized he enjoyed the entrepreneurial side of startups and decided to launch his own consulting business.
Mike, a Navy veteran who has operated nuclear power plants and holds a PhD in Information Sciences and Technology, was confident tackling the technical side of the business. However, he didn’t have a background in sales or marketing, so he knew that he would need to seek outside support to be successful.
After being referred to the SBDC from PNC Bank lender John Rodgers, Mike connected with John Peterson, Penn State SBDC Business Consultant, who introduced Mike to various sales and marketing strategies. Peterson tapped into Mike’s experience coaching others and helped him refocus his sales strategy on helping clients solve their problems rather than selling a product.
“Shifting my perspective on sales based on John’s recommendations really helped take the scary out of it,” says Mike. “Having someone that can give you basic guidance on the topics many businesses struggle with is a big deal. Starting a business can be lonely, so knowing you’re not alone is a huge help.”
To support the marketing, sales, and customer relationship management functions of the business, Mike hired his son Nate, an economics major at Penn State University. As a former professor at Iowa State, Mike has a passion for helping the next generation of young IT professionals and hopes to one day turn the business over to his son.
Reinert Consulting Group, which provides cybersecurity, co-managed IT, and enterprise architecture services, officially launched in August 2019. Since then, Mike has participated in GrowthWheel 360º, a 5-week cohort offered by the SBDC. Over the course of those five weeks, Mike leveraged his business concept – designing IT services that customers want and need – to increase sales and gain new clients.
“Mike was able to create a business around critical needs in the industry through tools and one-to-one consulting services,” says Peterson. “The best part of working with Mike was his ability to make impactful decisions to help his clients.”
Peterson also encouraged Mike to apply for Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ TechCelerator program, a 10-week business startup boot camp for tech-entrepreneurs. Mike was accepted and used the experience to develop his business model, network with contacts, and learn how to best commercialize his product.
As Reinert Consulting Group looks to the future, they plan to hire additional staff and expand into new markets. They currently have clients as far as Atlanta, GA and are working to secure prospective clients in Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA.