Mike Broderick, CEO, Turning Technologies
In what ways is your company an innovator in its industry, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
Founded in 2002, Turning Technologies is headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio. The company began with three goals in mind: to make response technology more affordable, easier to use, and better documented so that users could easily grasp its benefits. By 2007, the company was ranked as the fastest growing privately-owned software company in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine. Today more than four million ResponseCard keypads have been delivered to K-12 schools, universities and businesses worldwide.
Several factors have contributed to Turning’s success. Flagship product TurningPoint was created to run seamlessly with PowerPoint, an innovation in the field. The software is simple enough so that if you know how to use PowerPoint, you can use TurningPoint. Initially considered a product for the corporate environment only, Turning’s solutions were positioned in the educational market as well, shifting the focus to an interactive classroom where all students could participate without feeling singled out. Instructors and administrators are also able to track student progress with an extensive reporting system. Hardware was also key to the success of Turning Technologies, transforming brick size keypads connected to a receiver through a series of wires into credit card size keypads that operated on radio frequency (RF) technology. Turning’s ResponseCard keypads are lightweight, durable and reliable – now the industry standard.
Turning continues to remain innovative in the marketplace. The company has adopted an agile approach that allows them to respond to a dynamic marketplace with emerging needs. Turning readily elicits customer feedback, taking it into consideration during the development process to create the best products specifically designed with customers in mind. Turning is also dedicated to providing hands-down the best customer service, yielding the following statistics:
- 93 percent first call resolution
- 1.5 minutes average hold time
- 8.5 minutes average call length
- 2 hours average e-mail response time
Turning’s dedication to providing superior products and a superior customer experience has garnered a very loyal customer base that regularly provides sales referrals.
How does your organization make a significant impact on the community and regional economy, either through charitable contributions, volunteerism or setting an example for other organizations & leaders to follow?
Turning Technologies established the Turning Foundation in January 2009. As a separate non-profit organization, the foundation has organized and focused company philanthropy in the community. Funding from the company as well as other secured grants has been channeled in support of local education programs (teacher mini grants, children’s museum, P-16 council) and also general community well being (Boys and Girls Club, women’s shelter, hospital foundation). The company also promotes volunteerism and encourages employees to participate in community efforts such as blood drives, supporting the local food bank, cleaning up the downtown Youngstown area, and other fundraising efforts like United Way and March of Dimes. We have become a leader in our community and an example for other organizations both in giving financially back to the community and for our volunteerism efforts.
Give us an example of a business challenge your organization faced during its growth, as well as how you overcame it.
When Turning first started seeing interest in the international market, the business expanded its efforts abroad by working with global resellers. High demand and desire to grow international sales required more than the limited internal resources that were stationed in Youngstown to support the resellers and cultivate new business. In order to meet the growing demand, Turning opened its first brick and mortar international office in Amsterdam and appointed a manager of international sales in 2010. Both moves were critical to the success of the international department, which a year later is now the fastest-growing area of the company and recently appointed a General Manager EMEA along with several, dedicated international account executives.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a business leader, an entrepreneur, or as an organization, and how have you applied this lesson toward fostering growth?
I’ve often told people that when talking about entrepreneurship, if you’re really serious about it, you can’t have a Plan B. If I had a Plan B in the first year or two, I probably would have chosen it. The “no Plan B” mentality has propelled Turning to prosper, even during a difficult economic climate. With a steady growth of at least 20 percent each year for the last three years, Turning has faced any adverse situations by making the proper internal adjustments to weather the storm, including adapting agile development to produce a portfolio of products that offer solutions for all markets. While many competitors were tightly watching budgets, we’ve invested in products and people we believe are the future of Turning. Ten years after our launch, there still is no Plan B.