Mississippi technology guru tells 400-plus that focus is key to success
About 400 people were on hand last Wednesday at the Mississippi Trade Mart for the annual luncheon honoring the 2010 class of Top 40 Under 40.
The event is part of the annual Mississippi Business and Technology EXPO, a special project of the Mississippi Business Journal.
Before the winners accepted their plaques, the audience took in a high-energy presentation from Joel Bomgar, CEO of Ridgeland-based computer support software firm Bomgar Corp.
Bomgar, 30, started his company a decade ago in his dorm room at Belhaven University. In 2004, it brought in $1 million in revenue. In 2009, it raked in $25 million.
How did he do it? Identifying what his company did best — developing and selling software that allowed help desks to remote in to a computer and troubleshoot — and employing a laser-like focus on it. His clients include Facebook and Papa John’s Pizza.
“Focus,” Bomgar said. “That’s it. Focus. I believe focus is the single business principle that mattered most in our success as a company. For other businesses in general, it’s one of the most powerful concepts out there.”
Bomgar implored the Top 40 winners to practice that brand of intense focus in their businesses.
Bomgar said diversity has become a buzzword in business that, a lot of times, is thrown around to impress people.
“Everybody asks what you do and there are a million ‘ands’ involved,” he said. “Well, we do this and this and this and that. But what do you do really well? Is there anything you do that does not fit that criteria? If something does not specifically apply to your core business, how useful is it? Does it drive your core? Find what you do well and focus on it.”
Bomgar Corp. took that approach and saw its profits soar, Bomgar said.
“If it didn’t help us provide the best IT support technology, we decided to kill it off,” he said. “We didn’t care what I was. If it was my pet project, we killed it off. If it was somebody else’s pet project, we killed it off. We decided to do just what we’re best in the world at. We scrapped everything that we were not the best in the world at. Companies don’t make money off things that they’re not good at — even Google and Microsoft and a bunch of other successful companies like that. You don’t have to be all things to all people.”
It was when his company poured all its resources into what it did well, Bomgar said, that the climb from $1 million in revenue in 2004 to $25 million in annual revenue only five years later began.
David Barrentine, region president at BancorpSouth, said this year’s Top 40 winners were evidence that Mississippi’s business community is in good hands moving forward.
“We think it’s an important honor to recognize and cultivate young talent in this state,” he said. “Each year, I come away impressed with the quality of young men and women who are going to be Mississippi’s future business and community leaders.”