Follow up with people, genuinely, and with discipline.
Darren Metz is the Chief Executive Officer of Novatech, Inc., an award-winning, Managed IT and Print Services provider headquartered in Nashville, TN. The company has expanded to a footprint of 13 branches with annual revenue of $95M. Novatech has been recognized as an industry leader with honors such as 12-time placement among Inc Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Companies in the United States.
Darren Metz is a man in constant motion, and as Novatech evolves there’s no looking back for this active entrepreneur. From ventures in computer networking, web hosting, office equipment, and real estate Darren’s range of endeavors presents a diverse career track. Now, with five acquisitions in the past two years, he’s got his sights set on purchasing one company per quarter (including one completed in January 2019).
Caught with a few moments to spare, Mr. Darren Metz has offered some insight to readers about his journey so far, and the path ahead.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for Novatech came to me in the late 90s. I observed the print industry changing. There were desktop printers on companies’ networks. There were large office printers that were typically not part of the IT strategy. I became aware that those technologies were converging and required a new systems management plan and built a company around that vision.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There can be many distractions during the day, but usually 70% of my time is spent working with our executive teams in various departments. The remaining 30% is spent on acquisitions. I’m looking for founders of family businesses who may want to merge with us. I also make sure that we are rising to the challenges of our customer demands at an ever-increasing scale in an ever-increasing geography.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Language creates reality. In order to bring ideas to life, speak about them and be inquisitive. You have to accept outcomes of what you attempt, as well, and take new actions to fine tune those outcomes. Harness the power of positivity and embrace all possibilities.
What’s one trend that excites you?
3D printing. It is used in the manufacturing of items such as car parts or even a prototype of a new style of sunglasses. 3D printing is going to change the world as much as mobile phones have. It is exciting to be at the beginning of a paradigm shift in terms of the way products are made. That future is the reason we added a variety of 3D printing solutions to Novatech’s lineup. We’re able to make 100-fold reductions in traditional fabrication costs, like machining or casting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I put a lot of emphasis on communications and integrity. I am very disciplined about following up with people if I tell them that I am interested in speaking with them. Following up with people, and being genuine in that intent, is critical.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell younger Darren Metz to listen to Bobby McFerrin: “don’t worry, be happy.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
All that really matters is this moment in time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I take risks. It is always safer to do the same thing, but it is important to take risks. Research and find out what the calculated risks make sense for you, and take a chance.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The biggest strategy that I use is speed -in addressing customer needs. You have to maintain a sense of urgency and care even if it is something mundane. Take the issue with serious concern, approach it with a sense of passion. It takes a lot of work and commitment to take care of issues day in and day out but that is where we at Novatech make a difference.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Prior to Novatech, I was involved with a company that was a precursor to cloud technology. The technology was not stable and the internet wasn’t fast enough to support running software in the cloud. It was a complete failure for me and for my investors, because it was ahead of its time.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Being a father of a teenage daughter, I thought of an app called My Phone – as a parenting app. Make it a tracking system for grades and permissions for such things as streaming. It would need to have some monitoring features for social media. It would help you to know their whereabouts and who they are with, or who they are driving with in the car. It should determine the rate that car is moving, too. It wouldn’t be a helicopter parenting tool, but focused on improving the communication with kids on a rich mobile application. If it was out there I would download it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I was at a personal growth seminar called the Landmark Forum. At the conclusion, I met a young man who wanted his brother to attend, but could not afford to. I contributed to his brother being able to attend the seminar. I received a letter about three months later telling me that he was able to attend the seminar and that it was a life-changing event for him.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
It’s a bit ubiquitous now, but under celebrated… I use Outlook all of the time. Business is about communication and Outlook is empowering software. We take it for granted, but it’s a crucial component of my daily routines.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Topgrading by Bradford Smart. It introduces an assessment process to help assure you hire and keep an “A” team as your organization grows larger.
What is your favorite quote?
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, and his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did this ourselves.” From the Tao Te Ching, author Lao Tzu.
● Follow up with people, genuinely, and with discipline.
● Take risks. Calculate them, and take a chance.
● 3D printing is going to change the world as much as mobile phones have.