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January 1, 2002

Growing an Internet-Based Business in a Dot-Bust Economy

Article from the SBDC Advisor, Jan - Mar 2002

With a successful consulting business operating out of his home, Ron Severo approached the University of Pittsburgh SBDC during the technology boom of 1999 to develop a plan to raise expansion financing and accelerate revenue.

Started in 1996, Severo's company, Pyramid Consulting Group, provides software application consulting and programming support for Pittsburgh-area companies. After 3 and a half years of steady growth, Severo recognized the need to move from his home and into a new space.

He wanted to both raise the financing for a new space, and increase his revenue base as quickly as possible to create a balanced budget for his company. During the planning for this growth, the technology industry began to slow down, creating nervousness on the part of local financiers.

After lengthy discussions with an SBDC consultant, Severo decided that new construction at a prime location would best support Pyramid Consulting’s growth, emerging corporate image, client service, and long-term value. With the SBDC consultant's assistance, Severo developed a business plan to support the company's strategic direction and to obtain additional financing. The SBDC also assisted Severo in the management of intangible assets, namely, Pyramid Consulting's corporate image.

On January 19, 2001 Severo moved the company into its own newly constructed corporate office building. On April 2, 2001, the anniversary of Pyramid Consuiting's 6th year of business, Severo welcomed John Piocquidio to the firm as its newest Partner. Severo attributes the recruitment of Piocquidio, a major player in the software consulting industry, to Pyramid Consulting’s new look and feel based on their new office building, the creation of their latest multi-media CD, and their Internet/intranet office system, all of which occurred with the help of the SBDC.

Despite the slowing economy, Pyramid Consulting has now grown to 50+ employees. In recognition of its continued growth, the Pittsburgh Business Times nominated Pyramid Consulting to the Top 100 Growing Businesses for 2001. Pyramid Consulting was previously nominated to the Top 50 Growing Businesses in 1999 and 2000.These are aggressive results during any economy and are especially impressive in light of the recent burst in the technology industry. As part of his plan for staying competitive and successful, Severo meets regularly with the SBDC to monitor his business and reevaluate his strategy.

Pyramid Consulting is another example of a small business weathering times of economic change to succeed in a strained industry.

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Started in 1996, Severo's company, Pyramid Consulting Group, provides software application consulting and programming support.

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