BECU Business Services spoke with business member Andrew Hoang, the founder and CEO of Seattle-based technology consulting firm Pivotal Consulting.
Pivotal Consulting is based in Interbay, in a shared business space that includes start-ups such as BikeSquad. Expedia will be moving in down the street in a couple of years. It's a hip area, and market-oriented for a tech consulting firm. Andrew meets us at his office, fresh from a meeting with new clients. He's proud of the work that Pivotal is doing, and equally excited to talk about their involvement in the community.
It's clear that Andrew values the city's rich tech culture. He places emphasis on the value of a face-to-face presence with local clients, and explains that their Seattle home base is an advantage when they're working with big tech firms in the region. In fact, Andrew just plain seems to love Seattle. He even threw out the first pitch at the June 28, 2016 Mariners game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
BECU: Can you give me a quick overview of Pivotal and what you do here?
AH: We're based in Interbay and started in 2009. I set the strategic vision for the company, where we're going, who we work with, and what services we provide. I'm the founder, owner and manager. As a small business owner, I work on operations to finance to legal – as well as account management. We work with lots of big clients.
BECU: What's your favorite part about running your own business?
AH: So many. Being your own boss. Being able to control your own destiny. I control where the company's going. I started it from scratch – bootstrapped it.
BECU: How have things changed for you since you started?
AH: We have customers all over the country now, but when we started, we were mostly based in Seattle. It was a de facto deal in our industry that you brought consultants in from all over. It was a waste of fuel. By hiring local companies you're giving back to your local economy.
We're in an amazing region that is robust with lots of great customers: Microsoft, Amazon, everything in between, biotech. We always talk about how we're a local consulting vendor when we're talking to our customers. With a local presence, we can be face-to-face. It's really important for our clients to have consulting partners that are here, that understand the local culture and the local business economy. Plus, there's a reduced cost burden on clients when we're not flying.
BECU: What do you think Pivotal brings to the table that larger firms don't?
AH: We're a small business; we compete with a lot of other large consulting firms. The difference for us is how we deliver on our products, how we treat our customers. Being small means we're nimble. For us every customer matters.
And it feels that same way with BECU. Whether small or big, our transactions with BECU have always been handled flawlessly. As a small business owner, I have bigger things to worry about than our banking. Even getting a statement from other banks is difficult sometimes.
BECU: That's great to hear. Would you recommend BECU to other businesses?
AH: I just recommended BECU to the guy next door. We've had them since day one– no other banking relationships since the beginning. That says a lot.
BECU has made it really easy. And friendly! So easy to deal with. Calling up and being able to get someone on the phone, not someone in India – it's a very different banking relationship than big banks. Starting a business, I had a lot of other things to focus on than banking, so having a relationship that was seamless was crucial. I wanted a partner that was going to handle all of the banking.
BECU: Yes, we think being a local business helps us serve you. It makes a big difference. You've mentioned how important it is to Pivotal to be involved in the local community. Why is that?
AH: There's just something about having a local presence, helping the local community and giving back. We're involved with PATH, lots of different animal charities, and Treehouse, for example. Everyone we hire has the same values. We just volunteered with Treehouse for our day of caring. As a team, we all went and participated.
Volunteering helps balance out for-profit businesses. It's good to be socially responsible: Make jobs, innovate, help customers succeed. Take what you've developed and earned and use it to contribute to the greater good. It's just responsible business.
Pivotal Consulting is a leading business and technology consulting firm with stellar experience and reputation. From Seattle to Washington, D.C., we are a trusted partner to our amazing customers who span across diverse industries. Our consultants bring dedication, passion, and deep expertise to every engagement.
Why should we be your consulting firm? We take on our client's greatest challenges as our own and go above and beyond to deliver the best results possible. This passion has spurred our growth and loyal client following – every client is a repeat customer.