It can be slow going trying to expand a company into new territory, as Annese & Associates Inc., a family-owned telecommunications company based in upstate New York can attest.
Annese, based in Herkimer, N.Y., has spent the past 18 months slowly making local contacts in an effort to expand into the Rhode Island and southern New England markets. The 41-year-old firm currently has eight offices in New York state, according to Kara Rudy, marketing manager for the privately held business.
The company currently has one employee stationed in Rhode Island and one in Connecticut with two others devoted to southern New England but based in Albany, N.Y. The company has approximately 100 employees and is a value-added reseller (VAR).
“The biggest problem [with expanding marketing territory], and I’m sure it is common with many businesses, is that Annese is built on relationships, word-of-mouth and name recognition,” Rudy said, “and the biggest difference is that people don’t know you and you don’t have a strong network yet.”
Rudy explained the company has been working to establish its presence in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, based on a growth plan worked out with Cisco that showed this area is close enough to service from New York state and yet far enough to have potential customers never before exposed to Annese.
The firm’s focus covers education, health care, commercial, state and local government and in general terms it works with computers, telephones, video and audio equipment, including the well-known Cisco brand. Annese is certified as a woman-owned business in New York, New Jersey and Vermont.
“We’ve had various events, we go out and meet people, we’re networking and calling on people, looking for references, and we’ve started to connect the dots,” Rudy told Providence Business News. “Obviously there is competition and you do have to be able to differentiate yourself.” She cited as the company’s three strongest areas, its expertise, relationships and focus on innovation.