For years, Cheryl Nelan’s hometown of Rochester, N.Y., was a tough place to find work. Like so many northern industrial cities, Rochester shed jobs as its manufacturing sector withered, exemplified by the shrinking of Eastman Kodak Co., once the city’s largest employer.
Nelan worked in this environment as a marketing and business leader for Kodak and other companies but spent much of her time on the road. “I used to joke,” she says, “that I’d go to trade shows in Chicago and know more people there than in Rochester.”
In recent years, the city has recovered, emerging as one of the nation’s strongest job markets. And Nelan, at 44, has reinvented her own professional life by opening a CMIT Solutions franchise, providing managed IT services to Rochester-area firms trying to work more efficiently and productively in the city’s resurgent economy.
“I find it very rewarding to help small businesses do more with less,” Nelan says. “When I go to networking events, almost everyone I meet, we end up helping each other in some way. Even if I’m not directly getting business out of it, I get juiced up thinking about helping someone else.”
Nelan is fulfilling one of CMIT Solutions’ most important cultural goals: for its franchise owners to be respected, visible, active members of their communities. It’s one of the main reasons why CMIT Solutions has adopted a franchise model; the system encourages its franchisees to build long, trusting relationships with other small business owners in the same community.
CMIT Solutions’ target market is small businesses with five to 99 employees. Since she opened in January, Nelan has signed agreements with many companies, ranging from an accounting and financial firm with 12 employees to a child care center with more than 70. She said working locally allows her to make fresh community connections and spend more time with her 10-year-old son, Royce.
“It gives me more flexibility. A lot of people ask me, ‘Are you working less now?’ I say, ‘No, I’m probably working more than ever, but they’re all hours I control,’” Nelan says. “If I have to take the afternoon off, I can, and then I can make it up over the weekend. Having that flexibility is a great thing that I didn’t have in the corporate world.”
She’s also been able to join organizations like the Rochester Business Alliance and other local chambers; Digital Rochester; and the Executive Women’s Golf Association while donating her time for the Make-A-Wish Foundation local advisory board. She’s a sought-after speaker with recent appearances at the Webster Chamber of Commerce and several small networking groups. Most recently, she spoke about franchising and CMIT Solutions at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she says attendees soaked up her presentation.
“This is a great community, a wonderful place to raise a family, and sometimes it gets a bum rap,” Nelan says. “Being active in the community through my CMIT Solutions franchise and helping fellow business owners is a nice way to give back.”
If you’re a small business owner and want to outsource your IT needs to a trained, conscientious, local professional with a national team of technicians and experts behind her, contact Cheryl today at (585) 672-9151 or email@example.com.