The Alexander Group

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Alex Dean uses a stable of professional service partners to help run The Alexander Group, his eight-person, $1.7 million company.

April 01, 2003

 

Alex Dean (seated) of The Alexander Group works with network "genius" Tobie Phipps to keep everyone in his firm connected with each other. Most recently, Phipps linked Dean's home computer to the work network so that Dean can work from home when necessary.

 

Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles

 

Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles

 

Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles

 

Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles
Professional Partner Profiles

 

Alex Dean uses a stable of professional service partners to help run The Alexander Group, his eight-person, $1.7 million company. In addition to outside accountants, the 29-year-old company works with a network consultant, a software specialist, a marketing firm and an attorney.

"For us, it makes sense to use high-quality people, pay them their fair and reasonable - pretty high - fees and have them come in on an as-needed basis to do what needs to be done," Dean says. "It saves on overhead. In no case is it really a full-time job at this point."

The Alexander Group's professional partners have changed over the years as the firm has grown in size and sophistication. "When it comes to what professionals you hire to help you grow your company, you've always got to be on the lookout," says Dean. "At different levels of business you need different levels of competence."

For instance, to create the company's original Web site, Dean hired the brother-in-law of an acquaintance from the gym. The man did the work in his spare time for just $3,000. "It suffered on timeliness, but we got a good product at a great price," Dean says. A couple of years later, he says, "I looked at my Web site and thought, this was pretty good when we first had it. We were one of the first to have one. Then I thought it was too klutzy."

Not long after, he met Stephen Wilson of Biz-comm at a NARI dinner meeting. About a year later, Dean hired Biz-comm to redesign and relaunch the site (www.alexandergroup.net).

Through NARI, Dean also has developed relationships with engineers and legal professionals, including one attorney he turns to for questions on contract clauses and employee relations. Through Metronet, a local networking group for small-business owners, Dean found the accounting firm to which he upgraded in 1998. While office manager Kathy Poland handles most of the accounting, the outside firm advises The Alexander Group on corporate structure, profit sharing, estate planning and other big-picture financial concerns.

After years of working with a variety of consultants, Dean has these words of advice:

"Let them do their job. Ask them questions, and if they're not up to the task, you may need to change. But let them do their job, and you will get the best value and be the most satisfied. If you try to micromanage them, you won't get the best results."

"I owe them all a debt of gratitude for every idea, every new practice that we do to protect my company and staff and improve our productivity and professionalism."

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