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L5 Solutions’ 10 Year Anniversary (Part 1: History)

Jul 20th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support

L5 Solutions is celebrating 10 years of minimizing technology frustrations for our customers. Therefore, it is a good time to stop and take a look back. This is part one of a two-part series getting to know the people behind the computer, starting with Frank Howard and what led him to founding L5 Solutions.

Before L5

Frank was introduced to the atmosphere of small business from a young age and it was a consistent part of his development. His mother owned a beauty shop attached to their house, and as a young teen Frank worked with local farmers. In high school, he worked at a local video store. These all taught him important values he would carry into his professional career such as hard work, customer service, and how to really take care of a customer.

It makes sense then that Frank would spend 12 years at a small engineering firm, Frakes Engineering, doing roles from computer drafting to IT to ultimately General Manager. This showed him what else a small business can offer – and that’s the “awe inspiring” investment into the lives of their employees. His coworkers were able to do successful work, while still having time to raise and advance their families.

“Burning the Ship”

Despite enjoying using his technical and management skills for Frakes, Frank felt there was a missing piece to his day to day work, and that was working with customers. He wanted the opportunity to make an impact by helping people “effectively use technology to improve their situation” and thus spread their own personal impact.

But “you can’t get anywhere by yourself”, and so it was with the help of Kirk, Frank was able to “burn the ship” of a comfortable job and make the leap into starting a small business of his own. He brought with him all the lessons and ideals from the professional experiences that came before. The pair worked out of their houses for a year before moving into open office space at Frakes – in the beginning sharing a desk area.

Orginial office
Behind The Name

            In looking for a name, Frank turned to a book he had received in a peer group called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. “Leadership has always been something I liked,” he recalls, and the Level 5 leadership described in the book was something that resonated with him – a blend of “deep personal humility” and “intense personal will.”

Focus on Service

            As L5 Solutions grew, so did the team behind it. “The tech part is the easy part, the people part is what’s hard”, was the mentality Frank used in choosing members to bring on. It was important to him that the company’s technicians understood how to work with people who were frustrated about their technology. He wanted team members who cared about the issues of their clients personally. If they didn’t know the answer right away, they would figure it out, because fixing the problem mattered.

Check out part 2 for more about the technicians at L5.

As the industry changed with the additions of new technology, L5 focused on maintaining this personal customer service versus the “bleeding edge of technology.” Frank felt it was more important to evaluate the pros and cons of new innovations and worry about what makes sense for the client than attempt to offer only the new fads and buzzwords.

The same ideals went into the problem solving mindset which L5 works. Instead of just fixing a problem to make it go away, Frank wanted to focus instead on efficiency on both ends. What was the real root of the problem to make sure another one didn’t happen in the future? Success was measured more by reducing issues that needed to be reported, not the number of ones that were solved. Staying small allowed L5 to do this on a personalized level for each company.

Group Shot 1
  Future Goals

            The goals of L5 Solutions will not change going into the next decade. No matter what kind of growth the company experiences, the focus will be on adding “the right customers, on the right plan to make us all successful.” We will continue to help our clients leverage technology to improve their business.

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