Would your small business be capable of running itself should a personal setback occur? That is the question Miguel Ribeiro is thankful to have pondered and planned for. As the owner and founder of VBS IT Services, established in 2007, he practices what he preaches: he had the necessary systems in place, such as a CRM database and Cyber Security program, when he suffered a concussion in 2012, and unable to work for a year. Having an already established company, along with the assistance of supportive colleagues, enabled the company to maintain momentum.
VBS IT Services offers managed IT services that delivers proactive management of technology systems with a 24/7 helpdesk support, Cyber Security Protection and Awareness training, as well as CRM implementation and consulting. Ribeiro says, “We are focused on simplifying technology to help businesses run smarter. We help businesses run at peak performance to be wildly successful by automating processes with advanced technology solutions.” But what began as a one man show with Ribeiro, his laptop and cell phone, the company now serves 1100 clients, employs 6 staff, and works with 18 partners, such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Google.
He says that ongoing IT training boosts morale and keeps everyone engaged and on the cutting edge of their field. He maintains a learning community that supports one another: “No one individual can know all about technology so we work as a team and when somebody gets stuck we resort to an internal chat team,” he says. Further, the company operates on a remote work model that he feels is more efficient for productivity, holding regular team meetings on Microsoft Teams platform to communicate, collaborate and support one another. Consequently, in embracing a distributed workforce, Ribeiro must be doing something right, as VBS IT Services has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada for three years in a row. The company was also recently designated the Best Security Company in Canada (2019).
In fact, offering clients both CRM and Cyber Security solutions sets VBS IT services apart from the competition. He says, “Every business needs people, processes and technology systems. Successful growing businesses need their technology systems to be reliable, always available, secure and safe, plus they need a CRM system for people to collaborate along with workflow automation to ensure the customer experience is consistent and to keep employees accountable.”
Once becoming a client of VBIS IT services, Ribeiro says, a relationship is developed with a network and security assessment so that gaps can be identified and a roadmap to improve their technology can be discussed. As soon as the company is fully on board, their customers benefit from a proactive managed services platform, where they experience a level of comfort knowing that we are always available to help them proactively maintaining their systems 24/7 to ensure availability.
But just who is the man behind this successful, innovative company? Ribeiro graduated from Seneca College in Business Administration, and although he was always passionate about technology, reminiscing about the days of Atari and Commodore, he started out in manufacturing, until his early thirties, when he ventured into working with his brother at his already established technology business, and never looked back. Primarily, self-taught in IT training, it wasn’t long before he was working his way up in the industry, founding VBS IT. He acknowledges that being a business owner comes with its perks as he has full control over being able to execute new ideas, but with that comes risk; he says, “luckily I have big shoulders.” Ribeiro adds, “I am completely responsible for my success so the harder I work, the more successful I am.” Still, he’s always cognizant of how his actions impact his employees and organization.
Blessed with an easy going and positive outlook on life, Ribeiro is not just passionate about IT, due to opportunities in lifelong learning, or partnering up with the likes of Google, the main motivation is because VBS IT prides itself on helping people grow and manage their own business. He says, “I want to help businesses be successful and because of some of the challenges in my life I see how the system takes care of itself.” The importance of such a business model struck Ribeiro when he suffered a concussion in 2012. He says, “My business continued as usual because I had systems in place and a great team.” But it took him a year to recover in full. Even small tasks like talking would drain him of energy. Once he got his speech back, he developed anxiety issues and debilitating anxiety attacks that rendered him in bed for hours at time: “I dealt with debilitating anxiety, which took another year to find a way to control it. But I eventually found a way to control my anxiety through exercise, yoga, meditation and by leading a more balanced lifestyle,” he says. Today, he has struck a work-life balance, as he realized that not overworking himself like he did when he suffered a concussion, and that there is more to life than work.
In ensuring he has a well-run business with technology that runs itself, he is able to enjoy the beauty life has to offer with his wife and son. He loves travelling and fitness, and has goals to own a cottage to spend summers at, since he particularly enjoys outdoors activities like swimming and hiking. He wishes to travel for 6 months of the year, but not before he travels across America in a newly purchased trailer. Eventually he wants to sell the business, unless of course his son wishes to take over this business; though he feels this is unlikely as his son is pursuing a passion for music. And that’s what working hard and playing hard is all about, isn’t it? Finding your passion and going with it—just like Ribeiro did.
Lindsay Soberano-Wilson is a Teacher and Freelance Writer of over 15 years whose work has been published both in print and online. She has experience writing feature articles and interviews for community newspapers like Markham Review and magazines like Lifestyles. In addition to an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, she holds a MA in English Literature.
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