FASTEST-GROWING COMPANIES - #3 - Stratford Managers

OBJ Staff
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Helping clients ‘take it to the next level’

Jim Roche says the best advice he ever received was ... always seek out good advice.

Stratford Managers CEO Jim Roche.

"The quality of advice that a company can tap into will sometimes determine the extent of its success," says Mr. Roche, adding that it can come from one's employees, clients, mentors, friends or outside consultants.

The co-founder and former CEO of Tundra Semiconductor Corp. - which was bought by IDT for $120.8 million in 2009 - Mr. Roche has also held executive positions with Newbridge Networks Corp., CMC Microsystems and served as a director with several local tech firms.

He's now applying that experience as head of Stratford Managers Corp., a ByWard Market-based company that provides financial, marketing, technical and other business consulting services.

While many of the company's customers are in the tech sector, Mr. Roche says Stratford Managers targets businesses that are "built around innovation," including professional service providers and publicly funded not-for-profits.

With new customers, Stratford Managers typically starts in an advisory role, either by facilitating a strategic planning exercise or coaching executives to help them accelerate their performance. The company also provides advisory services when a client needs assistance with a specific project, such as launching a product or developing an intellectual property strategy.

Additionally, Mr. Roche and his team can provide interim management services by embedding themselves into a client's management team.

"It is really thrilling to work with companies ... where we can have a direct, tangible impact on those organizations and help them achieve their objectives," says Mr. Roche.

The rapid growth of its clients is a major factor behind the near-quadrupling of Stratford Manager's revenues over the past three years, he adds, noting the upcoming generation of knowledge-based businesses presents promising growth prospects for his firm.

It is really thrilling to work with companies … where we can have a direct, tangible impact. CEO Jim Roche

"There are plenty of companies that are ready to break out and take it to the next level."

Approximately 85 per cent of Stratford Managers' clients are in Ottawa, but Mr. Roche says he expects that to decline as the company continues to grow and open offices in Toronto and Boston.

The biggest challenge facing Stratford Managers, he says, is preserving the company's culture - which Mr. Roche describes as recognizing and applauding corporate performance while embracing the human side of business - during a period of rapid growth.

Fortunately for Mr. Roche, helping clients manage their own expansions is one of his company's strengths.

"That is why Stratford is successful. We know the challenges (businesses) face as they grow."

Year founded: 2009

Local head count: 9

Product/service: Management consulting

Revenue growth: 298.2%

Organizations: Tundra Semiconductor Corp., Newbridge Networks Corp., CMC Microsystems

Geographic location: Ottawa, Toronto, Boston.The

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