Switching Tracks

Switching Tracks

When J.C. Gamboa, CEO of BITco USA Inc. (www.bitcousa.com), put in her bid for BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Website Makeover Contest, she wasn’t just looking to change the company’s online image. “The biggest thing is for folks to see us as a new and improved company,” she says of the family-owned business. “We’ve forged a niche in the marketplace, but we’re kind of a well-kept secret,” Gamboa says of the 5-year-old, Pensacola, Florida-based firm that installs equipment, such as radios, surveillance cameras, and automatic fare boxes, on buses and rail cars. The company also provides voice announcement services and does minor assembly work. “And of course, in this new age of security issues, a lot of clients are doing GPS installations as well,” she adds.

But it seems that a Website makeover isn’t the only change taking place at BITco USA, which posted $1.2 million in revenues for 2003. “We’re bursting at the seams,” says Gamboa. “We were home-based because there was no need to have an office, since we do all of the installations on-site; but two of our daughters have joined the business, and we’re looking at diversifying [the company] in two different areas.” The company recently moved to a 3,700-square-foot facility, and Gamboa says that her husband, Gary Montgomery, the company’s managing director, wanted the Website to reflect the increased level of professionalism as well as the growth.

L. Kareem Geiger, vice president of client relations at TechnikOne, the company that partnered with BLACK ENTERPRISE to provide the makeover, says the original site didn’t “tell the story” of what BITco was doing. “They have a lot of great clients and a really great story to tell,” says Geiger of the firm, but the site didn’t reflect that. “You spent all the time trying to figure out how to turn the sound off.” The site had music playing and provided a link to the owners’ church Website. “Those are things you don’t want on the site,” says Geiger, commenting on some of the common site design mistakes small companies make. “At best, it could be annoying, at worst, offensive,” he adds.

Geiger says the TechnikOne team focused on strengthening the company’s brand. They also focused on BITco’s core strengths (a solid reputation and customer base), keeping in mind that the company is in a period of growth.

The makeover comes at an opportune moment, adds Gamboa, who says that the company had recently begun discussions on how to improve the site for customers and its 25 employees. “We liked some of the formatting of the [old] Website,” she says, “but we needed to do things like update our projects, change how e-mail was set up, and e-mail from within our site rather than going out of the site. And we wanted our project managers to be able to communicate, submit hours, and so on.” She admits that the old site was simply a way for original equipment manufacturers and clients to check out the type of work the company does. Now, however, the