Tony Beaman was at a crossroads. He had just been laid off from his corporate job after a company acquisition, and despite his 20 years of experience in tech recruitment, staffing, and leadership, he felt like he was working toward a dead end. “I realized I was not going to achieve my career goals climbing the corporate ladder by the time I want to retire,” Tony explains. So he decided to go to work for himself.
In 2013, Tony founded Hacking Solutions after receiving his MBA in Human Resources Management. The business is a certified minority-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone business located in Oakland. Hacking Solutions offers staff augmentation, application development, and cybersecurity services such as penetration testing, vulnerability and risk assessment, security awareness and certification. The medical arm of the business offers medical and scientific staffing, mainly for hospital systems, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
When Tony’s daughter was born two years later, he felt a renewed sense of purpose. He started to really lay the foundation for his business. But then, he and his daughter’s mother split, and he suddenly found himself a single father. “That’s when things really kicked into high gear,” he says.
As Tony poured himself into the business, he started looking for financing to help him grow towards that vision of success. Tony considered going to the big banks he had been banking with, but he felt like it was probably going to be a waste of time. “With my credit score, I already knew that I wasn’t going to meet their qualifications.” He began a conversation with Darius Mahajer, SVP – Senior Relationship Manager at Main Street Launch. While Tony was eager to grow his business, it wasn’t quite the right time to take on a loan.
Looking back, Tony recognizes that those stumbling blocks were essential to his education as an entrepreneur. “Things were really tough those first few years. I felt like an imposter,” he reflects. Through his childhood as well as his military experience, Tony had always been taught to persevere. “All I had at the time was my company, and my hardcore belief in myself and my long-term vision.”
When the pandemic hit, the business didn’t feel the effects right away. But when the project for his biggest client wrapped in early 2021, he found it difficult to acquire new customers to replace that income in the uncertain economic climate. This situation forced Tony to step back and reevaluate his business. He recognized the need to focus on customer acquisition, and looked for ways to build out these systems in a sustainable way.
Through the California Rebuilding Fund, Hacking Solutions received $100,000 from Main Street Launch to use as working capital and refinance high-interest debt. “The capital from Main Street Launch has enabled me to do things I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time,” he says. With the funding from Main Street, Tony was able to invest in critical sales and marketing funnels. He hired consultants to enhance the company’s website and refresh the brand with new design work. They also set up automated outbound sales engines, which have been extremely effective. These investments have paid off in a major way, and it has poised the company for explosive growth. In 2019, the business’s revenues were over $535,000 and 2020 was the company’s best year on record with over $800,000 in total revenues. Now with the new systems in place, Tony is looking at a pipeline of over $5 million in sales for the coming year and potentially acquiring other business to fit under the company brand.