Published: June 3, 1999
Andy Hutchison | Darien News
The Right Formula
Essential Data President Antoinette Allocca says there are a few stand-out reasons why people come to work. This includes her newly honored Stamford-based company–flexibility, proximity, and salary.
Ms. Allocca must be doing something right using that formula. Essential Data Corporation was recently named one of the top 500 Women-owned businesses in the country in the June issue of Working Woman magazine. Although listed as Number 461, Essential Data enjoyed an astounding growth spurt from an income of $1 million in 1996 to $20 million in 1998.
The company employs approximately 15 sales associates who interact with major companies seeking technical writers. The technical writers essentially serve as the link between computer lingo for specific companies and their customers.
According to Ms. Allocca, approximately 40 percent of the sales consultants who work out of her Stamford office are Darien residents.
The president of the company claims that many Darien residents work for her as a result of downsizing in their former company and/or because of a need for working close to home and making a six-figure income.
Instead of working on Wall Street, for example, employees can make better salaries without the long commute, according to Ms. Allocca.
“Their attitude is ‘been there, done that.’ They don’t want to go back,” she said.
Increase Sales and Incentives
The company’s president recently returned from a White House reception honoring women business owners. But, she said, “Sales associates who have worked there for two years or more make between $300,000 and $600,000. She added the numbers are the incentive for them to do good work–the harder they work, the more clients they establish, and the bigger their paycheck.”
While the salespeople generally start their work day in the office at 8 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m., they receive a three-hour break for lunch and have the freedom to take care of personal business during the day.
Look around the office; a visitor would be surprised to hear that sales consultants are so well off. In addition, many are dressed in jeans and work boots. However, several hours a day, many of the salespeople are out of the office, taking advantage of the extended lunch break.
“It’s wonderful. I’m able to spend much more time with my children,’ said Andy Zimmer, a Darien resident. He has been a sales associate for Essential Data for almost two years. Mr. Zimmer formerly commuted to Wall Street daily, making for a long day.
“I’d leave when it’s dark in the morning and come back when it’s dark at night. It’s not like that anymore, he said.
“My responsibility is going out there and targeting companies that have the need for the nice business we’re in, “said Mr. Zimmer.
In his second year with Essential Data, Mr. Zimmer claims that building relationships with companies is one of the keys to being successful.
“This is an industry where you can make a very good living for yourself,” he said.
Ms. Allocca said approximately 15 of the 140 or so technical writers across the country, Europe, and Japan are from Darien.
One of them is Tom Smith, who enjoys the freedom of his work similarly to that of the sales associates. “You don’t get the staleness as a full-time worker,” said Mr. Smith.
“The beauty of it is, in between assignments, if I want to take two or three weeks off, I can.”
The reason Essential Data sales associates take home the whopping income is because the company made $10 million in 1997 and $20 million in 1998.
One sales associate can earn between $20,000 and $40,000 over a year from one client. When Essential Data Corporation provides tech writer services for companies such as Motorola, Pitney Bowes, and Darien’s Software Security and Air Express, “It rejuvenates them. It’s like a fountain of youth, they (sales associates) tell me.” Ms. Allocca said.
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