Join Us! Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration
February 9, 2019
Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, FL
Reception, Dinner & Awards: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Individual Ticket: $150.00 each | Corporate 10 pack $1,400.00
RSVP by January 7, 2019
158% Job Growth
Next Horizon has been serving Central Florida businesses for more than 25 years, making sense of IT managed services, digital marketing, and custom application development. Next Horizon has a track record of reducing costs, increasing productivity and decreasing downtime for our clients. Next Horizon brings award-winning expertise and a people-centered approach to deliver exceptional quality consistently. Next Horizon is led by President, Harry Ellis III, recognized in 2017 as one of Orlando Business Journal’s CEOs of the Year. For more information visit: www.nexhorizon.net or call 407-328-9228.
Next Horizon sees Substantial Growth by Understanding their ‘Why’
Next Horizon is an information technology company that focuses on bridging the gap between creative and technical needs of their clients. Services include web and graphic design, digital marketing strategy and implementation, cloud computing, mobile web design, e-commerce, custom application development, computer forensics, network and IT managed services. From small businesses to the enterprise level, Next Horizon assists their clients at that intersection of business and information technology.
Beginning in 1982, Harry Ellis, Jr. founded Ellis & Associates, a company that focused on software development, mainframe and terminal computing. Fast forward 19 years, Harry Ellis III joined his father and rebranded the company as Next Horizon Networking and Technology.
“It was around the mid-90’s that we saw the big box stores with electronics start to dwindle so we completely rebranded in 1998 and went back to our roots in software development and IT services,” he said. “The digital marketing arena just started coming into play so we started to write software for Y2K compliance for companies and we slowly took off from there. We built some of the first websites ever made.”
When Harry Ellis began working at Next Horizon, he never expected to become President. “I took over operations of the company about 5 years ago. I am an accidental entrepreneur. My initial passion was in digital forensics, which I studied at the University of Central Florida. After being here, I fell in love with the business and my passion turned to leading it.”
“First thing I did was try to zero in on strategies that moved technology beyond a commodity. We all go buy iPhones and electronics, go online and get a Wix account and that’s pretty much it,” he said. “What I didn’t want to do as we expanded was to create a company that was more of a commodity than a value to our clients.”
Ellis tailored his leadership style off the teachings of Simon Senik, popular for his book “Start with Why”. It focuses on the idea of a golden circle examining the what, how and why of a business. Senik stresses that every business knows what they do, some know how they do it and very few businesses know why they do it.
“We applied all of that to our business. We took his golden circle and basically just applied that way of thinking and asked ourselves why customers want to use us. We started not just selling technology, but the business value of technology. We focus on helping our clients increase sales, decrease costs and increase productivity. That’s our why. How we do it is through technology application development, IT services and taking the “what” out of the customer’s hands and delivering it.”
One challenge Ellis has experienced while growing his business is the lack of qualified talent in Florida. “Talent is always a big challenge for us in Central Florida,” he said. “Tech talent is pretty rough. There’s plenty of business out there for us to grow and we want to find good quality talent, not just workers that want to come in Monday through Friday and work 9 to 5. We want people who are excited to grow, and who share that same innovative spirit.”
Keeping a competitive edge to continue moving forward
Our competitive edge is that we are a complete outsourcing company of all technology,” Ellis said. “We take the headaches away from our clients They don’t have to worry about four or five vendors. They just work with one.”
“We have a bundled services package model,” shared Ellis. Like with your communications vendor you have your phone, internet and cable and you get the whole package,” he said. “We have digital marketing, application development, project managers and IT services. No other company in central Florida does all that. Of course, we have silo competitors for each subpart of our company, but not competitors that take the same holistic approach that we do.”
Looking toward the future, Ellis has a handful of goals to check off his to-do list.
“As for short term goals, we’re trying to build our new corporate offices building- hopefully groundbreaking in December,” he said. “We want to double again within two years as well. We’ve gone through a huge growth spurt these last few years so we’re looking forward to doubling again and possibly adding a second location.”
What it means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
“It means a lot,” said Ellis when reflecting on Next Horizon’s nomination for the Florida’s Companies to Watch. This event honors second-stage companies in Florida who have demonstrated substantial growth and innovation.
“We’re not an honoree without our staff. Without them we could not have gotten here. We’ve been fortunate to be recognized for many things and this is probably one of the major stepping stones to be the top 50 in the state. My team appreciates it, but they’re humble at the same time. They know at the end of the day we still have work to do, but this nomination is showcasing the quality work we deliver for our clients.”
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
When asked if Ellis had any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs once like him, he was quick to offer bits of advice that helped lead him to success.
“I would say have a plan. Work your plan and be mentored by other entrepreneurs and CEO’s before you jump in the deep end. A lot of businesses and entrepreneurs will start and fail because they didn’t have a plan. They had a great idea, but they didn’t know how to execute it,” he said.
“Why are you in business? The important thing is knowing why you are in your business and why you want to do it in the first place. Make sure your goals and objectives match that why and you’ll succeed. That’s the biggest thing.”
Notable community contributions
Next Horizon employees often donate time and donations to various philanthropic organizations throughout the Central Florida area. Recently, Next Horizon sponsored Shop with the Sheriff, a Seminole County Sheriff’s Foundation event where underprivileged children are able to shop for back to school clothing.
Next Horizon is also a proud donor of Seminole State College of Florida. In 2016, Next Horizon established The Marvine F. Ellis Endowed Scholarship at Seminole State in memory of Harry Ellis’ mother. This scholarship is awarded to tech students attending Seminole State. Next Horizon also endowed a second scholarship at Seminole State for Entrepreneurship. In addition, Harry is past alumni chair for Seminole State and Next Horizon fulfilled the balance of the Alumni Association’s endowment scholarship.
Next Horizon is also actively involved in the following organizations:
- The Boy Scouts of America
- Rotary International
- Base Camp
- Boys and Girls club
- Seminole State Foundation
- Seminole State Alumni Association
- Leadership Seminole
- Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Community Foundation
- University of Central Florida Alumni Association
- Seminole Action Board for the Homeless