The Dynamo Behind T&T's Booming Success

Sophia Tong seated at the end of a crowded table in an offices meeting room.

Sophia Tong knew her IT company, T and T Consulting Services, Inc. (T&T), had the potential for explosive growth. Founded in 2004, the tech firm benefited not only from her customer-focused leadership, but from her SBA 8(a) certification, which she acquired in 2009. The SBA’s nine-year business development program proved instrumental to T&T’s ability to gain critical “past performance” experience, as it helped qualify the firm to receive sole-source, non-competitive federal contracts. Still, Tong recognized that in order to sustain success in the ever-changing world of IT, she would have to remain competitive as both a “contractor of choice” and an “employer of choice.” But, who would teach her how to achieve such lofty goals? After all, Tong was an engineer by training, not an operations manager.  

In late 2014, Tong applied to and was selected to join the SBA Washington Metropolitan Area District Office’s Emerging Leaders program, the federal agency’s intensive executive-level educational series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved communities. Developed by the SBA and drawing on the experiences of advisors and business leaders in urban centers across the country, the comprehensive curriculum provides the tools to catapult small companies to the next level and help them emerge as a force in their communities. As a result of the training she received through the Emerging Leaders curriculum, Tong learned to create a three-to-five year business development roadmap with specific structural, financial, and operational recommendations – each one tailored to the unique strengths, weaknesses, and goals of her company.   

By the end of 2015, T&T grew to 60 employees with sales of $16M. By 2018, Tong employed over 100 workers and was generating $20M in revenues. Moreover, she was able to apply the same principals she had learned in making her Emerging Leaders roadmap to create T&T’s current five-year strategic plan. Among its other recommendations, the plan established a Program Management Office, which now serves as a vital communications link among T&T’s leadership, project managers, and their respective team members. As T and T Consulting Services celebrates its 15th year in business, the company is on track to outpace its already-remarkable growth trajectory. 

Given the extraordinary success of her firm, Tong certainly has achieved her lofty goals. Nevertheless, she is quick to share credit with the SBA’s programs and services that have helped her on her journey, including the 8(a) Business Development Program, Emerging Leaders Initiative, and SCORE’s online workshops and training modules. Tong is indeed a dynamic force, whose inextinguishable power to break down barriers of all kinds is as impressive as it is inspirational. For all these reasons, in addition to her longstanding and outstanding support of charitable causes, Tong was selected as the SBA’s 2019 Small Business Person of the Year for Northern Virginia. 

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.