They had three sales people, three support people, on tester, one secretary, three programmers. One of the programmers doubled as their sysadmin. The support staff had to work on bugs for Q&A in their time between calls. They literally had clients that were some of the biggest lawfirms around.
They made a product. They sold a product. They made money.
The guys who started the thing took out personal loans to keep it going for awhile. He passed out profits back to the employees when times were good. Honestly, if there was a place to be promoted to or a position open when I was ready to go on I probably would have never left.
Small companies can survive in the IT world. They just have to have half a clue in their heads to do it.
Fill a niche, concetrate and expand along the niche not outside it, keep employee and overhead costs low (their building was nothing grand but I had my own office).
This is basic business stuff that many companies still have no concept of.