What is your current role in the business world?
With a group of partners, we acquired the engineering division of a construction company. The business was in start-up mode and the previous owner nearly ran it into the ground before their first quarter was up. My role is to lead the start-up, which is also a turn around.
What is your latest business venture?
EVP of a North American software developer.
How does your startup stand out against it’s competitors?
Vastly different model! One that is truly innovative. Traditional competitors in this sector have years or experience, which, also translates into years of baggage and closed minded thinking. No one in the industry was thinking about succession planning and growing new talent out of school. Our approach was to hire only fresh new graduates out of engineering programs and train them on industry specifics. The energy and passion that they bring to work everyday is totally refreshing and, our customer loves (with a capital “L”) our team because of their attitudes and passion.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
The fact that the industry is or has become stale. No innovation or growth. We thought that the fresh approach will reinvigorate our customer’s ability to serve their customers better and thus far, it is working.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
My business background has been largely as a turn around mercenary meaning that I specialize in taking on the broken hearted and lonely and making them remarkably marketable again.
With your new start-up, what are some challenges you are facing?
Competitors seeing that customers love our model and seeing them constantly attempting to poach our people.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Building an amazing culture – one that permeates everything we do and customers feel it. This has given us some room to be less than perfect in our delivery as we bring our team’s experience level up to industry standards.
In your roles as a business leader, what are insights you have learned and how are you bringing them into your new venture?
It is a real simple approach. Combine a happy team with satisfied customers and the business will grow and prosper. We are bringing it to the new venture daily by making sure the team fully understands our purpose, vision, strategies and how they play a role in the success of the business. We recruit based on attitude and cultural alignment and teach for everything else. We are religious about building great relationships with our customers and talk it about it relentlessly with the team.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
Grow by double without losing the culture we have built and without burning our brand with the customers.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
I am an incurable optimist and seem to always under estimate costs and over estimate revenue. This one has been no different.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Passionately work on the business not in the business. Surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you, allows you to focus on strategic things that matter while the smarter ones, find great ways build replicable approaches to the business.