I, along with my business partner Mike, started FullStack Labs in the living room of my house in late 2015. In just four years we’ve grown the company to millions of dollars in revenue, 80+ employees across North and South America, and hundreds of clients in a variety of industries. We owe a great deal of our success to our incredible team. But the following five principles were also instrumental to our growth.
- Focus on sales, to the exclusion of everything else.
Selling is hard and often times not very much fun – who wants to hear NO all day long? So many entrepreneurs focus on everything else BUT sales and they never scale because of it. Revenue is the lifeblood of all businesses, and ultimately the only thing that matters. Your redesigned logo or new company mission statement isn't going to matter if you're out of business. So get sales working first-and-foremost, then worry about everything else.
- Divide and conquer.
Don't pick a business partner with the same skill set as your own. Mike and I have complementary skills that have been instrumental to our success. I focus on sales and operations, he focuses on technology and managing our clients/projects. This division of labor has proven to be effective and efficient. If we had similar skill sets - both good at sales or both good at technology - we likely would have failed as one part of the business would have been successful, but not the other.
- Skip networking events and tradeshows.
In my experience, they produce few tangible results. True, it's much more fun to attend an industry cocktail hour than make cold calls, but don’t be tempted. Stay in the office and pick up the phone.
- Business plans are a list of things that are never going to happen.
Don't waste time building one, five, or 10-year business plans. You’re not psychic and you can’t predict the future. Decision making is often clearer in hindsight. So, trust yourself. Make the best decisions you can with the information you have and execute. Then, measure the results and adjust as necessary. Have a bias towards action, not planning.
- Prioritize revenue over profit margin.
New business owners often make the mistake of insisting on charging their clients a high hourly rate or price for their product or service. But new businesses don't have the track record of success or the brand value to charge a premium. They should compete on price when starting out, then raise prices after they've established themselves in the market.
These principles won’t work for every business in every industry, but I think they’re a good starting point for most businesses that are just starting out. And as businesses grow their priorities will change, and these principles may be less applicable. But if you’re an entrepreneur trying to get a new venture off the ground, keep these principles in mind.
At FullStack Labs, we are consistently asked for ways to speed up time-to-market and improve project maintainability. We pride ourselves on our ability to push the capabilities of these cutting-edge libraries. Interested in learning more about speeding up development time on your next form project, or improving an existing codebase with forms? Contact us.