Lessons Learned: Learning to Lead
00:00 Jay Bean: My name is Jay Bean. I am the CEO and founder of OrangeSoda. OrangeSoda is a locally focused online marketing company. We help businesses throughout North America reach local consumers in an efficient and cost-effective way.
How have you grown during the recession?
00:18 Bean: We've grown pretty rapidly, but at the same time we've also gone through a recession and one of the things that we've seen with that recession is business owners are much more aware of where all of their dollars are going. Reaching small business customers is super hard and in the early days we did more of kind of direct marketing going after these small businesses. Today we partner a lot with channel partners who already have those small business customers like the major newspapers and yellow page companies and other small business aggregators. Probably we should have done a lot more of that early on and tried to transition some of those customers over to us.
What are the stresses of leadership?
01:00 Bean: It's always been... It's challenging obviously. It's not just that you're just building a business, but now you have, whether it's one employee or 200 or whatever, you have these other people, other families, that are relying on you to make sure that they get paid. And especially in the early days founding a company, employees and work... Those monetary means almost come before your family and so that's when you put money on credit cards and you mortgage your house. During those times it's very hard and very stressful, but at the same time as you look back on those, those are some of the most rewarding times as well. That's when you really grow. That's when you really decide what technology is going to help you. That's when you really kind of pull things together and move the business forward in a very significant way.
What is important to your workplace culture?
01:53 Bean: You have to like what you do or love what you do. You have to love who you're working with. Obviously for our employees, they have to be fairly compensated. But at the same time if those first two are missing, it's just a job for someone and what we've tried to build at OrangeSoda is a culture very much driven around productivity, but at the same time we have a very young workforce. We do things a little bit different and we also... I mean we care a lot and I think just that little bit of fun kind of stepping away from business for 30 seconds and not being so serious allows us to also do our jobs much better. When people are just so serious as business all the time, they forget about life and I think that for us having kind of build a culture around enjoying what you're doing, if they hate what they're doing and they're just clocked in from 9 to 5 and they can't wait till lunchtime it's not a good experience for the customer. And so we've found that we've been able to be very successful in creating a culture where people like being there.