It happens every so often as founders and entrepreneurs. We get stuck, feel stressed out, wonder if what we're doing is all worth it. It doesn't happen often, because for the most part entrepreneurs aren't lacking in mental toughness, but the reality is that the tech world has a ninety percent failure rate cloud hanging over it. Still, we press on.
So now that the doom and gloom is out of the way, the beauty of innovation is that there is no shortage of inspiration to be found - from garage office incubators to a sprawling Silicon Valley campus. When the naysayers come calling, and they will, to whom can you turn to keep your confidence high, your spirit intact and your customers flowing in? Well, as the classic Ringo song says, you get by with a little help from your friends.
There is plenty to be learned in failure, sure, but too often we fall into the trap of dwelling on our mistakes, believing they're the only measuring stick for growth. As these lessons from CEOs and founders from across the industry will show you, it's the good decisions that propel businesses to the greatest heights.
Justin Gray, CEO, LeadMD
"The best thing I ever did was to start hiring people who weren't just like me. Leaders tend to want to replicate themselves. Instead, they should be filling in where they fail the most."
Matanda Doss, CEO, Sparrow
"When we rebranded our company, we asked our employees to be a part of the process. The company is no longer what it was when my business partner and I founded it, and that's a great thing. It's an entity that's been reshaped together and each person here feels some ownership of who we are. Now we can collectively share it with the world."
Brad Jannenga, Co-Founder, WebPT
"From the start we focused on building a great business, not a great pitch deck."
Rob Laizure Sr, CEO, Full Contour
"We enlisted the right partners to help build our own SaaS platform. Rather than continuing to use an off the shelf software platform, we invested a significant amount of capital to build our own. Taking the time to find the right people provided for IP value creation and an accelerated growth curve."
Dean Heckler, Founder, Heckler Design
"Luckily I learned early on to listen to my gut despite naysayers. I almost didn't develop what is today one of my most profitable products, because an influencer in my world at the time was trying to sway me against it. Always listen to your gut. That product proved to be a game changer for the business."
Hamid Shojaee, CEO, Pure Chat
"Believe it or not, doubling prices. It seems counter-intuitive, but we consistently heard customers share how much value we created for their business. If you're creating a ton of value and people love your product, you can - and should - charge more. It drove growth for us in a major way."
Jon Schepke, CEO, SIM Partners
"Choosing the right business model and the right market. Ten years ago, I was running a digital marketing agency and recognized that brands were missing out on a big opportunity to connect with consumers at a local level. Based on data, we knew that local digital advertising was outperforming all of our clients' other digital marketing efforts. We've spent 10 years building tools, technology and analytics to help enterprise brands maximize visibility during micro-moments."
Ray Gary, CEO, iDonate
"We made time to implement a weekly 'Team Time' meeting that focuses on the success of individual departments and teams. Each week we get the entire company together and allow each functional area to give an update to the company as a whole. Frequently we'll feature a team member's project or recent success story where we helped the customer. It connects everyone across the company, motivates teams and keeps communication flowing during the week.
Scott Salkin, Co-Founder/CEO, Allbound
"It was to place a laser focus on customer success from day one. I knew early on that with the limited money and resources we had, selling would best be done by me and my co-founder. Most importantly, each and every customer we landed had to be successful - wildly successful. Doing this early not only set a strong foundation for growth, it also set us on our way to building a 'fanbase' that showed the incumbents that we're not just here to disrupt, we're here for the long run.
Dave Albertson, CEO and Founder, Shelvespace
"The best thing was surrounding myself with the right people. As a founder it's easy to get stuck in the day to day problem solving instead of focusing on finding people who can do things better than you. From finding the right co-founder, to every other person who has joined since, they all bring bring unique talents and make the rest of us perform better."