Five years ago, I made the jump from banking to tech. While I kept my tailored suits, I left the world of finance to follow my passion for technology and the fast-paced innovation that goes with it.
Today, the mobile development company I founded in 2010 employs 70 full-time developers and designers. At Fueled, we create polished iOS and Android apps for some of the world’s largest enterprises and a few of New York’s most innovative startups. Last summer, we also launched our shared working space, The Fueled Collective, which is home to 135 tech entrepreneurs. Why would a mobile development company open a co-working space? It’s simple – because I believe in surrounding my team with the creativity and innovation co-working provides.
I’m fortunate enough to have met and worked with some truly influential human beings, and I’ve developed my philosophies and expertise through my experience running both Fueled and the startups we’re creating through the company. I’ve outlined three of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far.
1. Improving sales can fix just about every other problem.
Your company’s core product should be your biggest focus. However, your company won’t grow on a great product alone. An increase in sales means an increase in profit, and profit paves the way for growth.
At Fueled, we look to create innovative, compelling, beautifully designed apps for our clients. We want to be the best. We want to add value to our space. But we have to be able to sell our product to gain exposure and share the experience to attract new clients. Only then are we able to support the growth of our team and company culture.
2. Add 1 senior person to your team (not 2 less-experienced candidates).
Founders often shy away from hiring senior managers in favor of less-experienced candidates, claiming they’re saving capital. However, in periods of high growth, those in junior-level positions can crack. The more experienced seniors are the ones who keep the business afloat.
Companies have to think critically and realistically about their growth plans. Fast growth, especially when your business is just beginning to take shape, requires senior leaders to jumpstart sales and shape production. Those in senior positions take ownership and work autonomously — traits that are invaluable during periods of intense, fast-paced expansion.
Once your business has stabilized and processes are in place, you have the flexibility to hire junior staff. In my experience, the senior positions you spent precious capital on in the early stages will provide the people keeping your business successful, stable and healthy later.
3. Have patience when hiring.
Fueled has been able to scale and succeed because we focus on getting the best people for every job.
Sometimes, the right people aren’t ready to leave their current situation, or the time is right for you when it isn’t for them. Don’t waver. If you know someone is the person for the job, wait. We’ve held out for over a year for the best employees, and it’s always been worth the wait. If you have the flexibility, continue to pursue them.
My advice may not apply to you or your business, but these are lessons I’ve learned after several years growing Fueled into the business it is today. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image Credit: CC by Kevin Lau