Software Executive Magazine

August/September 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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How To Scale For Growth Tips from a CEO whose company debuted on the Inc. 500 list at #139 S T U S J O U W E R M A N HOW DO YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS? If you want your business to grow fast, you need to learn how to scale. You should question every action before im- plementing it and determine, "Does it scale?" Everything from the cloud stack to personnel and development pro- cesses must scale. Even when writing code one needs to consider how to write it so it works but will scale, rather than try to develop for a million users off the bat. For example, your customer service rep receives a support request. This gets taken up and sent directly to a support rep with a ticket. Five more support reps get the same issue with five different tickets. There is no centralized process in place to track common is- sues. These six reps are now busy handling the same issue. Does it scale? No. You need to develop a sim- ple process for managing your workflow. You put in a ticket system that identifies or allows for common issues and may generate an automatic FAQ. Does that scale? Yes. HOW DO YOU DETERMINE SCALABILITY? As you develop your business processes, you need to consider how each will affect the workforce who must deal with the data flow. Take the case of a newly hired sales trainer. The sales trainer has all his new sales reps send an email direct to the marketing department requesting emails and promotion to support a sales objective. Magnify that by 100. Does it scale? No. A better approach would be to send a direct request to the marketing department to create a centralized re- have three rules I use to build my business, and I drill these into my staff on a regular basis. 1. Do it right the first time. 2. Do it fast. 3. Have fun while you do it. These three rules are woven through- out the more detailed growth enablers I'll discuss here. IS IT THE IDEA, OR THE EXECUTION? Conventional wisdom implies that it is the idea that counts the most and it is just a matter of detail to get the product to market to make your fortune. This is the com- mon approach most people think of when building soft- ware products – build it and the masses will consume it. A more practical approach is: It's not the idea, it's the execution. Bob Metcalfe, the co-inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com, was most proud of his business aptitude rather than his skill as an inventor, as it was his hard work as head of sales and marketing that earned him his fortune. Engineers invited to Metcalfe's home would tell him what a great house it was and how they wanted to in- vent something like Ethernet. He'd tell them all about how he owed his house not to inventing Ethernet but to selling it for a decade. It had nothing to do with his initial brainstorming. One of the reasons execution remains superior to an idea is the simple fact people will copy your idea once the market is established. Being first does not mean owning the market. Take the case of Facebook over MySpace or Google beating out Alta Vista. If you develop a product that solves a market problem and works well, it is a good place to begin as you can build your company to scale. I As a software "serial entrepreneur," I'm aware that there are a multitude of factors to consider in determining how to grow your software company into a successful, thriving enterprise. GROWING & SCALING Framework By S. Sjouwerman HOW TO SCALE FOR GROWTH SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 30

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