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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If you hire with the view of scaling the business and doing it right the first time, you'll be able to grow that much faster. When you get to hiring an HR department, get staff who can not only manage but can also hire. This allows your business to accommodate fast growth. HOW DO YOU HANDLE HYPERGROWTH? If you've managed to get your business into growth mode, you will be forced to revamp your business pro- cesses, especially when you need to support a period of hypergrowth. There is a smart way to do it. This is when you pilot a new activity and create it as a parallel to what you already have working. You don't experiment on a proven production line or take apart something that is already working to test your theories or ideas. Keeping it lean, you create the activity and test it out first, like a working prototype. Does it work? Can it be duplicated? Does it scale? If so, you slowly integrate into operations while continuing your other actions. And you monitor it to make sure it doesn't kill off your bread and butter. An example would be creating a new product. If you didn't pilot it, you might have all your sales reps jump on the new product, which is unproven in sales, and drop promotion of existing products. Don't be sur- prised if you experience a subsequent drop in revenue. HOW DO YOU FIX WHAT'S BROKEN? There comes a time when production in any given area levels out. Whether it is development, sales, or lead gen- eration, production goes flat. This is the time when you need to inspect and revamp. You can't throw more re- sources at a broken process and expect it to change. It doesn't scale. You should isolate the problem first, and then add resources when they are needed. Take the case of rising support costs. Inspection finds the development and QA process have been shortcut. Needed testing or an extended beta wasn't done, which in turn resulted in a premature product release. Left un- checked, this will negatively affect sales and profits. Fix the product. Adjust resources. Perhaps automate sup- port tools to improve and speed up reporting. This rapid inspection and fixing the problem (do it fast) will result in an improvement. If not, you have the wrong problem. Whatever you do, look and be objective. Fixing a bro- ken process or team is in everyone's best interest. And keep it fun. S pository of promotion and email templates to support a sales objective. The sales staff would be able to get to it at any time and pull what they need for their prospect conversation. Does it scale? Yes. It allows you to do it right the first time and do it fast. Let's take another scenario. Your development team has received a feature request from the sales depart- ment – which means if they have this feature, the sales rep will be able to close the deal. There are many questions to ask to determine wheth- er the feature will scale. How much is the sale? What are the costs involved for supporting this feature into the future? Will any other customer benefit from this feature? Will you lose customers or recurring revenue if you do not have this feature? Does it solve a market problem? Will it take you away from other, more press- ing or profitable development? Asking the hard ques- tions can help you determine the practicality and de- cide the best route to take. HOW DO YOU SCALE YOUR STAFF? The subject of personnel comes up sooner or later. The issue of how to hire can be a challenge. It should be like constantly doing yourself out of a job. At first, you are handling everything yourself, and eventually the sheer volume forces you to shed some of these duties, bit by bit. A workable way to hire is to find the staff that can grow into the role as the business expands. And you hire people who you think can do the job better than you can. It helps remove the temptation to intervene. Hiring a great salesperson who lacks leadership quali- ty as your first hire will not allow you to scale. You want someone who can sell and help train others to sell while you grow. They will be a better manager in the long run. They will know what it takes to get that sale. They've done it themselves. Does this scale? Yes. Now let's look at doing it another way. You hire a sales rep. He's good and he brings in several deals. Then you want to expand. You hire another sales rep. Now you have two to manage directly. And you keep hiring good reps. Who is going to manage them? You are. Does it scale? No. You'll be drowning in no time and unable to get to your other duties. S T U S J O U W E R M A N (pronounced "shower- man") is the founder and CEO of the integrated security awareness training and simulated phishing platform KnowBe4, Inc. Sjouwerman's fifth startup, KnowBe4, debuted on the 2016 Inc. 500 list at #139, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 at #50 and #1 on the Tampa Bay Best Places to Work for 2017. You don't experiment on a proven production line or take apart something that is already working to test your theories or ideas. S T U S J O U W E R M A N C E O , K n o w B e 4 31 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

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