Six Things I’ve Learned One Year Into Business
According to our certificate of incorporation we’re officially a year and a half old, but the business really started on July 23rd 2016, the date my business partner, Caren Carrasco, left a great position to join me in building Benjamin David Group (BDG), our consultancy.
Transitioning from a freelance consultant to choosing the right business partner has been the most impactful decision I’ve made over the past year. Our business would not have accelerated in the way it has without Caren’s involvement in every hire, every client project, and every decision regarding our business. Anyone that has ever worked with Caren knows she is a true force of nature. As we call it internally “a beast!”
I quickly realized the power and impact the team was going to make in contributing to BDG’s growth. To scale the business, I knew I needed to find a team of all-stars that could essentially create their own businesses within the framework of BDG. So, my primary focus over the past year has been finding these all-stars – and man, have I been lucky: I’ve already found 16 of them.
It’s logical to assert that a successful consultancy is based on the know-how of its team, but it’s far greater than that. In our space, talent cannot live without social aptitude. After-all, we’re in the business of selling ourselves. Each member to join our team not only possesses a wealth of information in each of their domains, but they are all incredibly confident and humble people. Not to mention the fact that I want to share a Sunday afternoon beer with each one of them – and I know they feel the same way about one another.
Yes, it’s easy to be all kumbaya when things are going well, but I can rest easy knowing that we have built a team of all-stars whom genuinely have each other’s backs when the going gets tough – including mine.
A business owner knows that whatever projections or assumptions that are made to scale the business will almost certainly be inaccurate. Equally so, knowing the importance of soaking up every little bit of knowledge, at every opportunity, is a key to adapting the model. I want to share what my team has taught me, and in true “made for LinkedIn” form, I’ve made a list of the top lessons from our first year of business.
- Pick the right partner. They’ll either help blow up the business or make it implode.
- When you find someone great, as in really great, and they reject your offer, go back to the drawing board. Leave ego aside and find a way to make it work.
- Identify what you’re good at, and hire the balance.
- Trust your team. Give up the need to know everything and allow them the freedom to represent your business.
- Every day is urgent. I learned this very early on from my 15 years working with Joe Poulin of Luxury Retreats. He treated every day as a deadline and his hustle never slowed down for a second.
- Network, network, network. I’ve met some amazing people over the past year and I’ve never left an event without meeting someone who I could either help, or that could help me.
As we kick off our second year, I’m expecting to learn a lot more from our team as we confront the many challenges that keep us up at night: the limited talent pool of CRM and marketing automation specialists within easy reach, expanding the business outside of Montreal, and ultimately the never-ending sense of fragility that comes when trying to scale at speed. Where I know where we’ll continue to thrive, no matter what peak or valley we’re endeavoring, is in helping our partners create engaging programs that deliver results, expanding the depth and breadth of our service offering, and growing our role within the startup community.
This of course is all made possible by my team who I proudly call “the beasts”.