Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Chris Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO at Jibestream:
What does your company do?
Our company provides indoor mapping solutions for businesses and facilities with complex indoor spaces. We help customers (like the US Army, the Pentagon, Kaleida Health, Westfield and GGP Malls) solve really complex issues when it comes to processing information about their indoor spaces. Our platform is driven by data layers and the IoT, enabling a range of indoor location use cases from wayfinding and navigation to asset tracking, data visualization and beyond. Simply put, we put maps into apps. We are headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and have been in business since 2009.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I'm the Co-Founder and CEO of Jibestream. There are several things I love about the role and they all center around problem solving. Big-problem solving requires great people and this is something that I am grateful for, as I am surrounded by brilliant, diverse and wonderful people. Fundamentally, we solve critical issues using maps for some of the largest buildings in the world - there are some tough problems to solve. In order to provide solutions that work, our team is required to do a lot of collaboration, both internally and with our clients, and this is where I see myself and our team really engaged. As an entrepreneur, I also really enjoy the challenge of building a successful business in a world that is constantly changing. There are times that I wish it could be easier but at the end of the day, it's very fulfilling on many levels.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
The biggest challenge to our business right now is cash and people. As an enterprise company that has raised very little outside capital, there is always a balance of ensuring you run the business responsibly and investing in growth at the right pace. Jibestream has been going for 9 years and just now are we seeing the external market conditions ready for a major capital investment to produce the returns that I (and VCs) would expect. The second challenge is finding the people you need to grow your business. As a high-growth business with changing needs, it's never easy finding the right people for the business as you need them. It's a very competitive talent market in tech, which is why we spend a lot of time focused on culture and hiring the right people. After all, great people bring great people.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I would advise myself to start the networking process early on. Peer groups and CEO roundtables have been invaluable as an opportunity for me to meet with other CEO's in similar growth stages. I knew that being an entrepreneur and successfully growing my startup would be a challenge, but what I really wasn't prepared for was how complex other considerations around co-founders, investors, staff and operations could be. I would definitely advise myself to read 'The Hard Things about the Hard Things' by Ben Horowitz which provides a lot of great insights into what goes on in a high-growth startup. Finally, I would tell myself to prioritize diversity. Diversity within our organization has proven to have a tremendous impact to both our culture and success - it's much harder to get this right in year 3 than it is on day 1.