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 Colin Earl, Founder and CEO at Agiloft:
What does your company do?
Agiloft is a maker of code-free business applications. Popular applications are contract management, IT services and business process automation. Our clients run the gamut from Fortune 50 companies like Roche, Chevron and AT&T to public sector such as USAF, Cal Poly to startups like Hyperloop and Shopify. Our platform enables Our unique pre-built and custom applications to be tailored to a company's exact needs without writing custom code, so deployment times and costs are a fraction of those required for other systems.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
As CEO, my job is to communicate the company’s vision and mission and put the systems in place to empower each of our employees to achieve that mission. For example, a lot of companies talk about putting their customers at the center of everything they do. We actually back that up by providing an unconditional satisfaction guarantee on both software license and implementation services. This is unique in the enterprise software industry and ensures that the interest of everyone in the company is aligned with that of the customer. When a new customer is successfully implemented, all employees get a sales commission, not just the Sales team. We are building the business for the long term and doing the things the right way brings me a lot of satisfaction.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Our biggest challenges are those associated with a rapidly growing business. Hiring in Silicon Valley is always tough. From a strategy perspective, we’re in the rare position in Silicon Valley of not having taken any VC funding. We’re also one of the few fast-growing SaaS companies that is profitable. The challenge for us is making the right decisions around scaling the company. Is now the right time for an investment not just of capital, but of expertise in managing growth? If so, who are the right investors? If we do embark on this path, how will the company’s culture be affected? If we continue to go forward organically, are we limiting our growth and the potential of our employees?
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
If I were to offer advice to a younger version of myself, I would say: don’t doubt in your vision, but be decisive and act fast. Companies today are fed up with spending months to implement enterprise systems or make changes to them, and the only way to fix this is by eliminating the need for custom coding. The fact that no else thinks it can be done doesn't mean you are crazy, it just means that you are first. Push yourself to pursue your vision, no matter how risky.