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 Jennifer Mellon, Co-founder and President at Trustify:
What does your company do?
Trustify is the first technology platform to connect individuals and businesses across the United States to a network of licensed, vetted private investigators. We provide affordable, confidential, on-demand access to experienced professional investigators – without the large retainers charged by most traditional private investigation agencies. Our investigators work on cases ranging from finding missing persons and birth parents to cybercrime on the dark web and in-depth background checks for hiring. We are headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and work with more than 8,000 investigators across the United States. We have been in business since 2015.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the co-founder and president at Trustify. I love being a female founder in technology. I enjoy building a cohesive culture by identifying and cultivating leaders at our company. Most of all, I love building a company with an incredible team, knowing that we are making a real difference in the lives of our customers every day. That’s especially true when it comes to our pro-bono work – from finding and reuniting missing persons with their loved ones to locating birth parents and relatives, even helping protect victims of domestic violence. These types of cases can be difficult, but working on them is the most gratifying part of our business.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
We can’t hire fast enough, and that’s been a challenge for everyone on our team. Scaling effectively is incredibly important for a growing company. We’re currently working to grow our business for consumer and business clients, build the products our customers want and focus on research and development into new investigative technologies. Keeping up with the pace of growth and expansion and taking the time to find the right people can be difficult.
Customer education is also a big challenge for us. When people think of private investigators, their thinking is often limited to background checks and stakeouts. Investigative work does often involve in-depth research and surveillance. But we can do so many things people don’t realize we can do, like find birth parents for adoptees, investigate fraudulent and damaging reviews on websites like Yelp, and even conduct deep web searches.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Early in my career, I built businesses with a risk-adverse mentality. More than a decade, three businesses and five kids later, I’ve learned that fear is just a mindset. It’s much scarier to pursue a new business or new idea when you have children and a family depending on you to succeed. But if I let that fear win or deter me, I would have never taken the risk of being both a mother and an entrepreneur. By testing new ideas others may have thought were crazy and putting the fear of taking risks behind me, our business has grown. We’ve achieved that growth and success because we weren’t afraid to go all in. I’ve since convinced myself that failing is not an option; there is no plan B. I simply have to succeed.