Six Thoughts From the Co-Founder of a Month Old Company

     On June 14th, 2019 my co-founder and I decided to go into business. We had been approached by someone looking to start a business and wanted a website. We figured if there were people approaching us to help set up their websites – imagine how many people may be out there who are in a similar position. Now days I would argue that most established businesses have websites unless there is a specific reason for not having one. Starting TeriGrowth,LLC felt pretty natural and did not feel forced. My co-founder has technical knowledge in IT as a Server Administrator and I have experience building websites for myself over the years. So by working together we formed what I consider to be a pretty synergistic partnership. We are able to help people set up websites and after we help set them up we can maintain them, provide content updates and keep the website secure. By doing so, I believe we’ve created a good ‘Starting Point’ for whatever TeriGrowth, LLC could become over the years. My co-founder sets up the ‘back end’ of a website. ‘Back end’ includes things like; GoogleCloud Platform Infrastructure, SSL, MySQL Database, and DNS. He then passes the hosted website over to me and I start working on the ‘Front end’. ‘Front end’ is basically what you see and interact with on a website when you visit it. I’ll also speak with clients, potential clients, and think about strategy/direction of the company. Speaking of strategy, an idea popped into my head today and I’d like to share my thoughts as the Co-Founder of a month old company below. I will preface this article by saying although I am optimistic in many of my views, I am grounded in reality with my approach.

Will Our Company Survive?

     Recently we wanted to try and create our first strategic partnership with a more established company who is a little over a decade old. One of the reasons why they were hesitant to partner resonated with me – The CEO said “I’ll be brutally honest here, I don’t know if you’ll even be around in a week”. Although at the time this was a difficult pill to swallow, in hindsight it’s correct. I mean my intuition tells me the sole factor that will determine how long it will be before TeriGrowth,LLC is self sustaining is how much effort and energy we put into our company in these early and crucial days. That’s easy to say on the inside of our company, but from the outside looking in my intuition may not
hold value in everyone’s eyes. The conversation I’m speaking about happened on July 23rd, 2019 – so tomorrow on July, 30th, 2019 it will have been one week since the conversation. I’m counting this as a win in my book. But this question doesn’t even consider the broader, macro question about the direction of the industry we entered.

How long will website setup and maintenance be around?

     We don’t know what the future holds in store. I mean, people make predictions on which industries and which companies will be successful over time. But honestly from my perspective we are living in an amazing time. Think about all of the technology developments happening right now. There’s AI (Artificial intelligence) , voice, VR (virtual reality), AR (Augmented Reality), Blockchain, just to list a few. After reading about each of these, it’s easy to ask the question “what will be the role of a website as these technologies develop?” Who knows? But I will tell you, that I’ll continue spending some of my time trying to learn as much as possible about each one and trying to see how it can apply to or change what we currently do at TeriGrowth.

What industries do we want to grow into over the next 10 years?

     I value continuous learning. I think that creating a system that rewards learning about new technologies, new businesses + business models is important. I think systems focused on learning and experimenting will be helpful in the long run. But just because I believe learning about an industry or business is valuable doesn’t necessarily mean we will try to enter that industry. I will say that currently my co-founder and I have been spending some of our spare time trying to learn a programming language called Python.

What’s the most efficient way to allocate my time?

Currently the way my time is distributed today ends up looking something like this:
Sales: 20%
Marketing:10%
Customer Support: 20%
Strategy & Systems Design:20%
Experimenting: 30%
Wow, after writing that I find myself wishing there were more than 100 units in 100%. I’d say this is mostly true, but the real distribution is dynamic. It would be interesting to track my behavior and time distribution over a week or month to see how things change over time and then compare & contrast or adjust the way I spend my time accordingly. I would like to stress how important I’ve found ‘Experimenting’ to be. I am not afraid of trying something new. This Linkedin article is something new, so this article is in fact an experiment. I’ve tried a Google Ad campaign, I’ve tried new website plugins, I’ve tried Amazon web services AND Google cloud platform, I think trying new things is very important. This also ties in to Strategy & Systems Design. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline what we are currently doing and build systems so that if we brought someone completely new to the team we could teach them quickly and efficiently. I don’t think we are close to adding our first person to the team yet, but I’d rather create a system today built for new people who join in the future (if we survive)
than spend extra time teaching someone a complex system later.

Sales, Sales, Sales.

     Right now, sales are important. Growth is important. So we are trying a few different strategies. We’ve tried UpWork, Craigslist, Fiverr, and I even picked up a business directory (basically a phone book if any of you reading this remember what those are). One of my favorite ideas so far is the business directory book because I systematically started calling each of the businesses listed on the directory without a
website. So far an observation that I’ve made is that word of mouth, and calling people through the business directory has provided the most engagement. With that being said we have not put too much time and energy into social media which could be an untapped source for engagement. Sidenote: Although sales is important I’d like to take a lesson from all of the Jeff Bezos interviews I’ve watched and say that I believe customer service and the customer experience is one of the most important things, if not the most important thing in my mind.

Are there any costs or potential costs that we have not thought about yet?

     We’ve spent a lot of time going over costs and creating (from my perspective) a solid business model that allows us to provide a quality service at an affordable price. The first question we asked was ‘does this make financial sense?’ But, I don’t worry about what I do know or the costs that I do know. I try to focus on what I don’t know and try to learn as much as possible about what we could be facing soon and plan accordingly. Often, I find mistakes aren’t made on purpose they are made from lack of knowledge, lack of self awareness or stressful environments. So if I focus on trying to learn what I don’t know I may be able to avoid a mistake in the future. I believe any mistake that goes unnoticed regarding costs or potential costs is important to find as early as possible.

The List Goes on…

     When I started writing this I did not have an idea of how long I wanted it to be. And to be honest with you that are many more than 6 thoughts I meditate on and think about. When I realized this was approaching 3 pages I thought now might be a good stopping point. But, if you are reading this and if you got this far please let me know what you think. Have you recently started a company? What are some of your thoughts? Would you like to see another article like this? Let me know.

Sincerely,
McKenzie Gary
Co-Founder
TeriGrowth, LLC

This article is also available on Linkedin