Ep. #745 - Scaling Your Team During High Growth
In this episode of Startup Hustle, join Matt and Matt for Part 44 of “How to Start a Tech Company” while they discuss how to scale your team during high growth.
Covered In This Episode
With growth comes a whole new wave of problems. Startups inevitably experience a lot of new issues when they’re rapidly growing. Shifting from early-stage operations to a bigger production can become extremely chaotic. This is why it’s critical to have the right people on your side as you grow.
Join Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson as they share some tips on how to scale your team to keep up with the company’s growth. They discuss the importance of HR processes, the value of business planning, and the proper way of hiring and retaining employees.
Tune into this Startup Hustle episode with the Matts!
Missed the previous episodes? Click here to listen to the other episodes of “How to Start a Tech Company” series.
- What is startup scalability? (2:30)
- Challenges of recruitment for startups (6:10)
- Why HR matters (7:51)
- Having a flexible plan (10:16)
- Firing people creates a culture of fear (11:16)
- Changing your company culture as you grow (14:06)
- Recognizing employee loyalty (17:48)
- Key hires (19:53)
- Benefits of Outsourcing (21:42)
- Why you should offload and delegate (24:13)
- When to hire people (26:57)
- Hiring multi-skilled people (32:52)
Sometimes when the rocket ship is flying, you’re just trying to hang on and hire people to put butts in seats and take phone calls and do work right. And that’s when it’s a lot of fun. But it also can be really crazy.Matt DeCoursey
You just can’t do everything. You don’t scale. And that’s where it’s so important to bring in other leaders that you can hand things off to that you can trust. And ultimately, it’s all about trust.Matt Watson
You’re not going to be perfect with your decision making, both with hiring and scaling everything. But I think that’s where the flexibility comes in. Give yourself some room in the margins.Matt DeCoursey
When you’re an early stage, you really want to value utility players, the people that can wear a lot of hats. They can do a lot of things.Matt Watson
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back, back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt. What’s going on man?
Matt Watson 0:08
I’m trying to scale. Time to scale this baby.
Matt DeCoursey 0:13
I know scales, like a reptile.
Matt Watson 0:16
Oh, you might want to check with the doctor on that one.
Matt DeCoursey 0:21
Everyone I talked to says that you should be concerned with scaling. And scalability is the key to your growth and your future. So I’m trying to get scales. It’s not going well, it’s hard. That must be why everyone’s talking about it. We’re gonna talk about scaling your team. So getting your team to grow scales during high growth periods. Right.
Matt Watson 0:47
Yeah, I guess that would make them stronger, and less vulnerable. Yeah, that would be good.
Matt DeCoursey 0:54
I’m clearly way off base then. While I might not be right about what scalability is, one thing I am right about is letting you know that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Chatdesk. So does your business receive a high volume of phone calls? You can deflect over 10% of your phone calls to Facebook Messenger and save up to 80% of your support costs using Chatdesk. We have a special offer for Startup Hustle listeners, it’s free for a limited time. Learn more at chat desk.com/shift. Chat desk is scalable, and not in the reptilian way. It’s growing big and strong. Overall, Matt, as we dive into this episode, and yes, I do know what scalability is. And it is not turning yourself into a reptilian anything.
Matt Watson 1:43
Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a second. And I would love to have scales on the bottom of my feet for stepping on Legos.
Matt DeCoursey 1:50
Oh, man. That’s pretty much easily the most painful thing that you can step on, like nails, like you can drive a nail through your foot. And I think it’s less painful than stepping on a Lego. So when you think about scalability, in terms of startups, I mean, what comes to mind?
Matt Watson 2:14
it’s usually about hiring people, right? And hiring people is hard. And I’m sure we’re gonna talk all about it today. But that’s the big thing, right? And go through that Full Scale every day, right? Hiring people, hiring developers. And sometimes when the rocket ship is flying, you’re just trying to hang on and hire people to put butts in seats and take phone calls and do work right sometimes. And that’s when it’s a lot of fun. But it also can be really crazy.
Matt DeCoursey 2:41
You know, we’ve had, you know, some of the past episodes. And here we are, in part 44 of 52 of our series about how to start a tech company, which in order to keep it real, we’re going to deliver late and over budget. So nothing could have been more realistic than that. But in the past episodes, we talked about, you know, should you pivot, how to not grow out of business, creating a winning culture, when you should fire your clients or users and how to not get stuck in the middle. Now, in this in this particular instance of the series. We’re talking about people, not just software, and there’s other episodes, you can look through our feed. We’ve talked, we’ve engaged this subject in this topic, quite a bit. And now but people, people aren’t really scalable. In terms like when you think about the definition of scalability, there’s some conflicts with people feeling scalable. What are your thoughts on that?
Matt Watson 3:40
Well, the biggest issue there is process, right? It’s okay, we can hire more salespeople. But what is the process? Right? How do we get leads? How do we get more leads? What software do we use to track the leads? What is the process we use to follow up with them? Like, all that kind of stuff, when you’re when you’re in your early stages you just don’t know. Or the way you were doing? It was great when you had one salesperson. But now when you have five or 10? Yeah, just the processes and the tools and all of that, like you just can’t keep track.
Matt DeCoursey 4:10
And this is a key limiting factor. In the end, what keeps a lot of businesses small or stagnant. Now the actual definition according to Investopedia. There you go. Investopedia. Shout out scalability describes the system’s capability to as adapt easily to increased workloads or market demands. A scalable firm is able to benefit from economies of scale and can quickly ramp up production. Now we’ll use our own business Full Scale go to full scale.io To learn more, when it comes to scalability. And I feel like I’m a bit of an expert at this subject because we’ve learned at Full Scale that people are not are not easily scalable. I guess technically you can scale your team and you’re thinking why is this episode titled scaling your team you can but it’s a lot more difficult with people, because you know, you gotta go out and you got to you have to recruit them, assess them, hopefully retain the folks you already have. So you’re not just replacing them. And then you need to keep them employed. And there’s much like you mentioned now, there’s processes and stuff like that it takes time. And then in the, in this particular moment in time, there are more jobs out there than people applying for them. So that’s making things even more comp, complex and complicated.
Matt Watson 5:30
Well, so part of the problem is you’ve got to hire people that you are not necessarily proficient at knowing how to hire right? You’re like, I need to hire a Director of Marketing. How do I know if they’re good at marketing? I don’t know. I don’t know crap about marketing. I just started this company a couple months ago. And now I need to hire I guess a marketing person, how do I know I’m hiring a good one, right? Like, you’re gonna get into a lot of that with a lot of different roles you need to hire. And a lot of the problem is also just not understanding the type of people you need, how the teams should be. Organized, right? Like you’re hiring a sales team, do you need STRS? Or account executives or executive salespeople? People that just do demos? Like, you know, what is the structure of that? Who do you know? What are the different roles? How many people that you hire? Like, if you don’t have experience with this, you may have no clue. You don’t even know what SDR means, right? And so when you’re first starting out, you there’s, that’s a lot of the problem is just trying to figure out what do we need to hire? And then how do I know if I can even interview these people and know that they’re good at their job? Right?
Matt DeCoursey 6:33
Yep. And that shift from startup to a high growth company also presents Human Resources challenges. If you only have four employees, you probably you don’t have a human resources department or team and
Matt Watson 6:49
to never have a company so big, it needs an HR department.
Matt DeCoursey 6:54
Too late, bro, you’ve already own half of one that has a very early, large Human Resources team. And you talk
Matt Watson 7:04
about getting in trouble with HR, though. No, you still do. Oh, shit.
Matt DeCoursey 7:11
Yeah, it’s always looming, man. It is always right. And, you know, I understand. But, you know, some of this too, is also you know, leadership. You know, you have HR, you have leadership, you have just different things that I mean, quite honestly can spin out of control and a real hurry. And, and some of the processes or things that the glue that can hold rapidly growing companies together. It can come on done pretty quickly, because you know, what, you’re trying to put out a company, a handbook, a manual or whatever. And, I mean, it can be 99%. Great. And there can be 1% of it. And there that may offend your whole entire company and create a revolt internally.
Matt Watson 7:59
Oh, yeah. We’ve had that happen before, right. Yeah, I mean, slightest mistake, and
Matt DeCoursey 8:07
you’re trying to move quickly. Yeah, you’re trying to do cooking, you want to let people do your jobs. I mean, I’ll share it was three. And it was, I mean, our company had barely started. And we had, we had put someone, basically what ended up we had and approved an employee handbook, and had a local leader that added a couple other lines into it afterward and put it out. And of course, because Murphy’s law dictates that the worst shit will happen at the, at the worst possible time. I was going on my first vacation and several years, and started getting messages that were basically like, What the fuck, and I had to stop what I was doing. I was somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma at that point at a McDonald’s and I remember sitting down and having to pull my laptop out and basically send out a message I was like, so you got an employee handbook. That was the wrong one, which makes you look like an idiot, man. But yeah,
Matt Watson 9:05
but that’s the thing. Like when you’re an early stage, there’s, there’s, it’s like, you don’t know what you don’t know. And you have to spend all your time dealing with all these things that you would never think about, right? Which can be HR related hiring process procedure tools, like and a lot of it’s not super productive stuff, right in the grand scheme of things as far as like selling your product and, and stuff like that. But it’s all things that are super critical to hiring people and training people, which, which you ultimately need to do to scale.
Matt DeCoursey 9:36
Yeah, and now there’s a couple of things that come with this. I think you got to have a flexible plan. Just you know, part of this is you if you’re really growing quickly, and you’ve got the resources you need, you have a whole lot of roles that need to be filled. And until you get people showing up that you like that would think that you think are a good fit, it’s sometimes impossible to slot The imaginary applicant into those roles. Like, imagine you have 10 things that need to be filled in some things cross over departments, you know, and you get out at the same time, you still have to be picky because I think that when you get, you get all hasty and just start like hiring everybody that walks up to the door with an application in their hand is when things get pretty shitty.
Matt Watson 10:24
Well, and that’s why they always say that you hire slow and fire fast, right? Like hiring people is always hard to do.
Matt DeCoursey 10:36
I worked at a company wants and I swear their hiring plan was to hire 10 people hoping one that would work out hoping one person would actually be a good fit. And I gotta be honest, it created a really crappy culture, because people were getting fired all the time, you know, and it was like, it creates this culture of fear, like, you know, and I don’t Did you see? What’s this headline that’s hit. Recently, the batter.com brings 900 people onto a zoom call to tell them all that they’re fired and along the way accuses 250 of them with basically stealing, because they were only working two hours a day remote anyway. And now in a follow up to that news, I read today that that guy that better.com board, put that told that guy to go take some time off to think about life. They have to hire a crisis management team, look at all the shitty PR they’re getting. And, you know, here’s the thing is like me, dude, 900 people, like, come on. You know, that’s, I mean, the the I think there’s something wrong in your planning and execution process. I mean, that’s not that big of a company.
Matt Watson 11:49
Hard to have a 901 on one meetings to to fire 900 people, like there’s just no easy way to do that, I guess.
Matt DeCoursey 11:58
Well, yes, but you can. I mean, there’s other ways to do it. By the way, I worked for another company, at one point that if you got fired, you just got a fax, oh, God, you would just get a fax, it was funny, because people just started. This was back. This is back in the day, you know, and people had fax machines still. And I and I would talk to my colleagues and they would I’d be like, I’d be like, Hey, I get fax that over there like, Fuck no, man, I’m not plugging that thing in. You know, like, that was their that was their own retention plan. So now, the reason, the reason that this is important, because all right, so we use this example where 900 people got fired under a zoom call, I will tell you that I guarantee you another 900 People quit in the wake of that, or will
Matt Watson 12:46
well, and that’s the problem with a small company, right? Like he talked about how hard it is to hire people. But retention is a really big deal. And when you’ve only got a small amount of employees, if you’ve got somebody who’s not pulling their weight, it’s really, really obvious, right? And when people leave, I mean, you have this high risk of, you know, there being collateral damage, right. And we’ve seen this before, and in our own companies where it happens, right, you get one or two people leave and next thing, you know, you get some other people that leave and and you got to stop the bleeding sometimes do like it’s a difficult place to be in, but it’s part of business.
Matt DeCoursey 13:26
Yeah, and that’s another thing too, is you’re if you’re going to grow rapidly, your culture does have to change a little bit. I mean, it, it variably well, because the as we’ve grown at Full Scale, we’ve we’ve experienced this firsthand, because you know, what we were able to do allow or I mean on Sundays put up with was way different when we had 15 employees as opposed to 200 plus, and in overall companies that don’t have any structure at all around that, that really fret that’ll frustrate your good employees. And I’ve been, I was actually talking to you about this just before we hit record, and we’re talking about, you know, all the work that we’re doing, we have a really high employee retention rate at Full Scale and something we’re really proud of, but you know, there’s a lot of work that goes into that. And there’s your culture is very difficult to change and, and like that, it doesn’t work like that. And, you know, that was one of the things you use that better.com example that the article I was reading was, had interviewed some of their employees and they were expressing doubt and the company’s ability to change toxic culture quickly. So these are these are things that are very hard to reverse, and it’s just really, it’s hard to get the stink out. And you know, it’s a pretty well known fact that nothing will piss off your great employees more than watching you have ultimate tolerance for the people that suck.
Matt Watson 14:48
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you know, LeBron James does not want to play on a team with a bunch of D list players right like that people want to want to be With other top performers, and there’s nothing more frustrating than working with other employees that are terrible at their job, and then you got to run around and clean up their work and deal with all their bullshit.
Matt DeCoursey 15:12
Now you have solutions for scalability that can help in different tools. And that’s seems like a good time to ask if, you know, are you looking to reduce the number of phone calls and voicemails coming into your business and lower your customer support costs, you are cast now, our friends over at chat desk will enable you to shift your calls to messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, you can schedule a demo and check out the discount. They’re offering Startup Hustle, Startup Hustle listeners by visiting the link in the show notes or head over to our partner page, which is startup hustle.com, forward slash partners, you get a link to chat desk either way. Now, this is something that so what were we talking about before we recorded we were talking about scalable skills, training platforms and stuff like that, to try to keep our employees engaged and feel like they’re moving? They’re moving forward. So I mean, the part of having the bigger company, you know, retention is more important that it’s, they say it’s cheaper to keep the clients you have them go find new ones, it’s the same thing for employees. And, you know, so with that, you just, you know, for us, like we’re planning on, how do we continue to well, we want our employees to know that we’re investing in their future and their skills, and that they we don’t want them to feel stagnant. And, you know, that’s, that’s part of preparing for setting the tone for growth. And, you know, setting that tone is important. And, Matt, what’s the one thing you say that people, they always want to know? If we’re winning or losing?
Matt Watson 16:45
Yep. Yep, absolutely. I mean, usually, when you’re scaling and hiring a lot of people, it’s an exciting time, right? Like, that’s always a really positive, really positive thing. You know, we’re on the other on the other end of the spectrum, when you’ve got employees leaving, and you don’t backfill them, and you’re not hiring anybody? Like, that’s the total opposite, like, oh, wow, I
Matt DeCoursey 17:08
got more work to do. Yeah, it’s not a good was the cavalry coming? So yeah, another thing when it comes to setting the growth of your team is, and we were talking about this, as well as recognizing loyalty, because, and there’s a, there’s a whole packet of, of wealth that you can get from this. So, you know, if you’ve had, if you have a company, where you’ve had a bunch of people I was visiting with a friend of mine the other day, who has had, he has has two dozen employees, and they haven’t had anybody quit for over five years. Oh, geez. And I That’s amazing, right? That’s crazy. I know. And I mean, it’s something that they’re very proud of, and it helps them bring in new people, or just kind of demonstrate that they know what they’re doing. You know, and I mean, that’s now eventually someone’s gonna quit, there’s one thing I can guarantee you is that your employees will not work for you forever, because either you will sell the company, you will quit, they will quit, or someone’s gonna die. There’s no eternal employment agreement. So, you know, I think one of the things too, as you grow is, is the establishing leaders, which is tough, because I think a lot of times, leaders are emerge organically. And I think that, you know, we see this with programmers a lot people like, oh, this person has a lot of skill, we should make them the leader of the team.
Matt Watson 18:38
Yeah, they’ve been wanting to go in urging people Yeah, doesn’t mean there couldn’t be judging people either. Or any, it’s like a, it’s like a good salesperson, usually is probably a really bad sales manager, right? Like, they’re, they’re just different personalities, a lot of times, because you’re good at doing the work does not mean you’re good at managing people who do the work.
Matt DeCoursey 18:59
Well, that doesn’t mean you want to share a salesperson as your leader either, because then they’ll struggle to gain the respect of the other salespeople. Salespeople are a different subject. They’re subject, they’re there, they’re weird.
Matt Watson 19:13
The hardest part here that’s related to this is hiring key managers, executives and stuff to join the team, right? Like you start out, you’re like, oh, we need to hire a CTO or a CMO or C O or whatever, right? A VP of this or whatever titles you want to use. And those key hires can be so key to the whole business, that it literally could be the success or failure of hiring the right person to come in and take over part of the business that is, you know, just not being done correctly, or nobody has time for it. Nobody knows how to do whatever it is. And those are absolutely some of the most important moments and hires at an early stage, especially when you’re trying to scale is getting the right person to come in and help lead part of the business.
Matt DeCoursey 19:59
And that’s the easier said than done? Yes, there’s
Matt Watson 20:04
Yeah, I mean, on the stack fi side, we had a couple of people we hired that were absolutely amazing. And we had a couple people we hired that just were not very good. We heard one guy that we brought in as like a VP C level, person. But when we told them when we hired them, like, Dude, you don’t have like a team that works for you, you have to do the strategy, and you have to, like, execute and do all the work. But he was just a strategy person, he wasn’t really good at execution of the work. And that that’s that’s stuff you have to look out for when you’re growing is like my hiring somebody that is like a high level strategic thought leader, or hiring the person who’s actually going to like, do the work that needs to be done. And a lot of times you need both. And that’s where it’s really difficult. Like, you can’t afford to hire a team of five people for marketing to do all the things you need one person who can do all of it. And that’s a lot harder to find.
Matt DeCoursey 21:00
It’s chicken and egg stuff too.
Matt Watson 21:02
Well, and I think this brings up a good a good time to to talk about, a lot of times, you need to consider just outsourcing a lot of these things, right? Like, just like Full Scale is really successful at what we do and helping people scale because it’s hard to find developers to same thing with hiring, marketing, or salespeople or all sorts of things. There are outsourced solutions to help with some of this, like we talked about chat desk, right, like chat desk is a is a potential solution to help with support. Right. But for a lot of different roles. There are different consultants, contractors, part time people that can come in and help do various things, to help you scale up a lot faster.
Matt DeCoursey 21:40
Yeah, and without that’s also tricky as well, because I mean, I’ve had good experiences and bad ones with those kinds of folks as well. You know, it’s like, yeah, I mean, really, it’s just, yeah, it’s about I mean, this is all a vetting process. And you know, like Matt was mentioned, there’s the be slow to hire quick to fire. there’s like a zillion people, there’s, there’s a whole lot of there’s a whole lot of people out there that claim to do things great. And, but you never know until they show up to do it. And that’s really one of the things I just really learned is that is you know, you can be, you can get pretty precise with some of this stuff. But that’s what’s tough when you haven’t done it before. I mean, that, you know, you mentioned the Full Scale example. There’s smart people all over the world, and people want to hire offshore talent, but they don’t know how to identify it, and they don’t know how to manage it. They don’t know how to keep, you know, keep trust it and keep up with it. And, you know, that’s, I mean, that’s, like our whole business revolves around that. And, you know, why are we good at it? Well, we’ve had 1000s of applicants and 1000s of assessments and interviews. And you know, you don’t get that luxury, most of the time when you’re a rapidly growing company. And one of the things it’s important to remember, if you are growing rapidly, is that if you want to keep growing rapidly, sometimes you got to stop what you’re doing and get the you know, get the right people processes, purchase the right products and tools and stuff like that, because it’s very, very easy. I know you’ve done it, now I’ve done it, you’re like, I don’t have time to stop and do this. Well, until you until you can offload some of that you’re just gonna have you’re gonna end up doing it and doing it and doing it. And one thing I can guarantee you that’s not scalable, is you as an individual.
Matt Watson 23:33
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the hardest things is, you know, as a founder, entrepreneur, entrepreneur, you’re probably really good at you know, one or two things. But, you know, I always joked I was the chief cook and bottle washer, right? You also do whatever needs to be done, and you just can’t do everything. You can’t you don’t scale, right. And that’s where it’s so important to as soon as you can afford to bring in other leaders that you can hand things off to that you can trust. And ultimately, it’s all about trust.
Matt DeCoursey 24:04
And here’s another thing you’re gonna have to be committed to is when you hire these people, they can’t just show up and you’re like, hey, figure it out. Let me know how it goes. Yeah, like, I mean, that’s it for me, like at Full Scale, I do a lot of our sales stuff. And that’s the thing that’s some challenge to me and I was talking to our CEO about it as we want to grow, build and grow our sales team now there’s a couple things is you know, sometimes things that we believe that always need to be done by people don’t we’ve made a pretty significant investment into our management platform, to do the simple things that we don’t feel like we need a human to interface with like, Hey, do you want to add this person to your team? Yes or no? Click here. You know, not like having to pick up a call pick up a phone and call someone to just have them click a button for you.
As we get towards the end of the show here, I want to remind you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Chatdesk. They can help you reduce the number of phone calls coming into your business by over 10% By shifting calls over to Facebook Messenger and other channels. You can get started in just a few minutes and the service is free for a limited time. Be sure to check it out chatdesk.com/shift. Chat desk.com link is in the show notes.
We’re not going to try to say it three times fast. No one can do that, man. No, I did it. So that’s what I’m gonna spend. I’m gonna spend my whole holiday season learning how to say, chat desk.com forward slash shift chat desk.com forward slash shift chat. desk.com forward slash shift.
Matt Watson 25:46
Good job. Good job. Good job.
Matt DeCoursey 25:48
Do I get the job? Yep, you’re hired? Oh,
Matt Watson 25:51
do it. We have great long hours, low pay hard work.
Matt DeCoursey 25:58
Very low. No recognition.
Matt Watson 26:01
No PTO time.
Matt DeCoursey 26:03
Almost non exempt. Definitely
Matt Watson 26:05
though. You don’t have to wear pants,
Matt DeCoursey 26:08
you can work at home, you can work at home. So you’ll be alright. That’s what everyone wants. So the one thing that we haven’t but that’s that’s a good point now, like, go ahead. Go ahead, please. Sorry, I’m
Matt Watson 26:17
gonna say the one the one thing we haven’t talked about yet, I think we should definitely talk about is when to hire people. And that’s one of the hardest things and we take like the VinSolutions, you know, era of mine, we were growing so fast. And we needed a lot of support people, like we needed support people to come in and help implement new accounts and support them and all that. But the problem is, it takes like six months to frickin train somebody. So we’re always way, way, way behind. And we couldn’t afford to hire people, train them. And there’s really not a lot of work for them to do you know, before we sign up the customers, right? So it, that’s always the struggle to is, is like when do you hire people? When do you bring these people on? I mean, it’s no different. You know, you talk about a company that’s heavily driven on the sell side, right? Like, you’ve got to have the number of leads the number of qualified leads before you hire the salespeople. But to some sense, it’s like that balancing act of like, well, I need to hire the salespeople first or hire a marketing like, which of these pieces come first? And then when do I scale it? When do I hire them? Like, it’s all very tricky on like, when, like, when to hire these people?
Matt DeCoursey 27:28
Well, and that’s, you know, that’s the it’s a constant chicken and egg situation. And you know, you met it’s, well, us, we love the real life examples. So, you know, we, you talked about sales, and all of a sudden, we had this big surge and interest and what we did at Full Scale, and you know, a whole lot of, and we sold everything, we had all the people that that provide services were put under contract, and we were like, Well, shit, why don’t want to hire a salesperson now? Because they don’t have anything to sell. Yeah. And that’s chicken and egg. And it’s kind of like you mentioned, it’s like, do you get the leads without the marketing team? Or did you know and and then some of that is also how long is it going to take to actually see if you get any results, because some of this stuff that you have to scale into and grow into is an ongoing science experiment that’s never gonna go away?
Matt Watson 28:20
Well, and the worst thing is, you’re in your early stage, you’re like, Okay, we raised money we’ve got let’s say, it’s $50,000 or whatever, we got the budget to go hire a salesperson. But if they don’t sell a whole bunch of shit in the next three months, we are screwed. Right? Like they don’t have a job anymore. Like they gotta pay for themselves, right? Like that’s where this is really hard to win. You’re really really early and you’re like experimenting, right? Like trying to get your first salesperson and stuff like that
Matt DeCoursey 28:47
is maybe the best advice to go get one of those toy magic eight balls and then you just ask it reply hazy asked again. Should I hire a salesperson just says yes, like different answers on the magic eight ball, you know, it’s probably looked that up.
Matt Watson 29:09
Right. You know, we had this problem at Syfy two were very early on we hired a like VP of Sales like kind of enterprise salesperson we didn’t have shit to sell the product was ready to sell right like Yeah, so the when part of this can be very difficult to you know, Master and it’s a fun problem.
Matt DeCoursey 29:33
Do you know this the one thing that I want everyone to come away from this episode knowing that I did not know there are actually 20 possible answers on the toy magic eight ball. Never thought was that many? That’s about how many outcomes you can have for different decisions. But you know, it’s uh, here you go. Should I should I hire a salesperson signs point to yes. There we go. very doubtful. Yeah, yeah. So Oh, at one point, and I wish I tracked this a little better. I actually had one on my desk, and I used to, like, ask it for fun to see how an outcome would occur compared to my actual decision. It was fairly accurate, but I wasn’t. So we were right on par with about being right about half the time now, in regards to the timing. I mean, I think some of that, and this is, this is a very unscientific answer. Some of it’s a feel thing, you know, like, do you feel like it’s the right time, like, the company is evolving, and the sales are evolving, and you’ve grown into it? I mean, one of the things that, you know, similar to, you know, when do you go find a bigger space to work in, you rule of thumb is usually when you’re bursting out of the one that you’re already in. And, you know, rather than when you’re halfway fall, now, we’ve learned a little about that as well, we took a whole entire floor of an office building for Full Scale, 10,000 square feet, and then a pandemic came, and no one’s ever been in it, but we sure ship pay for it, you know, and, I mean, so sometimes these things do backfire, and kick a little dust in your face. Now, at the same time, at given the climate prior to that, if we hadn’t done that, we could have created a whole nother set of problems. So I mean, you’re not going to be perfect with your decision making, both with hiring with scaling with everything, but I think that’s where the flexibility comes in, you know, give yourself some room in the margins. You know, I mean, I was recently, my co author from the real estate guy, just successful music career was here playing a rock show and Kansas City, and I was telling him, I was like, how do you stay on time for all this, he said, we give ourselves buffers, and that’s room in the margin. Because not, things aren’t always going to go exactly the way that you want, and there’s gonna be changes. So I mean, if it’s, I don’t like the scenario where you’re like, we got to hire the salesperson. But if that person doesn’t sell anything, after three months, we’re broke. I don’t think that’s the right time to hire a salesperson, I think that’s where you as the founder, got to put on your big boy or big girl pants and go out and sell some shit. You know, like, and that’s part of it, that’s what you signed up for when you started the business is sometimes you like Matt’s the bottle washer,
Matt Watson 32:12
Whatever you got to do cook? Well, and I think that that goes along the lines of something else we should definitely mention is like, when you’re an early stage, you really want to value utility players, to people that can wear a lot of hats, they can do a lot of things. You’re not like, I hired you, and this is your exact job description. And every time you ask them to do something, they’re like, can I see my job description? And what’s my job title, and is this in my job description, right, you need people that are flexible to do whatever that is that needs to be done. And that they will adapt and overcome on a weekly basis as things move and shift around, right? And those people are super valuable. Early on in the business.
Matt DeCoursey 32:55
I talked to our process our prospective clients and existing clients and Full Scale about this a lot that you have, you get a Swiss army knife or a sword. And the Swiss Army knife like in an early stage you want like for software developers, you want something that can do a lot of different stuff. So it’s a Swiss army knife. Now, when it’s time to truly go to battle, you don’t want to be on the front line, ready to fight the opponent and you’re holding a Swiss army knife. You want the sword you, that’s the specialist. That’s the people that are like that’s like a CFO or something, you know, in certain situations or conditions where you have enough work and focus for one person. They’re like, I am aces at this. Now, when you get back to camp after the battle, you don’t want to be trying to open your can of beans with that sword. So you kind of have a mix of both of them. But yeah, in early stages, you definitely need people that are flexible. And I hate that job description talk, man. It’s like, this is outside of my job description. I’m like, where the fuck do you work because it’s not at my company, if you’re gonna say shit like that.
Matt Watson 33:56
Every startup that’s ever existed, the first software developer that was hired is also in charge in charge of the mail server, the phone system, and a bunch of other things.
Matt DeCoursey 34:08
I have a call about that the other day. And it was and I told the guy said, you know, I think you’re probably a little too early in the in, in your, in your business lifecycle to be working with Full Scale. And he said, Well, why is that I said, you don’t even have a domain yet. And the people that work for us that you’re going to hire aren’t going to want to set up every single thing. That’s not what they do. They write code, they build software and programs. They’re not, you know, like, hey,
Matt Watson 34:35
And also your part-time IT guy, right?
Matt DeCoursey 34:39
And that, you know, I mean, I mean, could they do it? Sure but that’s not what they signed up for us to do. And if you haven’t done any of that, then call us back when you have because that’s not really what we do.
Matt Watson 34:53
One of the perfect examples though of an early-stage company and what happens when you get the chief operating officer in charge of accounting. Like, they’re paying bills, whatever needs to be done, right? Like we don’t have a full-time accounts receivable department or a full-time accounts payable department or controller or whatever it is to ever needto do it.
Matt DeCoursey 35:16
It’s back to those old commercial for some company where the phone rings and the guy picks it up. And he’s like so and so.com. And can I talk to accounting? He’s like, sure, hold accounting. Let me talk to shipping and receiving. Hang on. Yeah, the warehouse. Okay, Matt.
So as we close this episode out, I’m going to create something new here. I’m gonna let you ask one question to the magic map ball. And I’ll give you an answer based on 20 different responses. So we’re no founders freestyle today. Anything? What do you got out? And I’m gonna and of course, my machine learning algorithm will determine the correct answer, based on one of 20 outcomes.
Matt Watson 36:00
I think I’m gonna have to go with should I buy more Bitcoin?
Matt DeCoursey 36:09
Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop cannot predict now. You go, there you go. I will give you one more.
Matt Watson 36:20
Okay, should I hire another salesperson?
Matt DeCoursey 36:25
My sources say no,
Matt Watson 36:27
No. All right.
Matt DeCoursey 36:29
I like how the magic eight ball is very personal in that regard. It’s the answers to the magic eight ball or it has 10, affirmative five, neutral five, non-committal and five negatives. So it is certain as it is decidedly so without a doubt. You may rely on it as I see it. Yes. Most likely outlook good. Yes. And signs point to yes. Or you have negative ones like don’t count on it. My reply is no, my sources say no, outlook is not good. I’m very doubtful overall. The math of the magic eight ball says that 50% of the time, it should give you an affirmative answer
Matt Watson 37:12
Every time. I’m going to get one of those.
Matt DeCoursey 37:15
Well, you did. On some levels that could probably be about as accurate as most people because you just don’t know.
Matt Watson 37:26
I just want something. When I asked my wife what she wants for dinner that it just gives an answer.
Matt DeCoursey 37:34
Dude, you and me both. And now we’re on to something. This is a problem we’re solving Matt. You know, my wife would just quit second guessing the fucking thing anyway. They would be like, do you want noodles with chicken? And she’d be like, I don’t think so. Are there different kinds? How is that cooked? It’s noodles, man. All right, man. I’ll catch up with you a part 45
Matt Watson 38:05
All right. See you