Since I launched my first company in 1985 I’ve started a total of six SBEs. Each company was in the B2B space selling to the Fortune 1000. In each case I closed a large order with a F1000 that was the catalyst for significant growth. And each time I went through the process I learned a bit more about how to handle the ramp-up. Here’s a sample of the progression:
Corporate Multi-Media – January 1985: Stamford, CT – In our 2nd year we grew from $215K to ~$650K on the strength of a $200,000 contract to produce a national sales meeting for MCI International. We went from 4 employees to 15 in a few months. My criteria for hiring was to put a mirror under their online slots nose, if they fogged the mirror (and had a seemingly valid driver’s license) they were hired. I was 25… What did I know?
I had a refined organizational structure called The Wagon-Wheel… very effective. Everyone reported to me. If I was on a sales call, people sat and waited for me to return (see 1986: life without cell phones). If I ran to the bathroom, a line formed outside the door. Real efficient (and a little embarrassing, I might add). It’s no wonder I regularly doubled-up with stomach cramps and employee turnover was so high.
I closed CMM in the “great recession of the late 1980′s”, spun my production department into a new multimedia company and merged with a “no-technology” 35mm slide production company with a staff of 4 artists—only one who could use a computer. Total combined sales of $500,000…
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