de Novo was recently honored as a 2017 Fastest Growing Company by the Corridor Business Journal. While excited by the recognition, I also found it ironic because it took us ten years to be considered "fast." Ten years. That's pretty slow.
Knowing that nine out of 10 of startups fail, often because of a short-lived, meteoric rise and fall, we've been strategic (and sometimes a little slow) every step of the way. So what have we done that has allowed us to grow by 2324% in ten years? Here's a quick look at a few of our strategies.
1) Partnership - de Novo not only intentionally has two people at the helm, we've surrounded ourselves with trusted partners. From the vendors we select, to the people we employ, we are careful to associate and work with people who have the same customer-centric philosophies and work ethic we do. We also see our clients as partners, developing long-term, loyal relationships that are beneficial to both parties. This has served us well resulting in consistent, quality work and defining our culture as inclusive and collaborative.
2) Pivoting - we've had to pivot a number of times. Twice due to the Cedar River (thanks Mother Nature) and more times than I can count because of any number of challenges and/or opportunities, we've pivoted our strategies, our services, our campaigns and our outlook. We embrace that change is constant and look for ways to pivot that allow us to remain relevant and continue to offer the best service possible to our clients, even if that means working from my dining room table for six months while we search for new office space. Pivoting has also meant making changes internally based on feedback. If there's something we're doing that is no longer working, we stop, recalibrate and find a way to do it better.
3) Process - when we started, the business was easy to manage. I could do all our invoicing, balance the books and handle payroll in about 3 hours a month - total. As we've grown, so has our need for process and for continual process improvement. But what does process have to do with growth? A lot, actually. Each time we have improved our processes and become more streamlined, we've also increased our profit margains. Improving processes has also proven to be a great way to engage team members as everyone is encouraged to contribute.
4) Play - every other Friday a team member volunteers to lead us in a creative session. Each one is different and designed to encourage creativity so we don't get stuck in a rut. We also host potlucks, encourage walks and take a team retreat twice a year. While on the surface, this may appear to slow down productivity, we have found it has helped us grow exponentially while keeping our company culture intact.
Like the famed tortoise who eventually won his race, de Novo approaches business with an eye on the future, continuously improving by taking the time to evaluate our projects, partnerships and processes, pivoting when necessary and playing to keep our skills sharp.
A big thank you to the Corridor Business Journal for the honor and to our employees, clients and vendors who made it possible!