Alexandre Wentzo, CEO of Casewise, shared with us the exciting news that his firm has reached a milestone most start-ups fail to achieve. The company just turned 25. Here is a thoughtful, clear set of lessons anyone can draw on to give their companies the best chance of achieving longevity. In his own words:
Dear young companies,
Well, we’ve made it!
This year, Casewise has joined the “25-years-in-business” club.
You’ve probably read that 9 out of 10 businesses fail, but we’ve beaten the odds. And we’re holding our heads high next to some pretty impressive, founded-in-the-80’s, organizations – Adobe Systems, Cisco, Electronic Arts and Autodesk to name a few.
Over 25 years we’ve grown into a company that’s helping over 3,000 clients in eight countries optimize their business operations. In fact, we’ve been in business longer than the majority of our competitors.
So, as we approach our anniversary date, we began assessing our accomplishments and experiences along the way. What have we learned over the past 25 years? And, more importantly, what pieces of advice can we offer to young companies hoping to reach the quarter-century mark?
Here’s where we netted out, and here’s to adding to this post in another 25 years!
Get Clear on Your Mission
You must be able to communicate your mission in a single sentence, and it must get heads nodding. For Casewise, it’s about helping businesses make better strategic decisions by offering a 360-degree view of your company through analyzing hard data and human behavior. It’s a mission that communicates value to our customers, but also drives our company culture: “When You Can See More, You Can Do More”
Evolve Your Execution
Your mission may stay the same over the years, but your execution must change with the times. In our case, we’ve evolved from a company that developed the first software to graphically represent business processes in the 1990s, to a collaborative enterprise architecture tool in the 2000’s, and finally, to a social, web-based communication platform that includes integrated social media tools today.
Pay Attention to the Trends
Speaking of social media, to be successful in business you must stay ahead of the trends. Read voraciously and pay attention to the tools and processes that are becoming popular in everyday life. Our latest platform (Evolve) was developed because we realized that social media and gamification tools are here to stay and that they are a great way to involve all levels of an organization in strategic planning.
The Right Product-Market Fit Takes Time
According to the American entrepreneur and investor, Marc Andreessen, product-market fit can be defined as “being in a good market, with a product that can satisfy that market.” Yet what many companies don’t realize is that finding product-market fit can take time – often between 6 to 12 months. It also takes energy and devotion to testing your idea with real people. At Casewise we continuously test new products with existing customers before launching the product to the world.
Don’t Ignore Your Biggest Asset
One of the biggest mistakes we see our clients make, is making strategic decisions solely based on data, while ignoring their biggest asset: their people. Keep in mind that there are two types of intelligence: business intelligence and emotional intelligence, and that it’s only by combining the two that you’ll make the best strategic decisions.
User Experience is Key
You may have the best tech team in the world, but your solution is only as good as the experience your customers have with it. So as soon as you can, test your products with real people, get their reactions, and use this information to improve the user experience and ultimately increase the adoption rate of your product.
And Finally, Have Fun!
Running a company can be taxing so just remember – look up once in a while, take stock of how far you have come, and make sure to reward your employees for all their hard work.