New website. New branding. New blog. New people. New process.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the bright and shiny. It’s harder to take a step back and consider your plans for the future.
“The problem with the Internet startup craze isn’t that too many people are starting companies; it’s that too many people aren’t sticking with it. That’s somewhat understandable, because there are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations. That’s when you find out who you are and what your values are.”
- Steve Jobs in Fortune
In the beginning
When Taecho started almost two years ago, my vision was to build and grow a company to take on challenges larger than any one individual could handle alone. With honesty, talent and passion as our weapons, we set out to sling code and take names.
As our client list grew, the hours began to pile up. We started shipping projects and decided it was time to hire a staff. A year later our company had tripled in size. How did we get here?
A snowball in the desert
Our focus has always been on client services. Whether the project is writing, design or development, we’re nothing without our clients.
“The TaeCho group has been unbelievably easy to work with, meeting deadlines, coming in on budget and communicating clearly throughout the process. They are easily the best engineering and design team I have ever worked with. They not only serve as a creative and dev shop, they serve as trusted advisors on technology trends and UX across mobile and web.”
- Krish Sailam of Absolute Variety, LLC
Nearly every project Taecho has ever worked on has been through a referral from a previous client. We’ve learned that if you do good work, more work will follow. Karma is an interesting concept.
Time to refocus?
You can’t talk about building for the future without a little self-evaluation. Here are three questions we like to ask ourselves each quarter:
Are we doing the right thing?
Without a doubt we’re proud of our work but it never hurts to question if the company is headed in the right direction. We review every sales lead and every project to make sure they lead toward our goals.
Is our company helping people?
Another tangible goal of ours was to have a significant impact on the world. We started locally. Last fall, we hosted an art fundraiser for two of our close friends who adopted a baby from the Ukraine. This spring, we hosted our first ever “Salsa Showdown” which was a salsa competition aimed at raising money and canned donations for the Hays County Food Bank. I feel very strongly about strengthening our community and can’t wait to make a bigger impact.
Where do we go from here?
We’ve shipped some great products over the past two years and we’ve got more on the way. We want all of the work we do to be our best effort so we can be proud of every project.
Tips for Success
Let’s walk the walk. Our best advice for success isn’t new but we’ve learned a few things along the way that have made our lives easier. Each of these tips easily deserve their own write up:
Hire the right people
I cannot say this enough. As our staff has grown we’ve gotten this right almost as much as we got it wrong. Hiring the wrong person can be toxic to any working environment, regardless of size or the age of the company. When in doubt, trust your instincts. If things aren’t working, don’t hesitate to speak up. The longer you wait to resolve problems, the more damage they can cause.
Don’t look for candidates when hiring for a new position, look for partners. Find people who share the same values as you do. Ask yourself: Can I work with this person everyday? Do they have a passion for this industry like the rest of us? There’s more to life than work, but don’t settle with the first interview that looks good. Demand the best for your company.
Teach, teach, teach
Finding that next employee can be tough but once you’ve found the one, they’ve got a lot to learn. Take the time to introduce them to new projects, clients and the company process. It will pay off in the long run. You might be surprised what you can learn from a new hire.
Document your process
No one can do what you do, at least not exactly the same way. Over the past two years we’ve developed an arsenal of preferred platforms, server deployment scripts, frameworks and many other tools.
As you work on projects, take notes about everything. Create revisions of your design files, save your baseline code, document your server configs. The next time you need it, you’ll have your process documented and available for easy access.
Do good work
Most of this articles is about how doing your best work pays off, so I’ll leave this section with a note that if you do good work it will grow beyond you. Good work lives and breathes on its own.
Your future is what you make it. For me building and growing Taecho was something I had to do and I cannot wait to see where we are 5 or 10 years from now. This is only the start of something great.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi