Whew – guys, D&T is in the INC 500 / 5000 fastest growing companies.
Not just “in” the grouping, but we’re ranked #382 overall. #40 in our category – IT Services
Not bad for a few guys from the Chicagoland area, eh?
So what’s the secret to our fast growth?
Well, seriously, there’s a few clues. When Dom and I paused to reflect on the core reasons for success, we realized that it came from a lot of wrong-minded decisions early-on.
1.) We never thought ourselves as a start-up, we always thought ourselves as a small business
Start-ups are organized experiments of a theoretical businesses or products. If the experiments produce a successful product or business model, you have a winner. Oftentimes, it’s a null result.
DOM & TOM, in contrast, has more in common with a pizzeria or law firm – we offer services to clients in exchange for payments. It’s a model that’s been working since people were swapping livestock. Yeah, not as sexy as using your data in exchange for “free services” but probably a bit more upfront on the trade-off.
While most of our clients are start-ups, which we love because we get to do a lot of fun and wacky experiments, we try to keep our business extremely boring on the day-to-day operations.
2.) We hired friends and family
This company was founded by Dom and I.
Dom and I were running a business for the first time, and we made a lot of mistakes. A LOT OF MISTAKES, and having friends and family work with us gave us the relationship latitude to bounce-back from those mistakes where complete strangers probably would have quit a long time ago.
Moreover, it allowed our new employees to grow and take on way more responsibility than they ever had, and in doing so they “proved themselves” able to tackle the massive tasks in a growing company.
In the end, this company’s foundation is based on friends and family coming together, and the new folks who join us experience that sense of camaraderie and friendship. It’s not Michael Scott, but it’s close.
3.) Business is Personal
Dom and I have a thin skin on client’s moods and their needs. We never built up a sense of entitlement that we saw a lot of our colleagues had in the space. Every criticism was a personal wound to us.
We knew that we were new, inexperienced, and needed to prove ourselves, and to a certain extent we never quite lost that sense of anxiety when a client is upset or frustrated, or a project is going side-ways. As Andy Grove from Intel said, “only the paranoid survive.”
Those are the things I think helped us get here. They’re not magical – honestly #3 is a little trite and I’ve seen it written dozens of times somewhere else. But that’s part of our motto – “Do Good, Be Good.” When you do good work, you are being good – to your people, your clients, and yourself.
Feel free to hit me up anytime. I’m hanging out mostly in the Tribune Tower these days, so come on by.