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Entrepreneurs Should Surround Themselves With Other People Sooner Rather Than Later


As they say in the business, this is not my first rodeo. I started my first company in 1995 called Envirosearch which performed phase 1 environmental assessments for financial institutions interested in investing in commercial property. It was so long ago that it doesn't even show up on my resume. For two decades, I remained the sole owner of various ventures enduring market changes and experiencing an industry that became cyclical.

There were several problems to operating as the sole owner. Primarily, my company was limited to my own capabilities, to the extent of my network, and to the extent of my innovation. It's no mystery that entrepreneurs can have a tendency to be like children in a candy store, overwhelmed by all the choices. As the sole leader in a company, there is no one to keep your feet on the ground. Rarely, will an employee step up and be bold enough to question your decision. So, the company grows with your ability to grow it and it dies with your lack of ability to save it.

In this last year, I decided to take a completely different approach and chose to surround myself with the best talent that I could find and the difference has been quite astounding. First, I chose to set a completely arbitrary and difficult revenue target, $100 million in revenue in 3 years. As if that wasn't enough, I challenged our team to convert from 90% consulting revenue today to 80% recurring revenue through software sales during that same time period. To raise the bar even higher, I decided that having a diverse team across all spectrums of gender, age, race, religion, and LGBTQ status was mandatory. Not wanting to stop there, we committed to creating a development center in Toronto for 80 women in tech.

When I saw an increase in our web traffic of 1531% in Canada and 500% in the US while spending no money on advertising, I knew that our strategy was certainly better than the old one. I can hear the passion and the excitement from our team as together we venture forward to change the world one customer at a time. When you are the sole owner of a business venture, there is no one to join in on the celebration.

Neither you nor I have any idea if we will reach our $100 million goal, but it's not really about the goal. For us, it is about having the opportunity to have a positive social impact and to create solutions that help people and to create opportunities for people who otherwise may not have had those opportunities. We all learn every single day in our company.

It's hard to describe the culture we have in our company, but I will tell you this. I think that I have created a company that I would enjoy working in. So, my advice to entrepreneurs is to surround yourself by the best talent you can find as soon as possible.

Jenna Bourgeois, CEO of Dynamics Intelligence (US/Canada) specializes in delivering vertical software solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the healthcare and public sector vertical markets. (Photo credit: Women's Jamaican Bobsled Team www.jamaicaolympics.com)

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