Digital Eagles comes to the end of their third financial year. And what a year it was.
A full business transformation, COVID 19, bushfires, growing pains, new core values, new DE website, people challenges, some amazing customer testimonials and case studies. The list goes on..
I think it’s important to sit back and reflect sometimes because it’s great to take the time to see what you've learnt, what worked well, what didn’t and work out how you can do it better.
So here are some of my key learnings.
It’s not all about revenue.
I come from a sales and marketing background, so my entire professional career I have been focused on growing leads and sales, either for the company I worked for my clients. For us at Digital Eagles last financial year was about sustainability. In the first 2 years, we were very focused around growing the business to be able to invest back into the business to continue to fuel growth. In FY 18/19 we experienced 338% revenue growth, so in theory, we were doing “very well”, but upon reflection what we were doing was not sustainable. Without the right systems, processes and the right people, your business will not sustain the growth.
If you have ever worked with me you would know that I get very passionate and excited about opportunities. Becoming an entrepreneur for the first time amplified this trait within me and because I was getting access to interesting people, I was getting access to interesting opportunities. Too many opportunities. No matter how good the idea is, starting a business is very time-consuming and challenging. It requires focus, dedication, a great team, a business plan.. And much more. I divested my interests in other businesses to ensure that I could focus 100% of my time into Digital eagles and get it right. Once I get this business right, then I can go and focus on other opportunities.
“No Bad Eggs”
Talent selection is absolutely critical to being able to scale a service-based business. Customers are basically paying us to do 2 things.
- Provide great customer service, support and strategy
- Deliver best in call technical marketing implementation.
Developing your mission, vision, values, goals, KPI's and position descriptions so your existing team and future team members know exactly what you expect from them can be a great way to get a consistency of engagement and effort. If you choose to ignore this, then your team is potentially making up their own version of acceptable effort and behaviour, which is fraught with danger.
Leave your ego at the door.
Your ego can impact your behaviour in many ways. Control, acknowledgement, validation, recognition are some of the ways that your ego can hold you back from seeing your business from all angles. If you are driven by anything other than the plan and your values, then you have the potential to miss opportunities and also be blinded by your existing biases. Working with people requires very clear communication, strong leadership, good process and a strong culture of success. The longer you wait to create these things, the bigger the long term impact will be.
Leverage your network
Having a strong network has helped me immensely. Leveraging people’s previous experience with problems that I am currently facing. Having key mentors in areas of speciality has been really valuable. For instance, our finance system required a huge amount of work. I was able to leverage a contact that I had that was in a similar type of business. The insights and learnings that we were able to utilise from them, not only saved us a lot of time but also gave us so much more information and allowed us to make very strategic financially driven decisions.
It sounds simple and you hear it all of the time, but do you actually do it. Those that take the time to set goals are typically 10X more likely to succeed. For this reason, our leadership team will be working goals from the top-down and bottom-up. What does that mean?
We know that the business has the following objectives:
- Revenue Goals
- Customer Satisfaction Goals
- Staff Engagement Goals
- Client Number Goals
- Margin Goals
We will then work with our team to ensure that their KPI’s clearly align with what the business wants to achieve. When your team can understand how their role impacts the overall objectives of the business, you will get better alignment and people engagement.
This next financial year for the team at Digital Eagles will be a big one. Now that we have a very strong core team, we are able to sustainably grow in almost all areas of the business. I am also sure that everything probably won’t go to plan and there will be constant challenges for us to overcome. The beauty of having a great team now, is that the challenges can be carried by more people and the solution can be driven collaboratively across the business.
Happy New Financial Year!
Ryan Jenkins - CEO | Chief Eagle