Nobody said that scaling up your company was going to be easy. But sometimes the hardest part isn’t turning an innovative idea into a functional product or growing enough funds to make it all come together. Sometimes the hardest part is simply making tough choices when you’re hit with success.
João Barros, CEO at Veniam, understands this struggle very personally. He and his team had to make a really tough choice in order to see the success of their product grow even further. On this episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast, we got to hear it all from Barros directly.
Make choices that will align your company — even if it’s hard
Having started as an academic, Barros has a background in research, which he passionately explained is a large part of being a professor. What started as a project with his students then blossomed into the Veniam software, which has since received $45 million in Venture Capital.
How did the Veniam team so successfully scale up their product? While in the growth process, Barros got his hands-on Verne Harnish’s guide to scaling up, which would play a huge role in scaling up the company.
Around two years ago, their vehicle utility product was growing within two separate markets: fleet vehicles (for example garbage trucks) and within the automaker industry. Based on Harnish’s methodology, Barros realized that the team would need to laser focus all of their time and resources on one market to fully align and successfully grow their business.
It was a really difficult choice, but the team eventually shut down their fleet business — as the sales cycle was long and required more capital. With their full focus on automakers, they achieved huge growth that wouldn’t have been possible without this realignment of their strategy.
Build a coalition of good will around you
While strategy and a solid product get you far, Barros also highlighted the importance of communication. As the founder of a company, lots of people have to buy into your vision and believe in this dream for the startup to succeed. Using the power of communication, you have to be able to bring people from where they are today to where you want them to be.
This, he commented, is also an important part of being an educator. Both professions ask in-depth questions, both solve complex problems, and both require strategic research skills. As a company, you can use this analogy of education to find a productive way of aligning your teams and scaling up your product.
If you want to hear more about Barros’ journey with Veniam — and there’s a lot more to learn — then hear out the rest of episode on the ScaleUp Valley Podcast. Then, keep listening and keep scaling. And if you want to know more about ScaleUp Valley initiatives, calendar and purpose, join our community by subscribing to the ScaleUp Valley newsletter.