Ricky Thomas, Founder & CEO at Avora, describes his entrepreneurial journey as a stroke of luck mixed with radiating overenthusiasm. After an interesting start as IBM reseller, he was quickly promoted to the engineering team where he flourished. From there, it was a mixed bag of opening various businesses. This included an online dating app that was ahead of its time. After the app, a pet medicine software that finally led him on the path to Avora.
Having worked with CEOs across the world in scaling up their businesses, I’m always interested in speaking with tech leaders about the systems put in place within their companies to ensure their success. While Ricky Thomas highlighted the importance of OKRs on this latest episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast, he was more focused on imparting the significance of customer success to his own success. This conversation brought many useful insights for my routine. So, I definitely recommend you to read the highlights or, even better, listen to the whole episode!
Avora’s pathway scaling up and the tools they use to get there
While the Avora team does use the OKR system to help guide their team, it wasn’t always as useful to them as it is today. Thomas discussed how it was difficult as a small team to find value in the OKRs. This OKRs most of the time were simply intent on scraping up new ideas to see if they would work.
Once they received their Series A funding, the OKRs started to make much more sense to them. Because they worked towards a very planned execution. Their goals have never changed, but the methods they’ve used have. Including the new top priority to the Avora team: ensuring that their employees are happy. Thomas admitted that it was difficult to put this in the forefront in the startup stage. But in the scaling up stage he has learned the importance of this.
Thomas shared that these goals that have never changed were never focused around revenue – and he was lucky to work with investors that felt the same. In fact, they told him that his key priority should always be focused on customer success. Avora learned that if we take care of customers, sales will flow and our company will be scaling up.
Scaling up: customer retention is more valuable than customer acquisition
How disappointed would you be if you couldn’t use Avora? This is the question that the Avora team uses to measure customer success rather than focusing on NPS scores, which never felt like the right fit for them.
The desire to uphold customer success above all started back when Thomas was working on the pet medicine project. They found that by cutting their Google Adwords budget to instead put that money into faster deliveries, they actually performed much better in both finding new customers and keeping old ones.
The same values have been brought to Avora, which has helped their product raise 6.5 million dollars in funding. To Thomas, if you can take care of your customers, the sales will take care of themselves. And he’s proving that theory as we speak.
There’s a lot more to learn from this episode of the podcast, so take some time to listen to the whole thing. And if you want to know more about ScaleUp Valley initiatives, calendar and purpose, join our community by subscribing to the ScaleUp Valley newsletter.