For Andrés Max, founder of Ideaware, the turning point for his agency was when he finally developed a clear vision and mission.
You have to hire yourself out of a job. I fought it for a long time, always keeping a project that was mine. Then I realized the company was just not growing enough. I was spending too much time executing instead of focusing on growth, setting the company mission and vision, and moving forward. So I stopped at a certain point and focused on business objectives and goals for the company.
So what’s the vision for Ideaware?
Andrés’ goal for Ideaware is to use its design and consulting services to help 5000 companies turn their ideas into profitable ventures.
According to Andrés’, defining a vision for his company was one of the most important decisions he’s ever made. Before that, business development was kind of organic, whatever project came along, they jumped on it. While this approach can work, it makes for slow growth and it’s not actually measurable. Setting a vision bridges that gap.
It answers these important questions:
- Where’s the company now?
- Where do I want it to be?
- Who do I want to help?
And by printing out your vision in large format so that everyone in the company can see, it gives you a goal for your activities.
If you have a clear vision and goal, it’s easier to make a decision. One of the important things for a business owner is to always be working on something that’s going to move the needle.
Andrés talks about how as a business owner there are things you might be doing that you think are productive or are going to help the company but they’re actually not. Having a framework for your company can help you filter through that.
It helps make the important distinction between: "This is going to help me get there" vs. "This won’t". It’s a basic decision maker for your day. Suddenly you’re doing more productive work, bringing more leads in, doing more of what you like, and you’re less stressed.
Andrés describes a situation before he had developed a vision when a lot of Ideaware’s clients started requesting development work. Not wanting to lose business, Andrés agreed to take the work on, thinking it made sense and they’d make a ton of money.
Turns out that didn’t happen. Instead, their profits started going down. Andrés was confused - how did this happen? They were selling more, they had more staff. But it turns out they weren’t the best at development so their projects weren’t very profitable.
It’s then that Andrés decided he needed to clearly define where Ideaware was going and what he wanted, and then share that with everyone in the company. He may not want the company to be a development shop, but he does want his team to be the best choice for UX design and product strategy. It made things clear at that point and everything’s taken off since then.
How does having a clear vision for your company impact who you hire?
For Andrés, having a clear vision statement for your company is a good filter for your hiring process. You’ll quickly be able to see the people who are aligned with where you’re going, and the people who are there for other reasons.
Sometimes you make bad hires and end up with people who don’t have the right skill set, others just want a desk job. In the end your company is your team.
If your team isn't putting out the best they can every day, or you don’t have people you can trust to delegate all these projects to who will execute flawlessly and keep clients happy, then you’re going to have a hard time going anywhere.
Hire smarter….than you.
Andrés tries to bring people into his team who know more than he does. He feels if he can learn from his employees then they’re providing value to him and to the company. If he brings someone on board who he has to teach everything to then it’s less time he has to spend on pushing the company forward.
It’s also important to see your team as more than just replaceable employees. Your employees can sense this attitude and they won’t put out their best work because they feel undervalued. That’s why everyone needs to know the goal and feel like they’re an important part of the journey to achieve that goal. Then everyone will help you get there.
How important is great work?
Andrés agrees that visually pleasing work helps you stand out. It makes people want to share your work and it moves potential clients through the sales funnel. But beyond just providing clients with great UI/UX design, Andrés wants to help them achieve success through Ideaware’s extensive experience. They try to provide more value through the knowledge they’ve gained from working on hundreds of projects.
That way clients are buying more than just hours, they’re buying experience. The challenge is that’s it’s hard to put a number on experience, but you need to find ways to explain that ROI to your client.
Other things in this episode:
- Hear about André’s time working at Mashable in the early days
- How he started Ideaware.
- How your vision needs to be about more than just making money.