706: 3 Changes Your Company Needs (As Your Team Exceeds 50 People) w/ Vishu Ramanathan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Vishu Ramanathan, CEO of Buildout.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any Bob Company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more at sweetish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the be tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show. This episode is sponsored by Directive Consulting, the B Tob Search Marketing Agency. Today we are joined by vish you, Ramanathan Visu is a, the CEO at build out. Vis You. Welcome to the show. Alli, thanks for having me. That's a pleasure to have you on the show. I know that build out has seen some some tremendous growth recently and that's part of the reason we were so excited to have you on the show. But before we get into today's topic and we are going to be talking about sort of the internal changes that you need to be thinking about as your team exceeds fifty people. But before we get into that, maybe you can tell us a little about what you in the build out team are up to these days. Well, sure, we are a marketing platform for commercial real estate. So our real mission was that we realize that we could bring technology to commercial real estate because it was a market that was just still served. There were no dominant players and so there was a bunch of customers we just basically needed technology. So we went to them and looked around for problems to solve and the problem that we ended up solving was basically managing and producing and publishing marketing materials for all of the commercialistics. So we have a database that let's our users put all of their stuff in a database one time and...

...produces and publishes all of their marketing material from one place. Yeah, we took our seed round in two thousand and fourteen and we took our series a just about a year ago. So we grew up to about thirty people with very little investment. Really were almost essentially group strapped, and then about a year ago we took an eight million dollar investment from Susquehetna and have used that to grow from about thirty two sixty five people. Yeah, that's I mean that's fantastic. So yeah, certainly congratulations on on the growth that you've seen and, you know, really speaks to sort of why you were the person that we wanted to bring on the show to day and talk about sort of this idea that there are these internal changes you need to pay attention to. You as your team exceeds fifty people. Specifically, I was you know, you had grown from thirty five to sixty five and you know, I was thinking, Oh, you know, as as your team doubles, there's things you need to think about. But you had you had could be you'd said specifically. You know, there are some things like once you hit that almost that fifty person mark, some things that you need to be thinking about. So we do you appreciate you come on a show, taking some time out your schedule this. You where? Where should we start this conversation? Then? I think that it's interesting to just think about how the company changes in kind. What I mean by that is that you have a different kind of company across that fifty person threshold. I was aware of this because I'd been through startups that had done that and I had noticed it, but not in you know, most of the people on my team hadn't. So as it was approaching, I spent a lot of time trying to get people prepared for the changes that were coming, and sometimes it would be in the context of an all company meeting. And how I would describe it as that. Right now, everybody in this room can easily hear me, but all of a sudden there is going to be people in the back of the room and one day you're going to be like, visue, can you please speak up, because the people in the back room can't hear you and that's also going to mean that I can't hear them. So we talked about that. Well,...

...one of the first things that was interesting is that we talked about that for months and months and months in anticipation, even as we were going out and getting our investment. We knew it was going to happen, but it seemed so far off, like an abstract concept. It wasn't real and it wasn't also something that just happened in a day. But it all of a sudden, two months later, we woke up and it was very, very different. Yeah, that makes sense. I mean it's a it can be sort of a gradual change. And if a change is is that gradual? You know, you just sort of put off thinking about it, put off thinking about until all of a sudden you're confronted him, like you said. You know, I mean just even that's it's a good example of the change that you need to make mentally when you have more people and it's not that easy level of communication because you're all sharing an office, you're all sharing a room, you're all you know, it's a very small, intimate team that you have. It's grown. And how do you even change? How do you change that the way you communicate and you work together? So very important thing to be thinking about. I know that number two is even at the sort of the the the organizational procedural level that you had to make a lot of internal changes. Yeah, so, if you imagine, companies that are about thirty people are often called families. They tend to be very tight knit. It's very easy to work together. When you get to be bigger, all of a sudden the distance increases. I think that's really you know, the fundamental thing that happens is that right around fifteen people, the distance between people gets to be too big for you to just communicate unconsciously. So dead you have to start to be more deliberate about all kinds of things, and so that could be a simplest staff meeting or one on ones or or chart. So one of the things is, you know, I I think I got...

...it out of the heart of things, but the idea of an org chart as a communication plan, not just like a hierarchy of WHO's boss, but kind of how information flows by default and how you want to organize that. That's what you're doing when you build an work chart, and then that will also show you the places where it won't work. But I can't tell if that sounds too abstract, you know. Well, no, I mean I definitely understand what you're sort of what you're getting at. I mean you actually have to sort of map it out, you have to lay out. Now all of a sudden it's not this you know, for lack of a better word, Lucy Goosey sort of just kind of freeform thing where everyone is just kind of communicating and everyone is doing a lot of different jobs, because that's the nature of the beast when you're that small. Now we have to have some organization during this process. Did you have I mean, did you did you take a lot of input from your team? Did you get any any push back? I mean what was kind of what did you see firsthand as you were as you were going through this? Yeah, the so as things become more structured, it can be weird for people who've not been used to that for a while. Like very common complaint was like, man, there's so many meetings, and anybody who's been a part of a company of a certain size notes that. All everybody's always complaining about too many meetings and meetings are awful, but they're also like a thing that causes business to happen. So there's like always a sounds like, between having too many meetings and trying to build the right meetings. And especially people who are used to just being able to, you know, feel their way to success, all of a sudden having to formally get in a room with an agenda just felt very, very heavy, and sometimes it was too heavy right, like the pendulum swings too far, of course. So, yeah, a lot of the pushback was around structure. You know, developers, also the debout death side of the team have to become more organized and more formal and how they work. You know, when it was just me and my partner seeing code, just...

...could just do it. Now all of a sudden you have type processes. Yeah, processes, an organizational a flow chart. I mean, you know in it also kind of you know as you're as you're talking to the team and you're getting the feedback and you're getting the push back and you're trying to figure out how it all fits together. I think it does probably relate to this third point quite a bit, when you were talking about the key being communication. So what does that look like? Right? The distance is what I mentioned earlier. At fifty it's like there's another level of distance that's created between people, and so that makes it hard to communicate when twelve people are just sitting around a table. So much communication, we say, almost happens by smell. It's like you just know what's going on. You don't even know what now you know when you get to scale. One of the things that we talked about was the remember to include me email, and basically the idea is that you know all of a sudden you're not going to know everything and it's going to be frustrating and you're going to have a feeling like people didn't include you. And the impulses to write that email with a certain tone of voice, the umber to include me. So we just talked about the take a deep breath and send the police, remember to include me email. The thing about the org chart being the definition of the default communication channels is that that creates silos and coming into the company, getting to be this big, there's sort of a lamentum of it like Oh, we're gonna be different, we're going to be in silos. And I was having a conversation with someone and we were talking about it and they said that, but somehow or...

...another it just hit my ear a little bit differently and I realized that we just need to see say those same words, was a slightly different tone of voice. Just going to be silos. Yeah, and you know, you have to accept that that's what happens, right, like you're weird, different size company. That's kind of really my first point is that you can't try to be the kind of company that you used to be. You have to figure out the things that you liked in that company, that you want to bring with you and the things that you want to leave behind. But then you have to be the kind of company that you are now and that that company is going to have communication styles, because it's a network. Of fact, it explodes exponentially. You can't talk to everybody when you get too big. That's essentially what happens by but a way, mathematically around fifty, it just becomes impossible to maintain that network. So you have to break it up into clusters and when you do that you create silos. So you have to know that you have created stiles and then we have to be proactive about managing communication between those silence. And you know, one of the things that happens when you you go from always knowing everything to not always knowing everything is that you're frustrated about communication all the time. And so everybody's always saying we need better communication, we need more communication, but that's not really true. Like the reason this is like this is because we don't want more communication. If we got to the point where everybody knew what everybody was doing all the time, it would stop the company from getting anything done. We don't need more communication. We need more effective communication. So, you know, being deliberate and thoughtful about how you communicate this really the key, and just also setting people's expectations that you know you're not going to be perfect. When you try to do this for the first time. There's going to be things that are frustrating. Is the things that are difficult. Like there's something in human nature that you just assume that the people in the other silos are just like drinking coffee and watching TV all day, especially in some people. It's not true, and like you even know it intellectually, but when something goes wrong,...

...just like so like know that that's you're going to feel that and then don't do that. It's story time again and we're talking about search engine marketing. Today I'm going to tell you about a challenge within Pelican. Cases be to be division. Pelican needed a partner with deep be tob expertise that could get them a massive bumping leads from their paper click campaigns without increasing spin. After vetting a handful of agencies, they decided to go with directive, consulting a Bob Search Marketing Agency located in southern California. Directive took on this challenge by refining their targeting and building custom landing pages for their advertising efforts. Once implemented, they saw a two hundred and eight percent increase in conversion rate. Needless to say, Pelican cases met their initiative and I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for you too. So head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to this interview. Well, I think you know, it definitely speaks to how important you know that communication is, but also, bringing it back, like you said, to your very first point, is sort of realizing that the company is changing in kind and you have to change with it, and it's not only an internal organizational change, but it also sounds kind of like it's internal for you know, for your own person, like a like an actual internal change. Also that you're trying to make everybody's role changes because the company changes and so what it asks them new changes. So people need to be flexible and that that can be a growing experience. I was certainly was a challenging experience for a lot of who had been here for a long time. And saw the company change. We really strongly believe in personal growth here, like really want to be a place where people leave...

...better than they came, and so it was possible for us to contextualize this growth for the company as an opportunity for grows for the people, and that was I think that helped a lot and also, also, but I just to read it, the biggest thing was not trying to be the old company that we were, just accepting the new company that we were going to be. Yeah, absolutely, well, it certainly sounds like it. You know it. There were a lot of challenges that that you and your team face, but also does sound like of course you've been you've been growing, your company has been successful in sort of adopting easy internal changes. So we we wish you continued success, which is fantastic. This issue one of the things that you know as the CEO of build out, as you've been been growing this company. You know, one of the things that we'd love to ask our guests on the show, especially this year, is what sort of legacy are you hoping to leave behind, one that is you know, personally, professionally, or even a combination of the two. Yeah, it's a cool question ask. You know, I'm not I don't reflect on that that much, but it was an opportunity for me to think about it a little bit knowing this was coming. One of the things that's been very profoundly changing in my personal life as I've gone from, you know, a two person partnership where we were both, as I said earlier, singing code all day to becoming CEO of a team and having customers all over the country, is that my job has gone from, you know, software to humans just very drastically and now it's so very different. So much of my job is thinking about people, whether those are my customers or my teammates, and what can I do to best help them, and that's to me, what's the exciting part...

...of legacy, right like the effective your exercise of free will on the world to means the definition of legacy, and having so much of that expressed through people as my job has really been a privilege. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean well, it's I mean definitely another another change that sort of you're talking about here, going from sort of software coding to dealing with people directly, but it sounds like it's been rewarding. That's a fantastic legacy to leave behind. Biss you. You know, if anyone wants to find out a little bit more about you and your team build out, they want to find out more about today's episode. They just what they want to connect. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Show you can find out about the company and build Outcom and you can find me on Lincoln. I'm excited to connect them. Fantastic. Will Visu you. Thank you again so much for taking some time to join us on the show today. It was a pleasure talking to you. It's your things. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So, if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner in a sitting near you. Go To v to be growth dinnerscom. That's be toob growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening, until next time.

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