You know the phrase, “you’ve got to spend money to make money?” While I don’t know if it’s entirely true, I certainly know the part about spending is.
One of the basic investment principles I learned about years ago from successful people was compounding. While it appears that your investments in the early years aren’t getting you all that far, as the years go on, the result becomes more dramatic.
While I have grand plans for BuildWitt, I know that before anything significant happens, we must make serious investments. How are we investing in our business if we don’t have inventory or a storefront? We’re heavily investing in one thing — people.
People expenses (full-time payroll and part-time contractors) accounted for 72% of our total spending last month.
For us, it’s a “chicken versus egg” debate. We need people to accommodate more work, but we need work to accommodate more people. Which comes first? It’s a tough balance that we continue to struggle with. However, we’ve recently tilted the scale far toward the people side of the equation.
Investing in the team before work is a gamble, but I believe it’s the only way forward. We’ve proven the concept, and now’s the time to double down while much of the world sleeps.
One more thing to note — as a business owner, I’ve often become trapped into looking at salaries and thinking of them only as expenses. Now, I’m excited to see our payroll costs increasing, since I now know that people are an investment, not a liability.
Now, let’s talk about the specific investments we’ve recently made —
Laurie SantaLucia (Director of Partner Marketing) — We’ve failed to keep our eye on every business we’re fortunate enough to work with over the past year. As we’ve become busier, we’ve dropped more balls. We needed someone to focus exclusively on the relationships and high-level projects we have with each BuildWitt Partner. With her many years of account director and consultant experience at various agencies combined with her kickass attitude, she’s a massive addition to our team.
Matt Biddle (Director of Talent Acquisition) — With our unique business model, we don’t draw the line at “marketing” problems. We solve problems of any kind. When we saw our Partners struggling to fill critical positions like superintendent, estimator, and safety director, we figured we could help. This is where Matt, a former Operations Manager at a large recruitment firm and experienced recruiter, comes into play. With Matt’s ability to source talented people, we can now provide our Partners with the people they need without the traditional bullshit of headhunting.
Matt Burt (Sr. UX/UI Designer) — Since branding and design have become enormous aspects of our business over the past twelve months, we badly needed more design capability and bandwidth. Fortunately, we found Matt, a senior designer at a large marketing firm on the East Coast. After a few early projects, he proved his value and talent, and now he’s taking our web and other design work to the next level. (Witech Excavating’s new website was his first project.)
Kara MacDonald (Director of Business Systems) — Before Kara, BuildWitt was a dumpster fire when it came to organization and systems. Everything about our business was a mess, thanks to our quick growth. Thanks to her long history at HCSS (if you’ve ever attended HCSS UGM, you have Kara to thank) working on their marketing and business systems, she speaks the contractors’ language. She has already been an irreplaceable part of our team. Not only is she helping us implement new systems, but she’s also assisting BuildWitt Partners to implement complex systems like Pardot to streamline their operations.
Rachel Horwitz (Project Manager) — Aiding Kara in our organizing as a business is Rachel, who’s an absolute superstar. With her diverse background of administrative, project management, and development, there seems to be nothing she’s unwilling or unable to do. It’s been incredible to watch her organize us like never before when it comes to time tracking and project management for all our Partners.
This is taking me way longer to write than expected… I didn’t understand how many new people I needed to write about.
James Jamra (Producer/Editor) — While we have no problem shooting video on sites across the country, editing is a whole other story. It’s not that we were terrible at it, but we couldn’t do it fast enough. Now that we have James, we’ve cut our editing time from 4-6 weeks to a matter of one week thanks to his blazing speed and talent honed as a senior editor in LA at CBS.