Agema gets up and running.
Three years ago, after selling my my first company at the age of 34, I started consulting as a turn-around CEO. Working for both investors and business owners was interesting, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Often the culture of the company was worn down, finances tight, and the employees understandably tired. The pace of change required for success would add more stress, and substantial investments were needed to understand and test new business models. Worse, though, was the time it would take to make these changes, involving bids, contractors, too many meetings, and long wait times for project completion.
Prior to that, I spent 10 years at my first real startup company. With great mentors and Board of Directors, I built the very successful Remote Medical International, delivering medical training, equipment, supplies, and telemedicine for organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Shell, Chevron, Outdoor Industry, and Defense Contractors. I started RMI at the age of 23, knowing almost nothing about business. I relied on books, business courses, and the fact that I could pick people who had great potential and ability - people who were smarter than me in their area of expertise. We were ranked in the INC 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States three times during my tenure and while stressful at times, I enjoyed every second of it.
Building a Dream Team
Since then, I’ve built and sold another company, and worked with a variety of clients to remove the barriers to growth. It’s worked well, although it’s been tough. What I wanted as the CEO or Advisor to the CEO was to have a team of experts that could move quickly. I wanted to create systems for us to leverage our talents to maximize our efficiency, developers who could rapidly test and iterate marketing messages, product design, and software systems. We needed marketing experts who could come up with creative ideas quickly and measure them. Sales experts who could analyze current systems and make incremental, measurable systems to increase effectiveness. We also needed a project manager who could manage both our team and client communication using Agile/Scrum for rapid iteration and fast execution.
Founders should Lead their Companies and have the Resources to be Effective
I have an ethical and analytical problem with replacing a founder or business owner. As a founder of quite a few companies, it’s a personal belief in part, but the founder has the vision and passion which can’t be replaced. They often have the rapport with the staff and hit a wall in growth where they don’t have the skills or experience to move the company to the next level. That’s where we are focused.
Our New Strategy
The name, Agema, comes from a unit in the Macedonian army who escorted the king into battle. They were agile and used light weapons, yet they were one of the most elite and effective units.
It’s exactly what we do in the business context. We analyze, leverage our combined experience, and use technology to our advantage.
Six months ago, we started building that team and we’re still at it. We’ve brought on several more full-time employees and successfully launched two more startups - more about that in future posts. We have a full-time project manager, and I have to say it’s been the most rewarding work environment I’ve been in.
So here we are. We are busy creating and testing marketing plans, developing new strategies, building two websites, designing and testing a new product, and defining a sales process for clients right now. We’ve formalized a retainer-based coaching program to help business leaders navigate and drive rapid, sustainable business growth, as a team-based resource with impressive insight and capabilities. We move quickly, we move intelligently, and I’m looking forward to our new future.