Sramana Mitra: Where are you now? How far along? What’s the revenue level?
Sean Dawes: We’re doing millions in revenue. It’s about focusing on capturing as much market share as possible. There are still a handful competitors that are larger than us. For us, it’s growing as fast as possible while focusing on profitability.
My motivation is that I want to enjoy what I do, but I also want to ensure that my family’s future is taken care of. That’s what wakes me up every day. My father and grandfather worked all their lives.
I don’t want that anymore. I don’t want that to continue. I don’t want that for my father’s life. That’s not my drive. I have a son. I think you have to lead a good example.
I am focusing on building something that is robust, profitable, and growing as well as something that becomes attractive to someone who wants to buy it someday.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you revenue-wise right now? The number that I have right now is you’re above $5 million because that’s our requirement to feature somebody. Do you want to give a range?
Sean Dawes: I can’t. I have people who are trying to secure that information.
Sramana Mitra: That’s fine. We do private companies all the time. One question that I need to ask you is about team. Can you talk a bit about who’s on your team and what has been the strategy in building this team?
Sean Dawes: One of the key reasons why we’re able to do million per employee is automation. I’m a big advocate of having a team that not only can work together but also that can work on their own. We have our in-house marketing team. We have our own development.
Each person not only can work together easily but they also can work independently. I would never hire someone who can’t work independently because then you have to micromanage them. That’s one of the dangerous things. As they get higher revenues, they just assume they have to hire more people. I would disagree.
Automation, if done right, and the ability to work independently can become dangerous. Hiring more bodies is not scalable. If you can make yourself scale with systems that are in place, that becomes harder to replicate and that becomes a big advantage.
Sramana Mitra: I actually share your point of view. We have done our company very lean with exactly the same philosophy. What is your team size?
Sean Dawes: A dozen employees.
Sramana Mitra: They’re all in Philadelphia or all over?
Sean Dawes: Some are in Philadelphia and we have some that work remote.
Sramana Mitra: Virtual companies are a big trend. I’m a huge fan of the virtual company trend.
Sean Dawes: To me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care where you are. Of course, we have restrictions. If your job has to be in person, you have to be there.
Sramana Mitra: That’s terrific. I have enjoyed listening to your story. This is the kind of stories and strategies that we think are highly replicable on a large scale. Millions of entrepreneurs can build companies like what you have done.
Building multi-billion dollar companies is a very different ball game. It has many different points of failure. I don’t think millions of entrepreneurs can build multi-billion dollar companies, but I think millions of entrepreneurs can build $5 million or $10 million companies.
Thank you for your time.