Think back. Way, way back. All the way back to three whole years ago. Can you picture what you were doing? The principals of Avionos can.
Today marks the 3-year anniversary for the fast paced, rapidly growing digital consulting firm that we call Avionos. Over the last three years, we have grown from just three employees to 30 extremely talented individuals. Looking back, it is no secret that Avionos has accomplished some incredible things for a start-up. Without the leadership from our principals, Avionos may have never taken off. So, it only seemed fair to take a few moments to sit down with our principals and reflect on Avionos’s success.
Meet the Principals
Scott Webb – Principal, President
Gibson Smith – Principal, Co-Founder, Director of Talent Acquisition and Management
Craig Traxler – Principal, Co-Founder
Dan Neiweem – Principal, Co-Founder
Jim Sherman – CFO
Q&A – A Look Back
1. What is your fondest memory of the “early days” here at Avionos?
- Gibson: I remember sitting across from our owners on the first day and soaking up the excitement and energy and then thinking, “how are we going to build this?” It was go, go, go, from Day 1 and we haven’t stopped.
- Craig: Watching the lightbulbs go on as our people shared their collective experiences and began wrapping their head around how our services fit together for the benefit of our clients.
- Dan: In the early days of Avionos, we were doubling up in a four room, fast office. Only two of those offices had windows and I remember sitting in one of the windowless offices that doubled as the conference room with the team putting together our overview decks, our marketing plan, etc. for an entire week in preparation for a meeting with Northern Trust. That became the foundation for a lot of our materials going forward. We then connected with MBooth to win the Macallan deal. As a thank you, Macallan sent a bottle of Rare Cask which the team enjoyed during a Team Huddle.
2. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received over the last three years as a principal at Avionos?
- Jim: That every day matters and every day we can positively impact the business. There will be set backs and disappointments, but like a cornerback in football that just got burned for a TD, you need to have a short memory and maintain confidence and a positive attitude.
- Scott: The best piece of advice I received was “act like you are always going to be out of business in eight weeks, or else you will be.” It sounds negative, but what it really means is act decisively with the details on hand, never wait for perfect information (you’ll never get it), address any issues or concerns right away and never assume you will have the time to address it later.
3. Looking back, what were some of the scary aspects of joining the start-up world? At any point, did you begin to doubt yourself or the decisions you were making?
- Gibson: In my opinion, there are two emotions related to start ups: elation and frustration. If you can sit in the middle of those two extremes, you are going to be OK. There are times you are going to doubt yourself but you can’t let that hold you back from the goal of building a great company.
- Scott: I literally moved my family halfway across the country for the opportunity with Avionos, so it’s fair to say I was all-in from Day 1. Uncertainty is always a bit scary, but it can also be incredibly liberating and motivating. You have to be able to find the joy and the excitement in that fear and stay committed to the vision you have for the business.
4. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing you’ve learned, what would it be? (i.e. advice for young entrepreneurs just starting off or people looking to make a major career change)
- Dan: Don’t be afraid to fail. Every time you get in front of a customer is a good thing.
- Scott: Build a business. It sounds obvious, but too many entrepreneurs focus on a concept, not a business. They start with an expectation that they will raise a bunch of money, test the concept, and then sell out, but in reality they are never truly building out a business that will sustain itself.
- Jim: Have a clear understanding of what your goals are and when decisions are needed to course correct, do them as quickly as possible. Decision paralysis is a profit killer.
5. What are your goals for Avionos for the NEXT 3 years?
- Craig: To be externally recognized for our growth, present an Avionos Developed Commerce Solution with a client at Dreamforce, IRCE, or something similar, and continue to hire the best and the brightest while helping to further their achievements and careers.
- Gibson: Continue down the path of building a transformational company in the eCommerce space and service our clients. As long as we continue to do that a day at a time, the next three years will bring tremendous success for this organization.
#CheersTo3Years! Here is to many, many more!