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Ruud Stelder started his career as a webshop-owner, selling electronic cigarettes. He used the problems he encountered as input to develop his startup SEOshop. The Canadian company Lightspeed bought SEOshop in 2015. Recently, Lightspeed secured an investment of 166 million, to facilitate further growth. Stelder has a lot of experience with entrepreneurship and company growth. In this guestblog, he shares his learnings that will help entrepreneurs.
By Ruud Stelder
Sometimes, things don’t go as expected. Some of the company’s next steps were carefully planned, other developments happened while we made other plans. Anyway, an entrepreneur has a lot of influence on how successful an organization goes through major changes or even goes through a takeover. To inspire other entrepreneurs, I share three experiences about developing from a startup to a scaleup.
1) Things do not go as planned
You can draw up a complete plan for your company, but sometimes the unexpected happens. However, that is not a necessarily bad thing! The takeover by Lightspeed was initially not something we thought of, but it turned out to be a great opportunity. Sometimes, you simply need the guts to make an unexpected turn, even if you were planning to do something completely different.
2) Growth is not the only change in your company
Companies change dramatically during growth. Not only the size of companies changes but also the management and in some cases even the product will be affected. And of course, not all changes apply only to the company. You as an entrepreneur will also change. A growing organization asks for the entrepreneur to take on a different role. For example, as a starting entrepreneur, you initially deal directly with a small number of colleagues, but as the company grows personal contacts become rarer. Therefore entrepreneurs should be open to change and to let go when necessary. After all, change will not only bring new challenges but also new opportunities.
3) Hiring the right people
With the accumulated experience, you can tackle recurring challenges in a better way. For example, expanding the team. One of the biggest tips I can give to entrepreneurs who want to achieve business growth is to pay a lot of attention to hiring the right people. When a company is small, a relatively large part of the performance is determined by each employee. The process of hiring people is an ongoing one. That is why Lightspeed also pays a lot of attention to it. At the moment more than twenty vacancies are open in our Amsterdam office in several areas such as development, marketing, and sales. Gathering talent around you is key to being successful.