Talentier’s great marketing team –by whom I have been really impressed by the work they have done over the last few months- asked me to write a post summarizing how 2016 was for the company.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks you to do something like this? Apart from the fact that they are very cheeky and would do anything to avoid writing a post…what can I say? It is time for me to prepare a combo with lots of numbers and metrics and a hint of the excitement that everyone in Talentier has for what we do.
At the end of the day, when you decide to create a startup you spend a lot of time looking for clients, searching for talent and trying to get some investment. Within this, it is important to embed the value of what we have achieved.
2016 was a good year for us. It is important to talk about it and more than anything it is important to thank the people who made it possible: the team, the investors and the institutions that have helped us with grants. We have grown our number of clients and we have earned the trust of big companies that seemed inaccessible to us a few months ago. We already have a good lot of recruitment agencies able to cover a full range of positions, from the more usual ones to the ones others that require a high level of specialization. We had the privilege of being finalist in BStartup, and in SeedRocket we were able to rub shoulders with the best mentors and investors. Also we are already working with clients from our first international market, Qatar. And more than anything we have built a team able to grow even quicker in the next few months.
These are the successful things, but now it is time to remember the spirit of The Wolf from Pulp Fiction and realize that we have still a lot to do. In order to do this, I think it might be helpful to summarize 2016 with 3 lessons we have learnt, or three reality doses that we took in the last year.
1) To grow quickly it is not enough
The first milestone to achieve is to have someone paying for what you offer. Certainly that first bill makes you feel so proud of yourself because for the first time someone confirms with money (the only reliable proof) that you are really helping someone. You explain what you have done and people congratulate you, but for a short time…
Almost immediately you must achieve the second milestone; you have to repeat the same success but with different clients. You have to proove that the first deal was not an isolated incident and that there are more people ready to pay for your services.
And when you are growing your number of clients and these clients contract your services again and again, and you think that you have something to celebrate…then you realize that to have a good growth rate is no longer enough. At this point your business must sky-rocket, and grow at a level that (in Miguel Arias´words) seems like it comes from the obsessive mind of an investor hungry for easy money…but the truth is that the whole thing makes sense because of the conditions of the financial market. So if you want to be in the game, it is clear what you have to do.
Summarizing: Talentier must get bigger and bigger and we must do it quickly. And still this adventure could end in a cruel paradox; it is possible that the great work done by the team and a very praiseworthy growth would not be enough.
2) Growing is uncomfortable
Some years ago I read an article about young Chinese girls spending moths in a hospital, going through treatments to be a few centimeters taller. They were wearing extendable metal bars that were stretching the leg’s bones, and week after week, a doctor with a sadistic smile was twisting a nut to lengthen the rods. The girls faces showed that they were suffering, but also that they were not going anywhere until they had achieved their goal.
When I think about the challenges that we have as a young company, that image comes to my mind. I am sure that no entrepreneurial project is able to grow at the necessary rate if the people who drive it are not able to grow their humanity and professionalism with it.
This year we have learned (and we are still learning this lesson every day) that growing is uncomfortable and some times can even be painful. It means leaving your professional comfort zone and facing a series of tasks that for sure you would prefer to avoid. Situations that maybe you have been averted your whole life. It is not about doing well what you know or like to do; it is about doing what it takes in order to achieve your goal.
3) Being good it is not enough: you must be extraordinary
The experience we had in SeedRocket was really positive. The talks, the mentoring and the contact with the best technology investors in Spain was a turning point in our project. But equally valuable was the opportunity to meet people like us, people who were starting a new business idea. It was enlightening to share experiences, joys and sorrows with them. In that moment I realized that out there, there are valuable projects and very qualified enterprising persons. And then I came to the conclusion that; you have to grow, and you must to do it very fast; also it is not enough being good, you must be extraordinary maybe not in everything, but in something. To make your dream come true you have to stand out, be bold, be a pioneer, be demanding, dare to be different, where others fail. As Víctor Küppers says, you have to achieve the “ole, ole y ole” effect .
I think that is enough for today. One of my 2017 resolutions is to manage my time better...and the time I had set to write this post is about to finish. So the last thing I want to do is to wish a year of growth and achivement to everyone.
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