Entrepreneur Spotlight Winner
Originally posted by the Birmingham Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/bir...
"Entrepreneur Spotlight: FireSeeds
What does your company do? We grow and scale businesses. FireSeeds Recruiting finds and places multiplying leaders into companies with great cultures. Our second offering is an online leader development platform, Wildsparq. It implements an intentional leader development strategy.
What convinced you to start your company? I got to experience the Chick-fil-A culture. They hire based on culture, then develop leaders at every level of the company. I realized there were CEO’s who desired help in hiring leaders, developing their employees, and scaling their culture.
How did you get into your industry? A mentor of mine,(CEO of The Parnassus Group, an executive search firm), inspired me to use the world of recruiting as an entry point to gaining influence into organizations, so we could also help them develop their leaders.
How were you financially able to get started? I sold my first startup after 7 years and went all in with FireSeeds and Wildsparq.
What is your biggest competition? The tyranny of the urgent. Leader development is always seen as important but unfortunately never falls into the urgent category when think bottom line profitability. I beg to differ.
What was the biggest challenge your company faced when starting up in Birmingham? Not knowing if business owners would truly want to invest in a long term growth strategy that focused on enhancing culture through recruiting and leader development. Thank you,, for giving us our first shot!
What is something Birmingham could improve on when it comes to helping entrepreneurs? I would love to see an expansion of the incredible work from Innovation Depot. They do great with start ups right out of the gate, but I would like to see more business accelerator networking opportunities.
What is something Birmingham does right when it comes to entrepreneurism? Birmingham is becoming known as a benevolent greenhouse producing entrepreneurial mentoring opportunities through organizations like Urban Avenues, ClereStory, Five Loaves, Fish Camp Films, Magic City Woodworks, and the list goes on.
What’s your philosophy on entrepreneurship? You start with a clear vision, mission and values, prioritize according to Jim Collins’ hedgehog concept, and apply Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup” approach and then sell, sell, sell.
Looking back, what’s something you wish you had known from the start about what it’s like to run a company? Short term memory is actually one of an entrepreneur’s stronger traits. If we remembered how hard it was to start and grow a company, we would probably think twice about starting the next one.
What was the hardest part of becoming an entrepreneur? The hardest part is moving through the hopefully short season of “all-in and no turning back” while pushing through to the season of “finally sustainable and predictable cash flow.”
What’s the best advice you’ve received? When searching for investors, “If you ask for money, you will have people give you great advice...If you ask for advice you will have people give you money!”
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a business? Find a like-minded and oppositely wired partner to go all in with you...this is way too hard and life is way too short to do this alone!
What is the secret to your company’s success? We hire leaders who buy into our vision, mission, and values before anything else. We all live them out authentically in the Birmingham community as we serve clients and vendors.
What’s something about entrepreneurship that has surprised you? I always think I can do way more in years 1 through 3 and then underestimate what can happen in years 4 through 7.
What’s the biggest challenge your company faces? Managing cash flow for maintenance and growth.
What keeps you up at night? When you have 6 kids, ages 3-14, someone is always crawling in bed in the middle of the night. If all I did was work in my business I would sleep a lot more.
What’s your growth plan for your company? Our plan is to create raving fans out of our clients, leverage grassroots marketing campaigns through social media, and other news outlets, and launch paid online campaigns.
Where do you want your business to be in five years? We would like to have teams in Atlanta and Nashville.
What’s your guiding business principle? Hire and develop multiplying leaders who will reproduce the 1st generational vision, mission, values and excellent execution of our business offerings.
What’s the hottest topic in your industry? It is definitely cracking the Millennial code as it pertains to attracting, maximizing, and retaining the future leaders.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside the office? I love being on Lake Guntersville with my family."