As Ally recently celebrated 3 years in business, CEO and Co-Founder, Greg Simidian reflects on Ally’s journey over the past few years from significant milestones to lessons learned and exciting plans for the future. As anyone who has founded a business knows, entrepreneurship, while rewarding, is also full of challenges. ‘When you sit back, it’s a bit like a whirlwind,’ as Greg says. In this video, Greg offers his hard-won advice on how to succeed.
1. Building the dream leadership team
One of the first milestones Greg highlights is gathering Ally’s leadership team. He emphasises that beyond skills and expertise, the compatibility and communication within the team have been fundamental to the company’s success. Having been ‘a corporate slave’ for the majority of his career, Greg likens entrepreneurship to ‘extreme business,’ where the highs are exhilarating and the lows can be . . . brutal. Having the right people in the right roles is a game-changer. It’s a reminder that, in addition to talent, the value of decency and collaboration can’t be overstated. As Greg puts it, the ideal team members are ‘high ability, low ego.’
2. The power of funding
Securing funding marked a significant milestone for Ally, not just in terms of financial stability but also as external validation. It’s a testament to the company’s potential and an affirmation to its clients that they are partnering with a thriving business. However, Greg doesn’t sugarcoat the process; dealing with compliance and administrative hurdles proved to be quite the challenge but ultimately worth it.
3. Referral-driven growth
Around the 18-month to 2-year mark, Ally reached a tipping point where a majority of leads came from referrals. This shift reduced the grind of lead generation and showed the trust clients had in the company. When a company reaches this point, it also means more focus can be put on building the brand for long-term success.
1. Execution is key
Strategy often takes the spotlight, but Greg stresses the importance of execution. Strategy, after all, can only come to life with on point execution. Greg goes on to highlight the shift in focus towards the use of technology to streamline processes in order to enhance execution. In a world dominated by meetings and calls, using technology to ensure tasks are understood, timelines are met, and data is analysed has proven to be key.
2. From driver to guide
At this stage of the business, Greg notes a transition from being a driver to a guide. This requires a shift in mindset but with a clear vision, a well-aligned team, and a strong culture, Greg has found he’s now in a position where he can guide the company forward with less stress and more enjoyment.
3. Values and vision
Greg emphasises the importance of nailing your values and vision right from the start. He stresses the need to continually align objectives with your core principles and to relentlessly check progress against what you’ve set out. As Greg points out ‘repetition is a big part of parenting, and it’s the same in leadership.’ Constant repetition of the company’s core messaging is crucial, as well as maintaining honesty about team fit.
Looking ahead to the next three years, Greg shares his vision for scaling the business. While growth is on the horizon, the company remains committed to its core values of kindness, decency, and delivering exceptional work. Maintaining Ally’s values will be the main focus as the company scales.
At this 3-year mark, the focus now shifts towards professionalising the organisation, fine-tuning protocols, systems, and processes, and ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities.
3. Do good, be nice
Ally’s ultimate goal is to make their clients more successful by providing a premium service and to be known as a company that is made up of decent people that are easy to work with. In very simple terms, Greg has found that the key to success both for his own company and his clients is to ‘just do good and be nice.’ By doing this deceptively simple thing, Greg surmises that it ‘probably puts you in the top 5 to 10% of suppliers.’