Not all of the key elements to success for a new company are based upon measurements of market size and unit profit margins. Sometimes the pivotal factor is simply the personal touch of an entrepreneur.
This is the story of Broadcast Software, which started operations in 1995. The company created digital audio and automation software for radio stations. With no outside investors, the business grew to 16 employees and customers in 40 countries within 4 years. Just when the company needed capital for expansion to the next level, the technology crash began. Potential funding sources were no longer available.
But, the hands-on CEO did not give up. He had already made an effort to know most of the customers. So his next logical step in crises mode was informing his team to notify customers that he would personally help satisfy any problem or complaint. No bunker mentality for this business owner. He eventually received a call in the middle of the night on a weekend from a complaining customer. The caller had purchased a system for his small-market radio station and was struggling with installation. The main difficulty was his lack of computer skills. The helpful Broadcast Software CEO spent the next two hours on the phone explaining how to configure the system.
The customer was apparently satisfied and didn’t call again for any tech support. But, six months later, a call arrived from the chief engineer at a major media company. While the Broadcast Software founder was still worrying about his capital limitations, the new caller stated that he intended to standardize the software across all 300 radio stations operated by his employer. That amounted to a $4 million order – more than enough to resolve the financial trouble at Broadcast Software.
As it turns out, the instigator of this sale was the owner of the small-market station that had received help in the middle of the night from the CEO of Broadcast Software. The media giant had recently purchased the small station and kept the former owner as a consultant. That’s who recommended Broadcast Software.
The company experienced the financial boost it needed because of basic customer service that started with the founder. A valuable lesson when starting a company – even with limited capital – is that success is possible by executing the simple things.