Since returning to Venntro Media Group as CEO at the beginning of 2018 after spending 18 months in the wilderness as "chairman" (a role that I didn't really enjoy - and my waistline even less so) I wanted to reflect on the changes we've made to how we run the business and in particular, the commercial and technology stack we use to run the business.
In many ways, this technology and process has become "VenntroOS" - the operating system for how to run our business.
A CEO with major imposter syndrome
In the early days of Venntro Media Group (well, until I left the business in 2016 if I'm honest) I was obsessed with growth at all costs - growth of revenues, growth of people and growth of offices. Frankly, it was all fundamentally about growing the ego of a CEO who had major imposter syndrome for many years (by the way, that was me - if that wasn't clear).
I used to take pride in having shiny Covent Garden offices , a massively unnecessary and overinflated headcount (185 staff at our peak) and an equally ridiculous salary bill. I would flip between micromanagement and abdication of management and I flittered around the business, bored that our core business was so easy.
Things got hard for us in mid-2014 and the bloated business we'd become started coming apart over the next two years.
I stepped back to reflect on what kind of CEO I wanted to be
I stepped aside as CEO in mid-2016 and spent the next 18 months reading and reflecting on what kind of entrepreneur and CEO I wanted to be and what kind of company I wanted to lead. I also did my part during an IVF process to become a father for the first time - an experience which radically transformed my priorities, my view of the world and my perspective on time.
By the end of 2017 I was ready to return to the business I founded and make the changes I deemed necessary if the business was to prosper again and become the business that I wanted to lead.
The implementation of new technology solutions
There were many changes to be made, but I'll save most of them for another time - for now I would like to concentrate on how we implemented technology solutions to massively reduce our headcount whilst still delivering (or in most cases improving upon) the same output.
Fundamentally, this was about democratising access to information and destroying silos of fiefdoms that I'd allowed to be built up around the business where one or two individuals wielded far too much power (this is definitely a subject worthy of a more detailed post or perhaps a book given the amount of content I have).
I regard these tools as the core ingredients in the Michelin-starred tasting menu that is Venntro today. But I'm happy to share these openly as the skill of a business leader is in how you combine these ingredients to create the magic.
Fundamentally, I have broken these down into commercial tools which are used around the business and finance/BI tools which are used mostly by the numbers people.
Keep you eyes open for our next article, where I'll outline - in detail - the commercial tools used to transform Venntro.
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