Zoom is a company born out of a frustration. I was the VP of engineering for WebEx for 14 years before I moved to Cisco and over those years I spent a lot of time talking to customers. To me, customers are always the single most important thing and unhappy customers are a sure sign of a failure, and our customers were not happy.

I decided that the only way to solve our customers’ problems was to build a new, better video conferencing solution from the ground up. Cisco leadership didn’t want to make the necessary changes, so I founded my own company to build a solution from scratch.

Success has not been overnight and as a new growing company you must continuously benchmark your business against your competitors, even when everything is going well. Zoom now has over 700 employees worldwide, over a million businesses and 10,000 educational institutions use its solution and it has been valued at $1B.

For me the secrets of growing a business fast come down to an accumulation of factors The most of important of which, is happiness.

Happy employees equals happy customers!

My way of doing business is all about creating happiness on the journey. If your employees are just working toward some goal in the distant future, every day between now and then will be a slog and they may not care about the seemingly little things that have a big impact on the customer experience.

I stay focused on making my customers and employees happy on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s by responding to an email quickly, sending a gift or flowers, publicly acknowledging someone who has done a great job or following up with someone about a concern they had.

Unfortunately, many companies see happiness at work as an intangible “nice to have”, rather than an important organisational priority. While you can’t force employees to be happy – or control every factor that contributes to happiness – it’s still possible to create the conditions that will help to promote happiness and positivity at work.

Hire the right people and encourage a caring culture

Some people will say business is about money – but it’s not, it’s about people. Before you can even think about your company’s growth you need to ensure you have a solid team of passionate, intelligent and future thinking people, that are loyal and with you for the ride.

I look for lifelong learners. I typically ask people what book they’ve read most recently. This shows whether they are self-motivated, proactive people.

At Zoom, caring is our core value. We help ensure that Zoom is made up of caring people starting at the hiring process. We evaluate candidates on whether we believe they embrace the value of caring and deliver happiness for others. If they embrace our core value of caring and want to deliver happiness, then they will be self-motivated and will work harder for their teammates and their customers.

Develop your own company mantra or acronym to help stay focused

In business, a mantra is a statement used to create transformation and the statement is primarily a declaration made for your business team to inspire and unite them under a specific purpose. At Zoom I developed an acronym that I can reflect on every morning to help keep me and the team focused, called DEPCC.

D for Direction, E for Employees, P for Product, C for Customers, and C for Cash flow.

First, I ask myself: are we headed in the right direction? I think of the company as a big ship and I review our coordinates – the key company information I’m given every day – to ensure we’re heading in the right direction.

Then I consider if my team and I are doing all we can to ensure Zoom employees are happy. Does anyone have concerns, or is someone ill or going through a hard time? Do I need to recognise someone’s extraordinary efforts? I also focus on our products.

For example, has a project been delayed or faced unexpected obstacles? How can I help? “C” stands for customers. Are we working as hard as we can to meet our customers’ priorities and address any problems as thoroughly and quickly as possible? Are we doing all we can to make sure they know we care about them and their businesses?

Finally, I consider cash flow. Are our revenues and expenses on track? I make notes to be sure I follow up on any actions needed, and add a reminder to my calendar for any deadlines and dates.

Limit risk

Four in ten small companies don’t make it to five years old. It is tough running a business and making it a success by reducing risk is essential. Growing business owners need to look at insurance products or providers who can help protect the business with policies.

If there is one type of insurance you absolutely need it is general liability insurance. General liability can help protect you from lawsuits over employee conduct, product failure and other issues. If lack of cash flow is an issue, limit risk again by looking into low risk funding options such as grants or crowdfunding.

Be adaptable

One trait that successful businesses often have in common is the ability to switch directions quickly in response to changes in the market. It’s called ‘failing fast’ on the weaker ideas, but scaling quickly on the stronger ones. Being adaptable to development and looking at your current model and changing it should it need to be adapted will help you grow more quickly.

Concentrate on customer experience

A customer’s perception of your business can really make or break you. At Zoom, of course we want to disrupt the market positively, however we are more focused on helping our customers have the best, seamless value for money solution.

As a growing business you have the advantage of often being able to see, anticipate and respond to customer’s needs quickly. You can bring new and innovative services to market faster and build more naturing relationships.

I have learnt a lot by the failings of customer experience in the past. It’s essential to listen to your customers in real-time and take their input to heart and don’t be afraid to admit you have made a mistake and start fresh

Love what you do!

Success doesn’t just mean money, fame and power. It means being happy and enjoying the job that you do. If you don’t feel passionately about the industry you’re in and what you’re trying to achieve, you’re in the wrong line of work and you will struggle to make it a success. As the great Steve Jobs once said ‘ The only way to do great work is to love what you do’.

Eric Yuan is CEO and founder of Zoom Video Conferencing

Further reading on growing your business

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