Focus on People

John McMahon Executive Vice President/Group Publisher
John McMahon Executive Vice President/Group Publisher

I recently sat down with Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Cvent, a publicly traded company that builds event planning software. Cvent is a company that went through a roller-coaster ride in its 16-year life cycle. At its lowest point, the company had no money to pay the rent or the staff. Reggie had maxed out his credit and was days from closing his doors. Here are a few tips that not only kept his business going, but also put Cvent light-years ahead of the competition, as the company went from six to 2,000 employees worldwide:

1. Be the best at one thing before you expand into other things. You will only dilute what you have if you spread yourself too thin.

2. The number-one desirable attribute in hiring employees is creativity over all else.

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3. The most successful business leaders are serial entrepreneurs. Hire “intrepreneurs,” people who take ownership of your business and treat it as their own.

4. A players hire A players. B players hire C players. D players hire F players because they fear for their jobs and don’t want anyone around who could outshine them, a recipe for failure. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and complement your weaknesses.

5. Don’t focus on the client, focus on your staff. You are only one person so your reach is limited to drive growth. If you can mold lots of you, everything multiplies.

As I heard these lessons of success I was in Washington, DC. Cvent is based in Tyson’s Corner, VA. It made me think of McCabe World Travel only a few minutes up the road in McLean, VA.

Owner/Entrepreneur Damien McCabe and serial intrepreneur Anne Scully live by many of the same rules and are just as successful in building a travel consultancy business. It must be something in the water in this corner of the world, and I am sure Reggie could use a good travel advisor with all that money he is making … go get him, Anne!

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