We’re learning from each other and from our experiences on a day-to-day basis in order to achieve the goals we’ve set for our company.
Billy Giordano is the co-founder of StaffedUp, a web-based staffing platform designed for the retail and service industries. Giordano also manages and co-founded Room 38, an upscale restaurant and bar located in Columbia, Mo.
Where did the idea for StaffedUp come from?
My business partner, friend, and co-founder, Jeremy Phillips, and I have been in the restaurant business most of our lives. Hiring high-quality staff has always been a struggle, and there really has never been an efficient and reliable industry standard to solve this problem.
We developed StaffedUp while working together at my current restaurant in Columbia, Missouri, because we needed it! StaffedUp was built to provide a better way to track and qualify applicants and connect with those applicants when they’re really needed.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
All StaffedUp partners have full-time jobs or own businesses, so we’re all trying to juggle roles completely disassociated from StaffedUp.
We typically wake up early and spend a full day on our pre-StaffedUp lives while keeping in contact with one another regarding our StaffedUp needs. Then, we reconvene in the evenings for in-person meetings or remotely through screen sharing.
We’re all working hard to get the business off the ground and to succeed in our daytime roles. Making each day productive isn’t really a challenge; there’s always plenty to do!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Our team works really well together. We all have ideas, we all have a vision, and we all have our respective experiences. Most importantly, we let everyone’s voices be heard. We agree on a common direction, discuss the best approach, and then delegate the work to be done. It’s a very functional work environment that breeds well-executed results. A great team makes even the simplest idea exciting: If we can dream it, then we can make it a reality.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend that excites us (and scares us) the most is “smart” everything! We have smartphones, of course, but now we’re seeing smart products, smart tools, smart clothes, and even the smart web.
Websites are becoming more and more intuitive, providing effortless access to online products and creating more opportunities to provide high-level service to customers. We’re now using these tools to create an incredible platform that will completely change the way businesses hire.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a list maker. I constantly make lists, checking tasks off and adding to them throughout my day. If there’s something that needs my attention, then I make sure it’s in front of me until it’s finished — and finished well. Accomplishing that last check mark is always my goal each day. While constantly adding to the list makes that difficult to attain, it keeps me focused and productive every second of the day.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
Throughout most of my life, I’ve been blessed to work in positions I’ve actually enjoyed and wanted to succeed in.
I’d say the worst job I ever had was my freshman year of college. I couldn’t find a job I enjoyed, so I settled for working as a telemarketer. Did I despise my management? Yep. Was the task at hand unbearable? Absolutely.
What the job taught me, however, is that if you go into a bad situation with a good attitude, then you’ll still succeed and find satisfaction in what you do.
It’s tough being stuck in something you don’t love to do, but just remember that it’s a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be. Put your best foot forward; your next step will almost certainly be better than the previous.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
We built the team during Startup Weekend in Columbia, and the team did have a few misunderstandings about the direction of the company after the weekend. While most of us had opened, managed, or run businesses in one way or another, this was a new experience for all of us.
What would I do differently? I’d say that no matter what the atmosphere, and regardless of pre-existing relationships within the team, upfront communication about the business direction should always be the first step. Without a strong foundation supporting the team and partnership, even the best idea is worthless.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I analyze and reanalyze everything. Just because something is successful now doesn’t mean it will continue to succeed without attention. With anything in life — whether it’s a personal relationship or a professional accomplishment — success cannot come without constant evaluation and attention. Some might call it never being satisfied, but I like to call it constant satisfaction.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
It’s so important to be open to learning. All of us at StaffedUp are stepping outside our comfort zones. We’re learning from each other and from our experiences on a day-to-day basis in order to achieve the goals we’ve set for our company. As a team, we may know a lot, but we’re learning more and more every day. We’re constantly becoming better and better at what we do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur, I’ve only been disappointed once thus far. I once opened a business based simply on a healthy business model that required little of my time; I didn’t open it because I had a passion for it. Lesson learned.
Money is nice, but in my experience, true success comes from loving what you do. If you have the chance to choose what you do, then why not choose what you love? Overcoming failure wasn’t easy, but it helped me excel in what I have a true passion for, and it taught me a valuable lesson you can’t learn from a book.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The Uber/Lyft concept is sweeping the nation, right? With all the cab companies struggling to keep up, why hasn’t someone developed a similar app for these companies to subscribe to? Level the playing field while creating a profitable and sustainable business model! I’m happy to hop on board if anybody takes the idea.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? Why did you spend it?
I bought an hour-and-a-half massage. My life is always go-go-go; I wanted a dedicated time when I didn’t have any choice but to shut off my phone, ignore the outside world, relieve some physical stress, and mentally decompress.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I think the better question is “What don’t I use?” Between StaffedUp, my restaurant business, and my personal life, I think I use them all!
However, as a business owner, I couldn’t live without QuickBooks. I use it 10 times per day to reconcile the balance sheet, balance accounts, check reports, pay vendors, and more. Without QuickBooks, my life would be lost.
What is one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
The day we won Columbia’s Startup Weekend, a close friend told me to read “Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist” as soon as I could. While it took me longer than I’d like to admit to getting started, I’m now deep into it and learning so much. If you’re in the startup word and even considering taking venture capital, read this book!
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Pat Flynn. Check out the Smart Passive Income blog and podcast.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.