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Business Observer Friday, May 18, 2018 5 months ago

Tech firm hopes acquisition doubles revenue, to nearly $8 million

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Good hires and a focus on customer service have helped Brad Fuller grow his company rapidly.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributor

There’s no slowdown in sight at Lightspeed Voice.

About a year ago, the VoIP telecom provider moved from North Port to a 10,000-square-foot building on Triple Diamond Boulevard in North Venice. Since the move the company’s staff has increased from 12 employees to 31, and it’s continuing to build out the new office to ensure room for 30 more future hires.

Lightspeed Voice also recently acquired New Jersey-based the Follow-Up Tool, a lead-management automation system for the firm’s insurance industry customers, which make up 90% of its client base. It’s projecting revenues of around $8 million in 2018.

“I love what I’m doing,” says company founder Brad Fuller. “I think the best thing about being an entrepreneur is being able to blaze your own path. But the worst part is the same exact thing. Blazing your own path — that’s the unknown. You’re out there with a virtual machete.”

• Hire well. Fuller knows he won’t succeed without a top-notch team alongside him. “We don’t hire people who don’t see the vision with us,” he says. Job applicants are asked to send introductory videos along with their resumes to show their willingness to step outside the box. Offbeat questions during in-person interviews (here’s one: “give five uses for a stapler besides stapling papers.”) help candidates demonstrate how they might react to different situations they could encounter while working at the company.

• Stand out. Clients want more than just reliable telecommunications products. “In any industry there is mounting competition, and it’s so difficult to differentiate yourself,” says Fuller. “Every company likes to say they have excellent customer service, but we put our money where our mouth is. We have a laser focus on customer service.”

• Have patience. This can be tricky, especially in our instant gratification culture. “You can’t fix everything all at once, and you can’t be everything you want to be all at once,” says Fuller. “It’s a work in progress. Perseverance and follow-through will get you where you want to be.”

• Don’t be afraid to fail. “We’re constantly learning from mistakes,” says Fuller. “I think it would be a mistake to not have mistakes, because that means you’re not putting forth any effort.” One recent learning opportunity: personnel and corporate culture issues caused by internal communication missteps. “One unhappy person can poison the rest of the team,” says Fuller. “It’s a downward spiral, and it’s hard to climb out of that hole.”

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