For example, at the time five people were dedicated to paying invoices because Elytus pays bills on behalf of its customers. Hollis says the technology and payables staff developed new technology to manage the process, and today paying invoices is no longer a full-time job.
Throughout this process, he says nobody was displaced. Open positions weren’t filled and other employees were retrained and redeployed into positions that better matched the growth.
Hollis also became an advocate of pre-hiring and being a little overstaffed.
Elytus has very nontraditional job titles and functions. For instance, the manager of solutions realization is half customer service and half problem-solving, Hollis says.
“When you go out into the industry to hire people, what do they look for? They look for traditional job names. They look for traditional job descriptions,” he says.
Hollis says the job descriptions and titles are still unusual because they fit the company, but that means it’s always going to be hard to hire. To counteract that, Elytus constantly looks for candidates.
“If we find a good one, even if we don’t necessarily have the customers or ‘capacity,’ we’ll hire them — just because we’d rather get them in and get them trained, than be hoping to find somebody down the road that’s not as good of a fit,” he says.
Remember your passion
When you experience rapid growth, Hollis says it’s easy to focus on what’s breaking. Remind yourself that this is a great problem to have; it’s confirming your business and sales model.
You also can’t forget your passion. For Hollis, that’s his personal and business philosophy — waste nothing.
“When you have a million operational issues sitting on your desk, it’s really hard to remember why you do what you do,” Hollis says. “But when you do, and you can say: ‘I can get through this. I can help myself waste nothing. I can help my customers waste nothing.’ That’s really what I was passionate about. It’s the passion that will push you through it.”
At the same time, don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers.
“Don’t be embarrassed about the fact that your business doesn’t have it all together,” Hollis says. “Because you know what? Nobody does.
“Everybody has got issues. Don’t fake it. There’s no need to sit there and say business is great and everything is fine. You can say, ‘I’m in over my head and I’ve got a lot of issues. If you’ve got some advice, it’d be great.’”