So, before we dive into the question dejure. Can you please provide us with some context? Give us a quick summary of what your company does and how long you've been running it for?
Yeah, great. So Cardata provides the simplest and most cost effective way for companies to empower their employees to use their personal car for work. So many times, you have field reps or service reps that need to drive every day for work, whether it's you're selling to your local accounts, or you're servicing something related to Pharma. So we provide the technology and service to empower those folks to use their personal car.
Awesome. And how long have you been running the company for?
So we've been running it just under two years, we're hitting the two year anniversary mark in February.
Excellent. So we're profiling four different CEOs on this episode and you fit into what I've loosely described as the settled in or at least settling in bucket, roughly two years or so on the job. So utilizing that lens, I'll ask you the same question that I'm asking each of our CEOs in today's episode, which is, can you please share with us some of the seemingly small changes that you've made that have had an outsized impact whether it's financial, operational, or even personal?
Yeah, so I would probably start with a marketing piece of this. When we were exploring, acquiring the business, the messaging was pretty technical. The business was framed up as a consulting business, which it really truly wasn't. So ultimately, we really tried to simplify the the messaging around the brand. So we went from cardata consultants down to Cardata, the domain URL from cardataconsultants.com, to cardata.co, we re designed the website to really nail down what is our key value pitch. And I think anytime we send folks our way, it's pretty crystal, what we do based on the website. So it's really helped us kind of clearly communicate to the market, who we are, what we do, why we're, you know, doing what we do. And it's been helpful.
Now, would you classify this as a fundamental change in the business? Or is this a change in the messaging in the the underlying business is reasonably similar?
Yeah, it's definitely a change in the messaging, nothing's ultimately changed in the products that we've offered. But it's more about how we present to the market. You know, being Tech first focused, reinforcing what's driven the business and past, which has been our support, and product teams. So, it's definitely more of a messaging and visual piece to this.
And in my experience, this is not abnormal. In fact, in my own company, having purchased it from technical co founders, I had the same issue, one could spend 30 minutes on our old website and still not be entirely sure what it is that we actually did. And as an investor, I've seen this a few different times now. So this is not something that is atypical. In terms of changing the messaging, Sheret, was this something that you guys did utilizing internal resources, like an internal marketing team, for example? Or did you partner with an external service provider to help you change the messaging?
No, it's funny, you have these agencies that are pitching you 50, 100 grand to do all this stuff, right. Ultimately, I have a small kind of group of folks internally, just internally. So whether it was the logo, whether it was the design of the website, we did I think for under six grand, so it was pretty. I called gunslinging. But we definitely took more of an internal cost focused approach to this.
So clarifying, streamlining, simplifying your messaging has yielded meaningful benefits for you, does an example or two come to mind in terms of like what kinds of benefits have accrued to you as a result of making this change?
I think anytime you're talking to people that don't know the business, they're coming with a bit more knowledge to these discussions than I found was occurring, because they understood already what we did, who we were, what we were selling. And so the first 15 minutes of any conversations now dedicated to walking through our product suite and Solution Suite, it was really designed to value creating discussion points. So it's helped from a sales perspective, I'd say.
Excellent. Before we hit record, we talked about two other decisions that fall under this category of asymmetric benefit relative to the time and energy and cause that was made. So maybe we can move on to change number two.
Yeah, so I would say the biggest, I think the biggest shift for us as a business has been the team growth has been pretty tremendous. We grew from 15 people to over 70, within two years. So it totally transitioned from being a family business, to being really a team based business. And with that comes different value systems that were important to my partner, and whether it would be continuous improvement, whether it's bravery, or whether it's being adaptable, those were things that were important to us that not necessarily were critical in the in the old regime. So we really needed to think through how do we build a high performance culture around these missions and values. And so we went through a whole mission vision values exercise, which again, seems kind of trivial, but ultimately, is driving behavior internally.
I'd love to focus on this because so many CEOs think that mission and vision and values are ultimately just kind of hollow platitudes that sit in a few posters that reside on the office wall somewhere. And that's about where their value starts and stops. I have a couple of follow up questions on this. First of all, what framework did you use, if any, to actually go through the process of creating or discovering your mission, vision and values? Was it something that you just kind of did on your own? Did you use a book? Did you use a framework? What did you guys actually do?
I would say this was an HR led initiative in the sense that we collected data from our employees about what was important to them, so that we incorporated the existing pieces of information that we may have missed and just our own conversations. But Mike, and I really owned the mission and vision. And really what that meant is, why do we exist? And where do we want to go? Right, and we have competitors in this space that focus on other things, and we wanted to crystallize our key focus. So that's where the mission and vision really stemmed from was our conversations and our strategy. The values incorporated both as a team based feedback and then also, you know, again, what was important to Mike and I, so there wasn't really a hard framework that we followed, but it was an HR initiative.
Now, can you respond to a skeptical CEO who might be listening to this and saying, well, hey, I've got five fires that I got to put out in my inbox right now. I don't have time for this fluffy stuff. Maybe you can speak to that skeptical CEO, and perhaps speak to at a very tactical level, like, how do you actually use these things? Do you use them in hiring decisions, promotional decisions, you know, products to work on versus products not to work on? In what way do these like tangibly create value for you and or your employees?
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, we are a people business, right? Like, we sell software, but we are people business, and why we've been able to win has been the efforts of our people. And so ultimately, if we don't get that right, the business won't succeed, and we won't hit her our business goals. So I would say this is mission critical to get this right. And it does impact our recruiting efforts, who we're talking to, you know, behaviors we're looking for, case studies that we're looking to kind of align to our value system. And then I would say how we reinforce these is we have a, we're trying to build a culture of recognition, and doing it and more of a good townhall form. So we've procured software to effectively be able to tag these values to recognize folks that, you know, deliver on on any of them. And so it's one that we will assign actual points, which is there's a monetary value to those points. So people are getting paid to recognize folks for the behaviors that really align to these values. So it's somewhat of a no singular loop that we're trying to install in the in the business and it's worked so far. I think there's a version two to this that we're thinking through, but it definitely helps set the foundation.
Now, given that at least 15 of the original employees are not folks that you originally hired, but you wanted to instill a concrete set of values into your organization. This might sound like semantics, but I think it actually is an important distinction. Can you walk me through in terms of the birth of these values, were they created or were they discovered? And I'll clarify what I mean. To create values means to, you know, come up with a list of values that you would like your organization to have. To discover values is to go through an exercise to try to discover or at least codify the values that already exist within your organization. Can you just talk about whether you took more of a creative approach or more of a discover approach? And why you decided to approach it in the way that you did?
I think we went through the discovery process, but ultimately created what was important to us or counterfactual to what we were seeing in practice. So we really felt like once the discovery to A, learn what was important to everybody, and to see whether that not aligned to what was important to Mike and I. or ultimately, like, maybe there was values that were important to them that could have been true for the last 20 years, but won't be true for the next 20 years. Right. So we went through discovery, but ultimately, we went through more of the value creation.
And given that you've been running the company for about two years, when did you start this undertaking? And how did you think about when to start including the risk of potentially diving into an undertaking like this too early? Or potentially even too late? How did you think about timing and when to pull the trigger on this?
Well, I will say like our early hiring plan, we definitely hired HR as one of our early hires in this whole thing. And Lindsay, who's our head of HR had a seat at the table to really lead the initiative. So I think setting the foundation really has helped us achieve the growth that we've been able to achieve. I mean, we were on on pace to triple the business by the time, the second year anniversary comes around in February. So it's been a Herculean effort to get this whole thing together. And like I said, like we are in people business, and whether it's investing 100 people and creating the right tools and frameworks for them to follow, has been pretty critical.
Awesome. Let's move to last but not least, change number three.
Yeah, so this was more on, I would say, the pricing side, we moved from an ala carte model where folks could piecemeal what they wanted to procure to an all in one pricing to one, I think standardize the invoicing practices and two, align to market standards. So this has this has simplified our internal process, but also to the customers. It almost relieves them of the decision of overthinking what they want, and ultimately be able to benefit from all the products that we offer. So it has helped on on many fronts.
What were some of the worries or concerns that you had before implementing a more simplified, streamlined pricing structure? And did any of those worries end up materializing?
Yeah, I mean, I think the worry would be that you don't know how customers are gonna react to it, or prospects are going to react or if competitors change their strategy, we will have to come kind of revert back. But I think ultimately, those concerns did not materialize. Because a lot of these just come down to a conversation between yourself and who's ever on the other side. And many people just understand the benefit once you walk through it. I think the other thing too, is like when you give someone a ton of choice, I think there's some data to suggest that it actually creates more confusion and more anxiety in the buying process. So it's been able to smooth out our proposal structure and be able to get things in front of customers more of an efficient manner.
And to what extent did you look at competitor pricing, both the amount of the pricing and like the structure or how they wrap their pricing in coming to your decision, or was this largely internally based?
Yeah, I mean, this was more of an internally based and I think this just helped us simplify how we were invoicing customers and also we have prospects come to us, asking us if we did this, if we did that. And ultimately, you know, it created confusion when we priced these things out separately. So, like I said like this completely simplified the pitch to the prospect, but it wasn't really driven by any kind of market research.
Awesome, Sheret. We appreciate your time today. Thank you for joining us.