Mark Kuhn, co-founder and CEO of Oat Foundry
OAT FOUNDRY IS AN AGENCY OF ENGINEERS WHO DESIGN AND BUILD ‘COOL STUFF’.
In our first year, Oat Foundry’s founders went without salaries to buy critical machinery and tools that would allow the company and its client-base to keep growing. We develop everything from split-flap displays to a cold-brew plant for brands and companies.
A large first milestone Oat Foundry set was [hitting US$300k in revenue] to be able to pay nominal salaries while continuing to maintain the growth trajectory of the business.
The first month we were able to do that was just after our first birthday, in August, 2014. It’s still one of my proudest achievements.
When Oat Foundry came up with this goal we were generating revenue, but we knew that if it wasn’t enough to pay employees, contractors and ourselves it would only be a matter of time before we seriously faltered or failed.
The biggest obstacle in achieving this goal was ourselves – our own courage to ask for what we thought we were worth and deserved.
One of the most meaningful moves we made in the direction of our first milestone was solidifying a reliable board of advisers – mentors to fill in skill gaps. They were the ones who encouraged us to create a separate sales position, and kicked our butts to continually sell, sell, sell!
Operating in a vacuum is dangerous. It’s important to prototype early and often – this is particularly true of any assumptions and ideas.
Our next milestone is the successful launch of a product that generates US$1 million-plus in profit. We’re on our way.
Surround yourself with smart people who will kick your butt.