Describe your business:
Amplify Advisors was founded on the belief that there is a better way to receive professional services. At Amplify, we call this better way, our client experience. Our client experience is relationship-centric. The foundation is our values. The experience that our clients get is represented by our name. We want to amplify. We are focused on growth, scale, strategy and leadership. We do this with the following services : Finance Leader (Fractional CFO, Advisory, Controller and Accounting services), Consulting (Complex Accounting, Automation, Business Process, Strategy & Executive Coaching), Recruiting (temporary and permanent placement of finance and accounting professionals) and finally, our newest service offering Amplify Tech (ERP NetSuite sales, implementation and maintenance).
Describe the growth of your business between where you are now and where you started?
Amplify was founded in mid-2018 by Jamie L. Smith and Jesse Ferguson. A lot has changed but at the same time a lot hasn’t. What has changed: we have added services, people, and geographies. What hasn’t changed: our values (5C’s of Connection, Candor, Courage, Curiosity and collaboration), Our Purpose (Enhancing Communities, Amplifying Opportunities, Cultivating Connections) and our focus of working with small and medium businesses through our best of the big people described as people that have the ability to work with any size of the company, are passionate and choose to work with our SME client base.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I would say what I’m most proud of as an entrepreneur is the fact that my business partner and I were able to walk away from good-paying and stable careers to the uncertainty of starting your own business while enjoying 99% of the process and journey along the way. In addition, I’m very proud to be providing jobs and opportunities for our people and adding jobs and value to our clients.
What is one of the most significant challenges that you have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur?
I would say the most challenging point we have faced as a business was in March 2020 when COVID-19 fell upon us. There was so much uncertainty, especially given that our recruiting services became very challenging to earn revenue in. With that said, I think we used this opportunity to grow and strive. First, we happened to be at the Donald Miller EO workshop the day the world shut down. We quickly realized that we had a lot of work to do around messaging and marketing. This likely wouldn’t have been as urgent if the news that day hadn’t transpired. We used this urgency to rebrand our website and our sales tactics and focus. We also instructed our team that they had full ability to help their clients in whatever way possible with whatever resources needed to get our clients through COVID-19. This meant hours spent forecasting, raising money and making hard decisions with our clients, where necessary. Yes, we incurred some short-term profitability losses in the months ahead, however, I truly believe that we played an integral part in our clients’ ability to survive and as a result, we had not one client go out of business. In addition, we have seen rapid growth across all service lines once the lock-downs and uncertainty (the new normal) came into effect.
What is your mindset when it comes to running your business?
My mindset to running a business is as follows: (1) when starting out a business, many entrepreneurs I come across focus too much on profitability in the early days. Sounds strange to say you shouldn’t do this but, in my opinion, having a hyper-focus on your business model and revenue models is by far more important than earning profit in the early days. Don’t get me wrong, you need some level of cashflow and profit to survive, but not at the expense of market validation on whatever business and revenue models you use. (2) Strategy – we use the “Playing To Win” strategy methodology. I really, really love this methodology as it focuses on how you are going to win, not just play the game. Coming from a background of professional hockey, this really resonates with me because the best teams I ever played on planned and executed a game plan to win so well vs. the ones that just played the game. (3) Structure – I’m obsessed with getting the right people in the right seat and having clear lines of accountability and focus. I have taken this obsession and inserted it into our Strategy Methodology and for me it takes the idea of strategy and aligns it with the tactics people need to complete to execute the strategy. (4) Finally Radical Transparency – I have found in many organizations that small issues turn into big issues because people are afraid to call things out when they see it. I believe the best way to run a business is to address issues head-on. Obviously, you need to have trust and a strong relationship to be able to confront things this way but when it’s done right, I believe this is the best way to run a business.
What are you hoping to gain from joining EO Calgary?
Really looking forward to meeting more Entrepreneurs in Calgary. In addition, having been in the Accelerator program for 2 years, I was able to attend a select number of events and I was amazed at the quality of individuals that EO Calgary was able to bring to the table.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start and run their own business?
Don’t be scared to take chances. When taking the chance, don’t just make decisions on gut, my advice would be to plan, plan, plan. Run the numbers, draw up the worst and best-case scenarios and then plan for the worst on expenses and expect the best for the top line. Focus on attracting great people.