Daren Nordhagen, co-founder of Foundant Technologies, is from the middle of nowhere. Well, a small suburb of the middle of nowhere, a designation once mathematically granted to Glasgow, Montana by the Washington Post.
On November 14th, Daren demonstrated the power of coming from out of nowhere during Dog Eat Hog IV, our quarterly speaker series that dishes up tips from dogged challengers that are crushing market hogs. His Bozeman-based philanthropic software company, Foundant, is now the market leader in the grants management market.
How did they get there? Daren offered up 10 key takeaways to show how the company developed by small (but mighty) increments, rather than by giant directional pivots.
- Set sights on a bigger goals. Visions can change, so adapt.
- Continue to focus on the mission and purpose—and look to maximize impact within that sphere.
- When it comes down to succession and sustainability, look for outcomes that work for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
- Commit to customer success. Customer service isn’t a cost center, it’s both a sales and marketing tool that needs to be invested in.
- Make ongoing decisions with long-term perspective, NOT by focusing on quarterly results.
- Companies are made up of people, not products. Set core values, hire great people, and work hard to build a culture of trust and respect that’s evident in everyone from founders to interns.
- When it comes to decision-making, look for the right blend of focus versus flexibility, increment versus pivot.
- Look for ways to stay in control when considering bootstrapping in contrast with equity events.
- Be opportunistic when you get lucky.
- Be a friendly gorilla, not the fat-and-happy market hog. Foundant connects the greater philanthropic market, serves all stakeholders, and thinks long-term.