In 2011, Jody Chaffin and business partner David Rutter founded the mobile app and software development company The App Pros. By January of 2015, The App Pros had merged with two other companies to form Interactive Dynamics. After having gone through the start-up process several times, Chaffin shares his best veteran’s advice.
Tip 1: Work with an accountant to plan for how your successes will impact your taxes. “The biggest mistake that we made was we invested a lot of money in the business by not taking a salary. When you’re dealing with software, you’re dealing with what’s here in a computer, so you don’t have a lot of expense other than salary. We really should have put that money in and paid ourselves out of it, so it would have shown the investment that we really did make.”
Tip 2: If all you want to be is a technician, just go get a job somewhere. “You’ve got to love business to grow a business. To lead a business you’ve got to really love it and love the challenges and be willing to give up that technical role. Any time you’re leading anything, your primary job is as chief vision setter, knowing where you’re going to go and how you’re going to get there.”
Tip 3: Constantly be looking at what’s next, or you’ll get left behind. “That was the whole leap that The App Pros had. We saw what was coming, and we were able to get out in front of it. What’s next? Not just what’s next in the product road map, but what’s next holistically, and how are we going to get there? You’ve got to constantly be looking at that.”