Tech founder Austin Veith of Boulder, Colorado is no stranger to starting businesses and making them successful. In fact, he even says he’s more attracted to projects that are struggling, and that when his leadership starts to help them succeed he begins to lose interest and often hands them off to a different team that can build on his foundation and help them grow.
As a man who comes into industries looking for profit and growth potential in challenging markets, Austin Veith has a lot to juggle in his time. He started young, opening his first company while he was still in college, selling tours to other college students. Then he opened a brick and motor business, a tanning salon Austin Veith says was a no-brainer because it was just across the street from 4 sorority houses.
But that experience was enough to tell Austin Veith that he wanted to work in a business that didn’t need quite so much manpower. Running a brick-and-mortar business meant that he spent most of his time managing employees and taking care of staffing concerns when what he really wanted to focus on was building the company and expanding.
So, he decided to make a big move, switching from the brick-and-mortar business to the tech industry. The attraction was, in part, the fact that a small team with the right talents can create a company with incredible potential.
After his move to tech, Austin Veith will be the first to admit that he made some mistakes, and that youthful confidence and bravado sometimes got in his way or made it harder to succeed. But, years later, he’s turned those mistakes into valuable lessons on how to run a business and make it profitable.
So, what does he focus on to keep his companies profitable and running smoothly? Three core things that work no matter what company you’re running or what business you’re in:
- Time Management
- Corporate Culture
- Knowing Who Is Right For The Job
Why Techstars Alum Austin Veith Focuses On Time Management
Running a company is a full-time job, sometimes two or three full-time jobs. And Austin Veith admits that it gets harder once you’re not in your 20s anymore. Balancing work demands with the demands of your regular life is a must for any entrepreneur, but especially for entrepreneurs like Austin Veith with more than one project to manage.
Self-accountability and the ability to prioritize work and make good use of time are among the top skills Austin Veith looks for, not just in himself, but in his entire distributed workforce.
It’s time management that makes a seemingly impossible list of tasks doable, and that means understanding how much time each project is going to take, and working to make sure you have enough time to tackle each part of the project.
How does he do it? By focusing on the most time-consuming tasks first, and then coming back for the faster or easier tasks on his list.
Why Does Corporate Culture Matter?
In one of his early companies, Austin Veith of Boulder, CO talks about an engineer that did a lot of critical work – but ultimately left the company because he felt undervalued and under-prioritized.
The priorities at the top matter for everyone at a company. Austin Vieth experienced that himself working a restaurant job while he was in college in Boulder, Colorado. The company focused on a lot of policies that seemed to create a social hierarchy and a lot of stress for employees, including Austin Veith, which is ultimately why he rates that restaurant job as the worst one he’s ever worked. And that’s despite continuing to work in the food industry for years after he left!
Those two lessons taught Austin Veith that people are only willing to put up with so much, no matter how well paid they are.
If you want top talent, you need to treat them like they are top talent and like they matter to your company. Because they do.
Knowing Who Is Right For The Job – And When That Isn’t You
Austin Veith works so hard for his clients that one of them even offered him a position as CEO. Unfortunately, while the opportunity was a good one, Veith knew that he wasn’t quite the right person for the job, “What was a great opportunity for me personally, would most likely not have been in the best interest of the company, so I had to decline. Instead, I offered to help find that person who had the network and industry experience that I lacked and to support them in whatever way I could.
Putting the right person in the right position is critical for building successful businesses, even if that means acknowledging that you, or someone on your current team, isn’t that person.
Because people who can do a job and people who can excel in that job aren’t always the same person. That’s not a bad thing. Finding the top talent for each role, and recognizing people’s strengths and weaknesses can only help your business thrive.