Growing a business in the age of COVID and the Great Resignation

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While the past two years brought an unprecedented array of challenges, a local technology business has found an edge (and a key to growth) through a non-technology solution-focused approach on people and relationships. 

Buddy Web Design & Development, a Grand Rapids-based website development company, said its growth over the past two years largely is due to its focus on building an excellent team and providing an outstanding customer experience.

“Our mantra is ‘Do great work. Be great to work with,’” said Scott Daigger, founder and owner. “While needing to do excellent work from a technology standpoint is an obvious requirement, our ability to really grow and thrive as a business has been directly related to only bringing on the highest quality talent, building a high-performing team culture, and taking great care of our customers.”

With over 47 million U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs in 2021, Daigger said offering this positive work environment was key in attracting and retaining talent.

“When I started Buddy in 2019, it was a pretty deliberate choice to structure the business in a way that it could function completely remotely and location-independent,” he said.

While headquartered in Grand Rapids, this flexibility allowed Buddy to grow its team with developers, project managers and sales professionals from across the country. Tools such as Zoom, Slack and Google Workspace have made this structure much easier.

“It’s nice that we were a little ahead of the game with this approach, even before COVID,” Daigger said.

Technology aside, Daigger said people and culture have been a much larger driver of growth. While these tools are helpful, he said they’re just that: tools. A key focus for Buddy has been attracting people who are looking for a flexible and relaxed environment but even more so want to utilize their talents and be part of a high-performing team.

“I have a deeply held belief that top performers truly want to do a good job and excel in their work, and they want to work with other highly motivated high performers,” Daigger said.

This approach, he said, has made managing the team easy, in that he is able to set the proper direction, and these individuals quickly become largely self-managing, which is key in a remote work environment.

“We’ve reviewed literally thousands of applications to find just a few key team members,” he said.

Offering remote work increased the potential talent pool for Buddy and also has allowed the company to be selective in its hires.

The company has grown quickly, according to Daigger, particularly in the past year, with clients coming from across the U.S.

With this approach, Daigger said Buddy has worked with an array of clients ranging from health care and medical devices to industrial manufacturing and even celebrities. Part of the traction in the health care and medical device spaces comes from Daigger’s own past experience.

Daigger previously worked for Spectrum Health, managing its Innovations program, working with clinicians and staff to develop and launch new technology for health care.

“At Spectrum, I worked with professionals at all levels of the organization, across all departments and with a huge range of personalities and backgrounds,” he said.

Daigger said this experience has helped him in his work with Buddy. 

“A big lesson learned from that experience was that whether you’re working on developing a new medical device, launching a software platform or implementing new processes, there are so many stakeholders,” he said. “Being able to build relationships and work well with others, although cliche, is so key.

“When we’re bringing on new team members, it’s critical that they’re not just amazing at their technical work, but they also need to be wonderful to work with — for our team members and with our clients.”

According to Daigger, Buddy’s culture and approach extends to its clients as well, and the company has been selective to find appropriate client fits.

“I try to be as transparent as possible with clients and emphasize that we’re on the same page,” he said. “They want a great website and a stress-free experience working together, and we want that too. So, if it doesn’t seem like a situation where we can knock it out of the park for them, I’m the first to let them know.”

This approach, Daigger said, seems to resonate with clients and has led to an increase in business referrals.

The most rewarding part of this journey so far, according to Daigger, is the relationships with team members and clients.

“We’ve been so fortunate to build a great team and work with some really amazing clients,” he said. “There’s some particularly cool projects in our pipeline, and we’re really excited to show them off.”

More information about Buddy Web Design & Development is here.

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