On Tuesday during the monthly All Staff Meeting, Shiftgig hosted its second Barside Chat, featuring Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter.
Alex gave a great perspective on the growth of a company. He had started out as one of the first three employees at Cars.com in 1998. Over the course of 17 years, he helped take the company from their first $1000 dollar to a valuation of $2.5 billion.
Alex Vetter, CEO of Cars.com, and Shiftgig CEO Eddie Lou
“I remember being here, talking about month to month plans. Now we are making 5 year plans,” he said. “Keep focused and the momentum will kick in.”
Speaking on the challenges of building offices in other cities, Alex emphasized the need to keep satellite offices connected and in the loop. “Keeping everyone connected to the mothership should be something everyone should make a priority,” he advised.
He had a few key rules for succeeding in scaling a business. First, Alex said to make sure your company is solving a real problem. There has to be a core issue that you are improving if your business is to survive. This is definitely a strength he sees in Shiftgig, which is finding solutions to staffing problems in the service industry.
Second, he advised that companies should “be quick, be nimble, and build a moat.” It is important to move and adapt quickly so you can get out ahead and own the category before potential competitors.
Finally, Alex suggested that you should spend less time trying to win over detractors. Instead, build up your supporters and make them successful; they will become evangelists for your brand and help develop the change needed for your company to gain new ground.
On a personal level, Alex said he found success in always being curious. He held many roles in Cars.com, starting in product, then moving to sales before taking an executive role. “I never wanted the easy jobs – I chased the biggest problems. I knew if I could fix that, I’d get the next job.” He advised the group to listen more than talk; in the end, you’ll have learned a lot.
He was excited to have seen the growth Shiftgig has made. With offices now in New York and Dallas as well as Chicago, Alex encouraged the team to keep up the momentum and keep doing exciting things for the service industry.
Good advice from a great businessman. Thanks, Alex Vetter!