Running and scaling a software company - introduction.

Posted by Paweł Małkowiak on January 29, 2019

Introduction

There are a lot of software developers in Poland. A lot. It started out slowly, but over the years people realised it’s a pretty good job here - high salaries (compared to to the national median), many job offers from foreign companies, and stable income.

My name is Paweł, and I’m one of them.

I graduated from the University of Science and Technology in Cracow, Faculty of Automation and Robotics, stayed around afterwards and picked up a job as a junior software developer at Ericsson. I switched companies a few times, and every time the change came with a promotion or raise. I worked for companies like Sabre, Oracle, and UBS. They say everybody wants to open a bar with friends at some point in their life and I think that’s what happened to me - I was always talking and thinking about opening my own technology company.

As far as I understood it, there were two ways. One would be to have an IT product and develop it. Another, running a company that creates IT products for others.

Well... we could now jump to summarising my adventures with my own product, but some subjects better be buried... Instead, let’s focus on the bright side and talk about running a software house/software company/software agency/IT company/bespoke software development company and any other term that describes building and delivering software to companies (you learn how many terms there is in the world to describe it as soon as you start to care about SEO...).

Software development company

Scaling a software house.

I can’t say what’s more difficult: starting a company and making it through the first year or scaling it up so it becomes a real business. Here’s one thing I know for sure: the amount of knowledge, experience, and relationships required to accomplish the latter is massive.

In this series of articles, I don’t want to talk about the real beginning, as I don't want to describe the joy and struggle that are part of running a company for the very first time. Solidstudio has just celebrated its first anniversary. Within one year, we grew from 3 developers focused on a single client to 10 people working with three different clients and with the appetite for more.

As a guy with no business education or experience, I want to take a look at several areas that (at this very moment!) are our main challenges and things we consider as must-have to build a self-organised, financially stable, and trustworthy IT company.

How to run a software development company?

Ok, but will I be sharing real insights?

Absolutely!

There are many great places to build knowledge about running a company, even an IT company specifically. There are many great books and blogs written by Polish and English authors. Podcasts are still a pretty new thing, but they’re growing fast - for me, podcasts turned out to be the best source of information. Stories of how companies were built, sales lessons, case studies and many, many more.

There is one thing that annoyed me in all of this content - the lack of details. Numbers, detailed descriptions of SEO strategies, numbers of leads that transform into SQL (Sales Qualified Lead - yeah, difficult acronym.. just learned it a few months ago), named examples.

With this article, I want to start a series of posts where I share my experience. It’s not going to be about how to build a successful company. It will describe one’s journey while trying to do that. And it will be a series that features all the details I’ve mentioned above (limited by common sense and legal agreements).

I hope it will be of some use to others and offer valuable insights about the IT industry. I’m still discussing subjects of next articles - if you have any preferences or are particularly interested in a topic, please let me know, I’ll try to figure it out.

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