Jere Simpson loves it when a plan comes together. As President and CEO of KITEWIRE Inc., a software development company that serves high security government departments and corporate security clients, made the Inc. 5000 list in 2016 for the third consecutive year, Jere is a big believer in setting detailed strategic plans for his business that he’s diligent about measuring.
KITEWIRE started as virtually a one-man show with Jere in place as the head programmer. Jere’s talent for strategy showed itself early on, hiring on more employees only as he landed more contracts. When an innovative idea to create mobile security software for the B2B industry promised to catapult KITEWIRE’s growth and earn him the capital he needed to scale his business, Jere applied another strategic plan and careful risk management to secure the financial backing he needed to complete the project.
Jere’s ability to balance innovation with strategic growth paved the way for KITEWIRE to expand into the consumer market with great products like netpure, a device that instantly creates parental controls for web surfing. In over 1,100 interviews that I’ve done with entrepreneurs, I’ve overwhelmingly seen that successful business owners craft their businesses around their natural talents. It’s a concept that I’ve written about in my book The First Habit, and one that Jere Simpson has implemented to great effect.
A Strategic Plan – Building the Playbook
He calls it his Playbook, identifying what each department and employee needs to do to help KITEWIRE reach its goals. The Playbook allows Jere to see which plays work, and which don’t. When he attended Birthing of Giants in April 2017, Jere laid out a high-level, six-year, strategic plan that he segmented into three-year and one-year goals. After returning to his company, he broke it down even further.
“We took that home and really started dissecting it into minutiae,” he says. “We actually broke it all the way down to the day.”
Jere says he’s on track so far, aiming to hit the different metrics required for the company to achieve the highest multiple. But there have been some challenges.
Idea Sharing Across Industries
After conducting some market research, he discovered that some product diversification was vital if he wanted to target new industries. Being part of Birthing of Giants Fellowship Week has helped him identify possible solutions he hadn’t previously thought of.
“I’m in a bit of an echo chamber in my industry,” he says. “The thing that’s been really valuable for me is listening to how people solved things in other industries. Often their solutions apply to ours and no one in our industry had thought of it. It spurs some really good ideas.”
The opportunity to receive an outsider’s perspective on the challenges his company is facing has been rewarding for Jere, but it also required him to adopt a new mindset himself.
“It’s a practice to say these are the things that keep me up at night, to be vulnerable,” he admits. “It takes a bit of jostling.”
Jere is confident that he’s moving in the right direction. That confidence has been bolstered by the clear plan he began developing at the program, and by the guidance he’s received from the community.
“I feel like I have more structure in place, so that when the winds of change come, I’ll feel less shaken by them,” he says.
Read my interview with Jere Simpson on Entrepreneur for more on how Jere manages risk while still pioneering innovation.
Birthing of Giants is an advanced education fellowship program for small and medium sized business owners and entrepreneurs. Each carefully selected group learns how to take their business to the next level via strategy-planning programs led by a team of leading entrepreneurs in American business. Our programs, including the One-Day MBA and the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program, allow business owners and entrepreneurs to learn from the wisdom of thousands of experienced business leaders. We help you implement proven strategies for sustaining and enhancing business growth.