In this episode of How to CEO, I had the opportunity to talk with Itai Sadan, CEO of the website design platform Duda. The Duda platform is popular with media agencies and other companies that offer web design services.
I kicked off the conversation by asking Itai why, and when, he chose to become a CEO. Not surprisingly, he had an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age.
Itai started his first company at 21 years old. It was focused around document saving and databases for small businesses. He soon decided to change directions and study at a university level.
Then, after many years of working at large companies and small startups alike, he came up with a great idea he was passionate about. He built Duda around that idea.
Thinking Like a Buyer
I asked Itai about his core skills and traits that were useful in building his latest company. He told me that he’d gained a variety of crucial skills by watching other companies grow, learning from other leaders, and gleaning insight from those experiences.
He also told me that one needs skills beyond merely being a CEO.
“As CEO of a software company, you’re selling to other companies. It’s about understanding how the thinking is on the other side. It’s understanding how the buyer is looking at it and understanding the processes that happen in bigger companies around the buying process and the people involved.”
Understanding Bigger Companies
It was helpful for Itai to previously be on the buyer’s side within a large company. In his words, “Later on, when you’re selling software, you might be just a small startup, and you’re nimble, and you want things to happen quickly. So it’s important to understand bigger companies, how they work, and the processes they go through.”
You should also get acquainted with the companies and the right people within those companies so you can effectively manage the selling cycle.
Getting Communication Right
As a CEO, communicating effectively with your team is one of the hardest things to do. Many of the problems Itai has encountered over the years have stemmed from ineffective communication.
While today’s technology makes it easier than ever to communicate, it also makes it hard to communicate. With all the tools (Slack, email, etc.,) businesses lose the benefits of in-person communication that we all used to have.
Although it’s so difficult, good communication is also one of the most critical aspects of success. Communication affects everything from decision making to strategy.
As Itai told me, excellent communication has several advantages, including speed. It helps eliminate re-works and edits while enabling businesses to get work done much faster. Excellent communication also helps reduce costs and increase overall customer satisfaction.
“Time is money,” Itai told me. “The faster an agency can achieve the end result that satisfies a customer, that’s higher margins they get to keep.” This is a much better scenario than a poorly communicating team that continues working on a project that could have ended weeks earlier.
How Itai Helps Web-Design Agencies Communicate
Itai told me about a recurring problem he’s seen with his digital-agency clients (i.e., agencies who use Duda to build websites for their customers.)
One of the communication barriers they have is communicating the changes and revisions that inevitably happen throughout the website-building process. Many different tools are used to communicate change requests, including texts, emails, sharing screenshots, etc. And there’s a lot of ambiguity when communication happens outside of the context of building the website.
So Itai and his team built a feature into Duda that brings in-context communication to the web design process.
Itai has made sure that with the Duda platform, an agency’s customers can highlight exact sections on their website when asking the agency to make changes. Users can highlight copy, colors, fonts, etc. for better communication.
Listen to the whole episode!
Itai gave much more insight throughout the episode. He discussed reasons why he chose to have three office locations, how he stays close to customers and their pain points, why he spends 40% of his time on people-related tasks (like hiring,) and more. Tune in to this episode to hear the rest of his timely insights.
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