David R. McGraw is the CEO of Oyova Software. David is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. David provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Oyova Software. David R. McGraw joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team is delighted to have David join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
David, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. David, please tell us about Oyova Software. What is the elevator pitch?
How many software companies do you know that starts with communications, follows that up with top end development skills and polishes it all together with innovative marketing services?
That’s what we do at Oyova, we make the process of getting your software project complete as efficiently as possible, and that only happens when our developers are in direct communication with our customers, no more project manager firewalls, no more email forwards and lost specs.
As a 100% US Based development company, we are positioned to provide top end development talent at approachable rates with onshore talent.
Our focus is on developing long term partners rather than burn and churn project work. If you are looking for a snap-on IT department to execute your goals and add value to your business, we’re the team that brings the total plan and not just hours for sale.
2. What team the one thing that makes Oyova Software great?
The aspect that brings the most value to our clients is our ability to ingest our partners business models and wholly adopt them as part of our efforts. Anyone can sell hours to a remote resource at an hourly rate, but are you getting added value with that time, or are you just offloading repeatable tasks? When you need a team that understands your business and tackles problems to create solutions, that’s when you call Oyova. Think of our team like a consultancy group wrapped around talented developers, our primary strength is enterprise grade software development, but our true value is helping to form the path towards goals and then executing that vision.
3. Please tell us what is the key to being a great entrepreneur?
Team Building. Knowing how to form a team that works off each other, that challenges each in their own way, and a team which is greater than the sum of their parts. It’s harder than it may seem. Balancing personalities and skill sets is an everyday challenge, and having all of that merged and meshed within the greater company culture is something I feel every entrepreneur must be on top of every day. A bad hire can set you back months or years and even cause culture rot within your organization. You need the right person in the right seat. Without that, your energy is spent dealing with issues not related to growing your business, time spent constantly trying to make teams work and handling human resource concerns is time not spent on the company mission. When you don’t have the right people, in the right seats, you create friction in the day to day, and that drains employees, projects, clients, impacts every aspect of your business, hanging like a cloud over everything.
So being a great entrepreneur to me means you have the ability to get the most out of the people you lead. Putting them in positions to make the greatest impact.
4. What is the best advice can you give to a young entrepreneur just starting out with a new venture?
One day a moment will come that will scare the hell out of you. Remind yourself that moment happens to all new business owners and the ones who survive that moment, are the ones who grow to the next level. Surviving early scares, whether it’s losing your largest client, or a change in the economy, losing your best employee, whatever that issue is, surviving that and thriving beyond that is a badge of honor I wear proudly. Early in the history of Oyova our largest client doubled the amount of effort they wanted for a 3-month sprint, we thought “Here we go, this is it!”, and then checks never showed up, and promises of “They are being sent” became repetitive. After 3 months and no payments, we were face to face with the reality that 75% of our revenue wasn’t going to be coming in the door.
From that moment on I created a fake project from a fake client to keep the team focused on work, it was probably my best sales pitch ever, and it was to my team, for something that didn’t exist. I couldn’t lose my team. From there I stopped taking a paycheck so my team didn’t feel any disruption and I went and hustled my ass off to fill the project void, and we did it. I knew after that whatever challenge came our way was just an opportunity to thrive.
5. What is the one thing that you, as a person, want to be known for?
Mentoring, I really enjoy showing people a better way to approach things, help them understand not only the tech challenge in what they do but the strategy behind how to deal with customers and internal teams. People skills aren’t being taught and more and more are struggling to figure out ways to make professional relationships work. I love working on those issues with people.
6. When building a business, what is the one most important thing to keep in mind at all times?
Is the customer happy? Even if we are failing to deliver on something, is the process being handled in a way to support the customer as much as possible. I hate failing to deliver, but it happens. No company is perfect, however, it’s in those moments when you earn the loyalty of your partners or you lose it. If you hide and avoid your client, you magnify their issues, they learn you are not their partner and your primary concern is your own ego. In business, there is no room for that. As a partner, my job is to warn you of potential issues as soon as possible, to help you navigate your constituents when there is an issue, provide as many updates as possible. I acknowledge the situation and then get on board with you on how to solve it. Happy customers refer happy customers.
7. When hiring employees, what is the one most important thing you look for?
Honestly, for me, it’s what the candidate has done in their own time, in their own hobbies and interests that support the job they are looking for. If it’s a developer, have they coded anything for a hobby, or if it’s an account manager, have they volunteered to organize events outside of work. I think people who are passionate about what they want to do, find ways to do it whether someone pays them or not. Those are the people I want on my team. I don’t have much use for someone who doesn’t love what they do every day.
8. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning?
That’s easy. There are more ways to make an impact, and I’m not done yet. I hear from large unicorn tech company CEO’s that want to change the world, these grand lofty goals of making a sweeping global change, to me that’s ridiculous. I like to “make change” on a much more micro scale every day, and locally for my community. I love coming up with new ideas for my clients to solve their issues, speaking at local IT camps and sharing information and just, in general, elevating the tech scene here in Jacksonville. This year we are working with the Digital Mastermind Group ( https://www.digitalmastermind.com/) to bring their conference to Atlantic Beach at the end of Sept. 2019. It’s a great conference consisting of digital agency CEO’s from across the country which gathers and shares techniques about running their businesses, which has made an amazing impact for me personally, and now my mission is to help expand that to more CEOs so they can experience the same impact I did.
9. What is the one thing that makes a great company?
Active Management. Through my position I get to work with a lot of companies, I get to see how they work and operate. The CEOs and Managers who just aren’t interested in growing their teams, evaluating performance, correcting issues, etc… are the least successful. I see many organizations that simply don’t have an interest in recognizing their staff for the good and bad. You need to show you care, and people will want to grow. The companies that don’t show that interest in their staff are stagnant, and rarely break out and do amazing things.
10. What is the one thing that makes a great leader?
Intelligent passion. You have to know when to push and when to pull back. Know how to walk away from a partner, and when to chase. You have to have different gears for different situations, so I say intelligent passion because you can’t be Mr. Idealist all day every day, you need to get into the trenches sometimes and deal with realities. I don’t think people want the dreamer 24/7. They want to see the passion for what you do, and what I call “patterns of success”. You won’t be right all the time, but your pattern should reflect the right decision most of the time. People don’t join people if they are wrong most of the time, no matter how charismatic they are. When you are passionate about what you do, that means you care. You care about the people who are helping you on that mission. You care about the culture in “how we get there.” You just care, and that is usually enough for most people.
David R. McGraw, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Oyova Software, nothing but the best.