The Power of Social Good for Your Business – Matt Ostanik
Entrepreneurship takes a lot of hard work, patience, and perseverance. But being passionate about your business gives you a powerful edge and the momentum to keep going. Our guest today is a perfect example.
Meet Matt Ostanik. Matt is currently the Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Grateful, a platform that helps businesses participate in “grateful giving” by donating to their customers’ and employees’ favorite nonprofits. Matt is a serial entrepreneur who has founded four startups in the past 15 years. Prior to starting Grateful, he also founded CVG, a consulting company that helps design firms grow their businesses; FunnelWise, a marketing and sales technology startup; and Submittal Exchange, a construction technology platform.
It’s safe to say that Matt knows the ins and outs of building successful and mission-driven businesses. He believes that businesses can use social good to connect with their customers and employees on a deeper and stronger level.
In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, Tyler and Matt chat about the importance of getting the right people on the bus, the concept of the founder’s dilemma, the power of social good for businesses, and why entrepreneurship can be a struggle.
If you want to hear more about entrepreneurship, tune into this episode to hear what Matt has to say.
💡 Name: Matt Ostanik
💡 What he does: He’s Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Grateful.
💡 Noteworthy: Matt is a serial entrepreneur who has founded four startups in the last 15 years: Grateful, CVG, FunnelWise, and Submittal Exchange.
💡 Key Quote: “Make sure whatever you’re doing is a battle worth fighting for as well. Regardless of what type of business you’re in that it’s something that aligns with your personal values that you care about deeply, so to give you that passion for the days when things aren’t going as well, but also to make it worth the sacrifice that you give over time as an entrepreneur as someone building or scaling a business.”
💡 Where to find Matt: LinkedIn
Get the right people on the bus. When you’re working on building a sustainable business, getting the right people on the bus is key. Having good people on the team takes a huge weight off your shoulders because strong employees are often self-manageable and motivated.
Matt explains, “You have to get a really good team in place around you. And I know particularly when you’re not venture-backed, you’re going to have a lot of capital that can be tough because a team costs money as well. But certainly, as you grow over time, that is the single most important thing for scaling, getting the right people on the bus, getting them in the right seats. That was one of my big learning curves, even from that first business.”
You can be king, or you can be rich. One of the key questions that every founder needs to ask themselves at one point is: do you want to be rich, or do you want to be king? Being king means you have control over your business, while rich founders focus more on getting products and revenue moving.
Matt shares his view on this dilemma. He says, “I think part of what a lot of entrepreneurs go through, particularly if you’re not venture-backed and pouring a lot of capital into it, is learning, figuring out what really matters in your business versus what it’s okay to let go of. There’s a saying in business, you can be king, or you can be rich, right? In terms of you can be the king and control and manage every detail of every single thing. Or you can be that there’s no guaranteed success with that, of course, but you can be the guy that really or gal that lets things scale up and really makes a lot of money and builds a very successful business around it.”
The power of social good for businesses. Social good is a great way to connect with your employees and customers. It allows you to earn your customer’s loyalty and trust. Matt says that social good has a great impact on businesses. He explains,
“I don’t have a concrete statistic for you on what it does on employee retention. But we certainly see with lots of customers we’re working with that’s a key part of it, that adding that mission and as well. We have companies that are using our platform with their employees in addition to using it with their customers. It can be very powerful for that also, but with the right type of employee, it’s very, very powerful in today’s talent market to attract new employees and to retain key people as well.”
Entrepreneurship is a struggle. Being an entrepreneur is both challenging and rewarding. There’s no denying that you have to face a lot of challenges in your journey being a business owner. But if you choose a mission you firmly believe in, that struggle will eventually pay off.
Matt says, “I think one thing that you really have to think about every business that you try to build as an entrepreneur it’s going to be a struggle, right? It’s like rolling a big rock up a hill, and if some days you push that rock forward, some days it rolls back a little bit, but keep up that effort. It’s going to be a fight. It is going to take time away from other parts of your life and family and everything else.”
“There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears as any entrepreneur that does these things knows that goes into it, right? It wasn’t all constant fun and joy as you go through it. A lot of pain, a lot of hard work, and a lot of hard lessons learned.”
“Emotional hires tend to lead to emotional departures. That certainly has been my experience in the hiring process, with a lot of hiring over the years. So really working through that, but even with that, you don’t really know ‘till you work with someone for a little bit if they’re the right fit or not.”
“Work as hard as you can to make sure that the right fit, but be prepared to kind of learn from that as you go, and sometimes they don’t work out regardless of that. But that’s really how you learn as you continue to grow and scale your business to figure out what you’re looking for with those team members and what the right fit is for you and your culture and the product or service that you happen to be selling.”
“There’s something in the software startup space, in particular, there’s a lot of talk around product-market fit kind of this concept of picking the right product with the right market at the right time to scale a big business. I really believe there’s also something around people product fit or people company fit or something in terms of you could have salespeople that or others that have been a great success in previous companies, but are they the right fit for your company, your product at that right time with the culture you’re building?”
“I care about people, I want to help, but I want to broaden my horizon and help people outside of my own business, as well. It’s not just about me; it’s also about the bigger world that we live in. Some people get that, others that’s just not what they’re interested in.”
“It’s not for everybody. But if that making an impact and caring about the bigger world is part of your values, I think it should be for you. And I’ll tell you what; there’s a huge audience of people, there’s 160 million Americans every year that donate to charities, that they’re going to be more likely to do business with your company, or more likely to consider a job with you if you show that you care about those values as well.”
“If your customers are people, regardless of whether they’re consumers or other businesses, then it has as much impact on both sides if you work with people. Now, if your customers are automated robots, then yeah, it’s not a good fit. But if they are people, B2B companies work with people; those people have hearts as well.”