Not many young companies that are born in Argentina — or anywhere else — grow from 35 to 350 employees in three short years.
Or lose 80% of their business overnight, only to come back stronger and emerge as a global leader. Or have a realistic goal for completing a successful IPO in the next three years. But something truly unique is happening at SOUTHWORKS. And people are starting to notice.
For well over a decade, our small, elite team worked on critical, high profile projects for clients such as the US headquarters of Microsoft. And we liked it that way. We thought you had to be small to Make Everything Right™. So, we kept finding new efficiencies that would increase profitability without really growing our company.
Our largest customer suddenly changed CEOs. The new leadership put everything on hold. And 80% of our revenue instantly vanished. So, we did two things. We told our contacts at this company that we were willing to do anything for them — even though they had no budget. And we started dreaming about launching something completely different ....
“What if we took the SiliconValley playbook for hyper growth, but instead of applying it to the launch of some new app, applied it to a services business? Could we treat services like a product? And what if we redefined ‘quality’, not as a technical measure, but as‘a happy customer returning and buying more?"
We first started asking these questions in early 2018. By the end of the year, we had more than doubled our size and our revenue. And had won more business than ever from the client that had made the cutbacks.
Naturally, we wanted to double again the next year. So, we created another new concept called a Fireteam. These three-person development teams would be available every Monday morning to start any new project a client requested. Clients knew the cost of a Fireteam and how many teams they would need in a week, so we let our clients do their own quotes. They loved this. They loved SOUTHWORKS. And they started sending bigger and bigger deals our way.
By the end of 2020, we had managed to hire and train 150 new employees in the middle of a global pandemic and to double our revenue yet again. All along, we continually looked for new ways to keep “happy customers returning and buying more.”
Could we continue to expand globally, double our revenue annually, and position the company for an IPO in three short years? A goal like this would force us to be even more disciplined, more nimble, and more transparent. And it has.
We’ve developed a successful, repeatable strategy that lets us start small and scale rapidly in country after country. Today, SOUTHWORKS is expanding beyond the Americas and Europe and into Asia — our “SOUTHIES” are now based in over 10 countries around the world. Most of our profits are being reinvested in the company. We’ve enlisted the help of Big Four consulting firms, built new marketing initiatives, and created new positions for global executives. Our supply chain has been streamlined, cybersecurity tightened, and risks mitigated aggressively. We’re carbon neutral. Our diversity and inclusion initiative is helping change the face of IT. And our financial success has enabled us to support causes ranging from a much needed hospital expansion in Argentina to AI research at Oxford University in England.
Throughout all of this, we’ve stayed focused on our №1 quality measure of “happy customers returning and buying more.” In fact, we’ve consistently maintained an almost-unheard-of customer NPS score of 97%. At the same time, we’ve doubled our employee NPS scores.
None of this has been easy. Or cheap. But it’s working. And we love the challenge. People say that when you start growing, your growth rate starts to shrink. We’re experiencing the opposite at SOUTHWORKS. Why? Because big things happen when you Make Everything Right™.