Standing in a potential investor’s office years ago, it seemed like a joke to Shawna Tregunna when a man offered to buy her whole company right then and there.
In fact, she didn’t believe him. But two weeks later, she was signing up to have a new partner, mentor and investor with Timothy Kimber, the founder of the toy company PlaSmart.
That was the push her company needed to get its feet on the ground, and since then ReSoMe, short for Relevant Social Media, has been growing.
The company’s goal is to help other companies take full advantage of social media and build their digital branding and social engagement.
They’re ahead of the game as a company, they said, in a niche market with little to no competition.
The company is now coming to the end of its fourth year, and is gaining confidence. Between the second and third year running, they saw a 50% increase in revenues.
Before looking for investors, though, Tregunna was fueling and running the company on her own.
“Owning my own company is terrifying and exhilarating,” said Tregunna. “Every client who signs over a cheque is saying, ‘I believe in you.’”
It started when she won a contract with a company, which later asked her to set up their social media back when twitter was just getting started.
That was when she began charging for consulting about social media, and she quickly had two clients within a month asking for her help. At first, because she had a job that took up so much of her time, she said no.
Then a third potential client came along, convincing her to take the leap. She went back to the other two and suddenly had three clients all signed on.
From there, she realized the potential she had, left her job, and went looking for investors, where she found Kimber.
But Kimber hasn’t been her only mentor. Tregunna met Graeme Barlow, currently the CEO of Keshet Technologies Inc., early on as a client of ReSoMe. The two became friends, and Barlow has served as a peer mentor through the years, and become someone familiar with the business from the outside.
At first, Tregunna helped Barlow with his game development company RocketOwl by teaching them to manage their social engagement on social media.
Now, they meet about every three weeks to catch up and bounce ideas off one another. Barlow was the person who convinced Tregunna to increase her prices, telling her she wasn’t charging nearly enough.
And he was right. Before taking his advice, ReSoMe ran into some financial problems and learned the hard way that coffee doesn’t pay the bills.
“It’s really hard to find people that get it, but Shawna gets it. She gets the internet,” said Barlow. “She’s got the gift and knows how to connect to a community.”
The toughest obstacle Tregunna has had to overcome was finding the right staff for her team. And some of the worst advice Barlow has given to Tregunna was recommending a designer who just wasn’t right for her team. But Barlow says the two have grown together through adversity.
“She needs more of her. She needs to find the formula for replicating her essence,” said Barlow. “She’s one of my favourite people in the world.”
Tregunna has learned to begin training her employees across multiple areas rather than hiring more people to do the different jobs.
Now, ReSoMe plans to dedicate the coming year to building themselves up, so they can see a good 2016. They’re currently developing their own software to help clients format what they want to say for Hootsuite, a social media management device, giving them the advantage of cross posting on all social media without actually doing the work.
“I learned a lot in the last year,” said Tregunna. “We’re not at our peak yet.”