FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES #2: Soshal goes beyond social media

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“Managing exponential, hyper-growth as a professional services company has been an immense challenge,” says Dave Hale, founder and CEO of Soshal. “So it’s been a very humbling honour to be recognized.”  

Dave Hale is the founder and CEO of Soshal.

By Alexia Naidoo

A lot has happened over the firm’s first few years.

“When we started, we were a social media consulting firm. Today, we build innovative digital technology for mobile, social and web. We also do large content management system implementations and major customer relationship management solutions,” he says. “And it’s all because there was an opportunity to do so and we weren’t afraid to go after that opportunity.”

As newbies, Mr. Hale says his team had to learn the craft, how to manage people, how to manage clients and the entire administrative side of business completely from scratch.

Soshal – an OBJ Startup to Watch in 2012 – has not received any outside investment or funding, says Mr. Hale, and he admits that, until just recently, the firm paid for its day-to-day office operating expenses with a $2,000 Visa card. “What got us through was a heads-down, work hard, hustle kind of approach,” he says.

“From day one, we always had a plan to grow aggressively. When we first launched the business, I said to one of my advisers that in year one we’re going to do a million dollars. He said to me we should double the time and divide the amount by two,” Mr. Hale says with a laugh. “But, right from day one, we had this very ambitious plan to grow.

“There have been periods of our growth where we’ve doubled our head count quarter over quarter. And we’ve moved offices four times in three years because every time we need more space,” says Mr. Hale.

Soshal generates most of its revenue from Toronto, Calgary, and the United States.

Mr. Hale says Ottawa has some catching up to do around leveraging digital technology, but is a potentially robust market.

“We’ve been figuring out how to make our product and service offering more focused and to react to what our clients or the market in general is asking for,” he says.

“Just because you have business today, doesn’t mean you take your foot off the gas,” he says. “It all comes down to waking up every day and realizing that there’s business out there and that if we’re not going to go after it, someone else is.” 

FOUNDED: 2010

LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 24

MAJOR MARKETS: Education, non-profit, retail

PRODUCT/SERVICE: User experience design, professional services

THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 1,294.03%

Each year, OBJ profiles the fastest growing private companies in the National Capital Region. Firms are ranked by percentage revenue growth over their three most recent fiscal years. Companies must be cash-flow positive in all three years. Click here for more information.

Organizations: FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES, OBJ Startup, Visa

Geographic location: Toronto, Calgary, United States Ottawa

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