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“As a mostly service-based company, you’re only as good as your last project.”

Mightybytes is a Chicago-based creative firm that helps organizations of all types integrate smart strategy with good design, web technologies, and clever, engaging content to meet business and marketing goals. What does this mean for you? Well, not only can we help you build a business case and strategy for that new web or mobile app, we can also help you design it, develop it, and deploy it across multiple platforms. Then we can market it with targeted online media campaigns, web videos, and track engagement levels across social networks with analytics data that shows tangible returns.

What inspired you to launch your business?

I started freelancing in 1995 and over time that evolved into Mightybytes. When Mightybytes became a certified B Corporation in July 2011 that was a turning point for my company. B Corporations have a triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity. Becoming a B Corp solidified Mightybytes’ commitment to working with mission-driven businesses and organizations. It also gave us a framework for making our business better for all stakeholders: employees, vendors, our community, and the planet.

What issue does your core product help solve and how so?

Our company has a hybrid model of providing professional services and developing products. We were excited to announce the launch of our most recent web app, EcoGrader, this past April. EcoGrader measures the sustainability of a website based on a number of factors including your website’s speed and performance; how findable and mobile-friendly the site’s content is, and whether the site is hosted by a company that uses wind or solar energy. EcoGrader provides actionable tips that will help people make their websites perform better, while making them more green. We’re also excited to work with companies that make sustainability their priority: whether that’s by using EcoGrader’s tips, becoming a B Corporation, or working with us to make their websites more sustainable.

What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?

As a mostly service-based company, you’re only as good as your last project. Balancing business development efforts with resources and maintaining a commitment to keeping everyone continuously ‘low stress busy’ in a company where workload constantly ebbs and flows remains an ongoing challenge.

We meet this challenge in two ways:

By using daily standups to assess ongoing workload for team members and adding resources when it makes sense.
By filling up free time during slow periods with ongoing professional development efforts, volunteering, and product development.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?

We are evolving from a pure agency/service model to a hybrid model offering digital products and services that make the world a better place.

Where do you envision your company in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

Five years:
Steady, organic, controlled Mightybytes growth.
Continued migration to hybrid product/services model with revenue growth in each area:
Innovative products that serve communities in need and streamline agency processes.
Evolved digital and consulting services that meet the needs of an industry in constant flux.
Further evolution of B Corp model:
Zero carbon impact
Higher percentage of donations to nonprofits
More and better employee benefits
Ongoing support of community growth:
B Corps
Local community
Web design/development and content communities
Climate change, sustainability and bicycle advocacy communities
Human rights and social justice communities

Ten years:
Continued steady growth while remaining an agile organization:
Higher profitability from product sales, which means more contributions to communities in need, better benefits, profit sharing, etc. Possible Mightybytes locations in multiple markets.
Continued evolution of products and services to best serve conscious companies.
Further adoption of emerging technologies and digital best practices to stay ahead of competition.

Twenty years:
It’s very difficult to predict where innovation will occur in our industry over the next 20 years, but we will continue to remain on the bleeding edge.
More B Corps (or other conscious/impact-based business models) than non-B Corps in American (and global?) business.
Execution of succession plan.

Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?

Success can be defined in many ways. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to make a living on my own for nearly 20 years and have carved out a life that enables everyday action on values that matter to me, such as helping others, universal access to education, commitment to our planet’s future and shared prosperity of the people on it. I’m also thankful that I work every day with a team of people who share these values. Together we are able to make a bigger difference than any one of us could on our own.

Mightybytes measures success by the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity. The B Impact Assessment is one tool we use for measuring that success, but we strive towards being a more data-driven company every day. Having actionable data allows us to be more proactive in making decisions that affect not only our financial health but also the health and prosperity of all stakeholders: employees, our community, the planet on which we live, and so on.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?

Get comfortable with triple bottom line thinking. Entrepreneurs are really good at getting caught up in their craft, their product, or obsessing about where the next customers will come from. Mastery of craft is important for success, no doubt. And we all need customers for our businesses to survive. But if you’re pursuing your own success at the expense of others, even without realizing it, you lose in the long run. It’s often as easy as asking “How can I help?” Ask that simple question regularly to your stakeholders—your co-workers, your community, your planet, or anyone impacted by your efforts—and you will reap benefits that go beyond financial prosperity.

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