Ryan McCabe
Ryan McCabe

How many directors should you have to scale? – The Daily Scaleup with Kim McAllister

Fallings out, disagreements, gangings up, freezings out… Being one of a number of company directors can prove challenging. It’s sad to think that businesses could fail due to petty shenanigans at board level – but I’m sure we all have our tales to tell.

Ryan McCabe thinks he’s found the answer.

“Three is the magic number,” he told me. Without going into the gore and gossip, he’s been in different situations and thinks his current set up is perfect.

“Bill is 64, he has the experience; Mark is 31, he’s very technically-minded and takes the long-term view, while I’m the salesman, I’m 28 with the medium-term outlook,” he said.

“We have a very good dynamic, we all bring something to the table.”

The table is Odro, a one-click video communication platform. Ryan came on board two years ago when the company was split three ways and a new direction was decided. They’ve gone from a two man office in Bellshill to a spacious 15 person space in the Templeton Building in Glasgow Green.

Interestingly, the landlord agreed to scale their rent with their business, smoothing the transition considerably.

“We said we had big plans and they believed us,” he joked.

Although there are three directors, Ryan feels like everyone in the company is essential and so is resisting compromising the tight-knit startup culture by hiring too many too soon.

“Each and every one of the team of nine has played their part, I could count on every one of them,” he said. “I want to keep that atmosphere as long as possible.”

It may not be possible much longer. In the last nine months Odro has increased customer acquisition by 300%. His biggest challenge is the constant travel, leaving behind an 18 month old child.

“Obviously we use video a lot, but you still need to meet customers face to face and show you’re willing to make the effort,” he said.

He hints at plans to expand across the pond, though the focus for now is to open an office in London. Investors are beginning to show interest too.

“I love working in Scotland, I’d never move,” he said. “There is so much support if you can prove you’re a genuine business with a map for your future,” he said.

If you have a story about scaling up, drop me a line, kim@impactonline.co.uk

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online