Clayton Nedza is a recent college graduate. But instead of joining a big firm like many of his classmates, he had another idea — to start his own company in Atlanta.
Nedza had worked for his father’s technology company, ZeeZor, which gives business owners real-time access to point-of-sale systems, allowing them to track how their franchises are performing.
The experience helped Nedza understand how important technology could be for improving business outcomes. Soon Nedza and one of his fraternity brothers, George Orlin, discovered an opportunity. They saw how they could help companies develop user-friendly apps that would integrate seamlessly with their e-commerce platforms. So they co-founded DevelAppMe, focusing on building consumer-facing apps for businesses.
Building an app is no easy feat. “With over 1.2 million apps on the App Store and 1.3 million apps on the Google Play store, to say it would be difficult to make an app that catches on in society would be an understatement,” Nedza said.
But hard work and determination, combined with a business strategy that focused on serving already successful companies, led to quick success for the DevelAppMe team.
“Instead of coming up with the next big idea, which is a tough hurdle to clear, we decide to focus on building apps for ideas that have already proven to be successful,” Nedza explained.
Today, DevelAppMe has several nationally recognized clients, with 750,000 active monthly users on platforms built and maintained by the company.
Nedza and Orlin have hired six additional full-time employees in the last six months and are looking to hire two more to focus on support and maintenance of existing platforms.
It certainly isn’t easy to build a company from scratch. “When you are discussing several hundred-thousand dollar solutions, it can be quite difficult to land the deal if you have no previous work to show,” said Nedza. But as the company has grown, Nedza says he has learned how to build trust with prospective clients as well as with his employees.
Having the wisdom and discernment to treat your employees well and put their needs at the forefront of your strategy is the key to success, Nedza says. If you have passionate people willing to take risks, the new deals will come.
There’s more growth on the horizon for DevelAppMe. Nedza says the company will focus on strategic partnerships with other businesses, focusing on specific areas such as web development, graphic design and digital marketing. This would allow DevelAppMe to offer more comprehensive solutions to large clients.
The benefits go both ways, too, as DevelAppMe can often help its partners enhance their offerings. “We have partners who are well established and have current clients that need mobile solutions,” he said.
When you start a company, explains Nedza, people aren’t always supportive. He’s often asked when he’s going to get a “real job.” But instead of letting the jibes get to him, he works that much harder. It’s important to “focus on one thing at a time, become great at it, and go from there,” he said.
Nedza’s faith is also a central component of his life and an anchor when he feels the stress of running his own company. He often quotes Proverbs 21:31: “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests in the Lord.”
In an age when Millennials often struggle to find work, Nedza is a shining example of how to create jobs while improving the way the world works.
Daniel Huizinga is a columnist for Opportunity Lives covering business and politics. Follow him on Twitter @HuizingaDaniel.