Today we have selected Brandon McCarty to take his interview. He is the Founder and CEO of CureMint.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
I think there are two parts you have to look at. First, how is the company doing, from a business perspective, and second, how are individuals doing in their personal life? On the company side, there wasn’t much of a change to our operations. We were already working remotely for the most part, particularly in our sales process and how we interacted with customers.
If anything, it helped us because others in our industry became more fluent in remote skills, using Zoom, and communicating with us. Fortunately, we already had processes internally to help us work remotely. And because we’re a supply chain tool, when things shut down, it allowed our customers to look at their supply chain and take a moment, reflect, and see a market for what we do.
On the personal side of the equation, there is a shift in how things are done, especially for kids home from school. We’ve made quite an internal effort around giving everyone a voice in what they need to be successful – what tweaks or changes are needed, whether it’s a flexible work schedule, more 1:1 meetings, etc.
You have to be careful of isolationism, too. We’ve started activities like “daily recess,” where people gather and hang out virtually, and we’ve seen a tremendous response from our team as a result.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
For as long as I can remember, one of my biggest joys has been being part of a team and leading teams to accomplish cool things together. I was a college athlete and also served as an Army Ranger doing special military operations. After leaving the military, I knew that business was the best possible venue to continue leading teams and doing cool stuff. That’s my passion – connecting a group of people to do awesome things.
I started CureMint after going to business school, where I was introduced to classmates around the dental industry and particularly the procurement process in dental. It was easy to see that there was such an opportunity – procurement had been neglected for a while, and changes were happening.
It fit everything on my checklist: a market opportunity, neglected potential, and the ability to bring technology to people and change their lives. We spent a year and a half before a line of code was ever written just getting to know our customer base, researching and identifying what would make their life better, and why they aren’t using other things that already exist.
How does your company innovate?
We do our best to give everyone in our company the tools to think about our customers’ problems and not necessarily solve them. Everyone in the company engages with our customer base in some way – whether that’s a product, marketing, sales, customer success. So we want to allow them to identify opportunities for problems to solve and give them that mindset to come up with ideas.
Innovation isn’t just technology; it’s a way of communicating something. How can we put something in someone’s head, so it clicks? What are the use cases of our customers, what are they doing, and what decisions do they have to make? Innovation happens when you can translate that into areas for improvement.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
First, our market became more educated on virtual communication, which allowed us to get in the door quicker. But more importantly, they also shifted focus to their supply chain. For example, if you think about PPE, demand went up, prices went up, and people began reflecting on their supply chain. CureMint was there to help customers navigate the technical challenges of working with multiple suppliers, managing backorders, and generating cost efficiency for supplies.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
We were fortunate in that we closed one of our fundraises right when COVID hit. So we don’t know anything different. The whole time we’ve been able to plan with the Coronavirus pandemic as something that was always on our mind. It wasn’t like we had to lay off a bunch of people … it’s something that was always being rolled into our decisions.
The hard decisions we had to make involved our product’s direction and to decipher the problems that need to be solved – are the long-term issues or just part of a short-term pain induced by the pandemic environment?
As far as lessons, you have to understand that everybody is different and deals with challenges differently. You really can’t do a blanket answer to a problem – there needs to be a case-by-case solution and empathy with your team members. When things happen outside of your control, you must focus on what you can control and be OK with what you can’t control.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis
My skill set is around operations, so I got to dive into my wheelhouse and work on being remote and setting everyone up for success. The two general frameworks that we use are Getting Things Done (GTD), an individual productivity system, and Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which focuses on cross-functionality between departments, meetings, strategic planning, etc. We’ve invested in those frameworks and giving people access to that education internally.
For software, we’re using Slack for instant communication, ClickUp for project management, and our app, CureMint, for spend management.
Your Final Thoughts
The only constant thing is change. As a leader, you should expect that you’re going to have something thrown at you, and at the end of the day, the Coronavirus pandemic is just one variable. From a business perspective, it’s important to double down on what you can control and not overreact to things out of your control. Instead, focus on building a strategy, and in time, you can overcome whatever obstacle you’re facing.
- Spokesperson: Brandon McCarty
- Company: CureMint
- Website Link: https://www.curemint.io/