As the founder and president of RadiusOnline, a subscription based digital marketing platform and agency boasting 100% customer satisfaction and growth this year, Vu Hoang has clearly found his entrepreneurial stride. His positive outlook on life, true care for clients and absolute dedication to his team are hard to ignore, and we were excited to have the opportunity to sit down and talk shop. In all honesty, the man radiates enthusiasm and possibility.
Follow along as he shares his inspiring entrepreneurial journey:
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started as an entrepreneur.
I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, born and raised – one of the few and the proud. I started the company back in 2000 during the dotcom crash. I was working at an agency at the time and everyone got laid off. So, I started RadiusOnline, built up our reputation and landed a few major clients: Coca Cola, Emory Healthcare, UPS, etc. Then came NAPA Auto Parts. They have repair shops and parts stores all across the country and as mobile search popularity continued to rise, there was a need for local web presences – Bingo. That’s when we transitioned away from agency work into the Saas space and became the only endorsed web vendor for NAPA Auto Parts. That’s when we really started growing.
So switching to a subscription model program obviously fared well for you guys?
Absolutely. We were doing Saas before Saas was a big thing. We’ve been around for fifteen years. Ten of those were spent just trying to figure it out and survive. In the last five years, I’d say we’ve finally found ourselves by nailing how to build a successful business while maintaining that startup culture within our company.
Speaking of culture, it looks like RadiusOnline was recognized by Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the top 50 places to work in Atlanta. To what do you attribute this positive team culture?
We did! We’ve put a lot of focus on our team, bringing in top talent and truly nurturing them. In the past, we focused a lot of our energy on the sales and marketing side of things but when we shifted our focus to our people – that was key for our growth.
Once we established our core values, we started recruiting and hiring people who aligned with our vision. Those that didn’t “get it” started to leave, leaving us with a core team with the right mentality.This lead to better teamwork, better sales and better marketing. Happy customers lead to awesome case studies and referrals. In my opinion, that right there’s the secret to doing 100% growth without funding AND 100% customer satisfaction over the last fourteen months.
That’s awesome. So your team culture has ultimately impacted your bottom line?
Oh yes. Last year we had 100% growth and we are on track to do another 100% this year. We are completely bootstrap – no investors at all. We are self-funded and things have naturally evolved this way. Our subscriptions outgrew agency work, giving us predictable revenue.
Did you ever want to give up? What helped you persevere?
Yes. I remember four or five years ago hitting a major roadblock. I had doubts as being CEO and was thinking of hiring someone more business minded so I could focus on product development. Around that time, I stopped by David Cummings’ office and shared with him my idea. “Perhaps I should hire a CEO that’s more business oriented to take things to the next level?” He immediately shot down that idea and help give me the wakeup call and validation I needed to keep moving. That’s one of the things I love about Atlanta – you’re surrounded by successful entrepreneurs who have gone through this same journey and there’s so much support.
How did your relationship with Acuity begin? What made finding a financial partner so important for Radius Online at that time?
We started working with Acuity about two years ago when started experiencing major growth. For me, deciding where to spend our money had always come down to a gut feeling. But thankfully, Acuity stepped in, cleaned up our books, and also provides CFO services to help budget forecasting and determined where our most promising opportunities were – all strategic decisions. It really changed our business.
We had an internal bookkeeper for years, but they were more traditional and concerned with telling us what our financial limitations were versus what the possibilities could be. When your bookkeeper isn’t focused on growth and isn’t willing to take risks, it’s almost impossible to make things happen & scale a company. We wanted to work with a team with an entrepreneurial spirit and understanding. Acuity gave us the insight we needed to grow by 100% without having to give up equity. They provided us with the peace of mind and validation we needed to push even harder.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of the entrepreneurial life?
I would say just having the ability to impact other people and be at a point where I can spend time with my family. Being an entrepreneur, you live through a lot of heartaches and pain, but I’ve learned that the bad can sometimes be the step before the amazing. It you stay positive, continue to learn and focus on personal growth, awesome things will happen.