Business Link’s Client Feature blogs allow us to highlight some of the many incredible Alberta entrepreneurs we work with, like Chad Verity and his business Hölmetrics. We connected with Chad and asked him a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey, and the impact that COVID-19 has had on his business:
What is your background?
My background is actually in youth work. I’ve wanted to work with teens since I was in Jr. High. After working for a number of different non-profits over about a decade I found myself burning out on a cyclical and annual basis. This was incredibly challenging for me. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and all I was training and credentialed to do, and I couldn’t do it sustainably and I didn’t know why. Sitting in a psychologist’s office I asked myself, “If looked closely enough at my life, could you predict burnout, and then prevent it from happening?” That question eventually became Hölmetrics.
Tell us about your business and what it does.
Hölmetrics is an enterprise wellbeing analytics software that connects to the tools teams use every day, like Microsoft365, and provides insight into the wellbeing of the organization and possible risk management and mitigation opportunities. Hölmetrics provides fully aggregated and anonymous organization-level data analytics to enterprise leaders so that they can build organizations that are both socially and corporately successful.
What motivated you to start your own business?
I have always loved building teams to overcome problems. Although it wasn’t until my 30s that I had the self-confidence to start a business. I remember building business plans for fun in elementary school, and sold my first website in Grade 5, but it was always just a hobby. As I grew older I felt that I had a lot of gifts and abilities that never really fit in a typical work environment as an employee, and had a hard time getting those abilities to be recognized by employers, so starting my own business was a way to explore my own potential without having to ask permission.
What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success?
I’m most proud of our team. We have an incredible team of deep thinkers, collaborators, innovators, and world-class scientists. We come together to solve problems and we’re energized by the challenges we are collectively attempting to overcome. I think when others outside our team catch our vision, they want to be apart of it and that’s because of the team that has caught the vision. Our biggest success is the cohesiveness of our team.
What is your biggest challenge now, in light of COVID-19?
Our biggest challenge right now is sales and selling relationally when most traditional networking opportunities have been canceled.
Have you had to pivot your business due to the impact of COVID-19? If so, what have you done?
I believe our business value has only been proven through the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re working hard to take advantage of the situation to provide value to team leaders as they approach back to workplace policies.
What has this pandemic taught you about you and/or your business?
The pandemic has taught us about our team culture and the need for self-motivation as a key value. It has taught me how much I actually enjoy networking, which is quite shocking. I’m proud of how our team adjusted to the changes. We doubled the size of our team during the pandemic, so a lot of our core culture has been shaped working remotely, which will have lasting effects in the long term.
What advice would you offer other small business owners as they continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on their business?
Now is the perfect time to put our core strategies on the table and evaluate their efficacy in the light of a changing landscape. Make sure your vision is clear and consistently communicated to your team on a daily basis. Working remotely changes a lot of things on a team. If your vision is communicated effectively then your team will have the intangibles they need to adjust and thrive.
Take advantage of every program you can for financial assistance.
How has Business Link helped you? Why did you come to us?
Business Link helped us early on when we were just in ideation and it was really just me. They were there to evaluate those ideas and be an encouragement to continue down the path. Especially being in a rural setting trying to launch a global tech company, it’s hard to find local mentorship and perspective, but I found that at Business Link.
Have you received support from other organizations? If so, which organizations?
We’ve received support from Catapult Entrepreneurs, Symbra, Startup Edmonton, Access Prosperity, Platform Calgary, Lighthouse Labs, Connection Silicone Valley, Alberta Economic Development and Trade, Alberta Innovates, Calgary Economic Development, Edmonton Economic Development, the City of Edmonton, the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, Startup Canada, Red Deer College, NRC-IRAP.
What advice would you share with others who want to start or grow their own business?
To grow your business in Alberta you have to get to know Highway 2 very well. Get to know people, meet as many people in the startup ecosystem as you can, find mentors and advisors, attend events, share openly with others about your ideas for the future. Get to ‘no’ fast, especially with investors, and move on quickly.
Think big. Spend time with others that think big. It’s okay if you’re the only one who thinks building a boat in the middle of the desert is a good idea if you’re convinced it’s going to rain.
What’s coming up next for you?
We are working on a research study with the University of Alberta that will validate our machine learning models and algorithms and will lead to our IP protections. We are launching our first product line this Fall, with two others to follow in 2021. We’re working on some large strategic partnerships that will include some reseller agreements.
Is there anything you would like to share?
We are looking for beta users to be a part of our validation study. If you lead a team of 1000 people or more, we’d love to have you on board. You’ll learn a lot about how COVID-19 is affecting your organization.