0011: Doing $30m+ in Sales with 40 Team Members, in 2011 Shut-down a Successful Digital Agency to Back an iPad Idea and Push Through the Hard Transition Times When They Were Down to Their Last Few Dollars in the Bank (James Cuda)

Presented by Troy Trewin

Troy has worked intimately with 26 businesses in 20 years. He knows their numbers, understands their growing pains and people issues and has helped with most financial aspects, as well as having coached on leadership and management.

March 9, 2020

In this episode, I’ll have a conversation with James Cuda, CEO, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Savage Interactive, the company behind the hugely successful iPad app, Procreate. The multi-award-winning art app is designed to free creatives from their desks and encompasses a powerful suite of tools for illustrators and designers at any skill level, and contains everything one needs to create inspiring sketches, gorgeous paintings, and stylish illustrations. 

James came up with the idea for Procreate in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he got serious with it. He has to first shut down his fairly thriving branding and web development agency and pivot it all into building Procreate into being the number one paid creative app on the Apple app store. Currently, with 40 staff and generating more than $30 Million in annual revenues, the only investors in the business are James and his wife, who’s in charge of the company’s strategy and finances. 

Their funding has all been from cash flow even during the early transitional years when they were moving from an agency model to one app. Down to their last $20,000 in the bank, they invested heavily in culture and only hiring A the best which worked wonders for them. James believes the hardest thing in growing a small business is the mindset of money versus services or products. He believes one should focus everything they’ve got into making the most exquisite product they can. Tune in as he shares the incredible Procreate story and his tons of wisdom for every small business owner who’s looking to win big with their business. 

This Cast Covers:

  • The thriving Hobart tech scene and how James came up with the idea for Procreate.
  • The pricing conundrum when they launched on the Apple app store and how they overcame it.
  • The start of something ambitious with Procreate.
  • The experience James had with shutting down his previous business.
  • Turning over $30+ Million a year with 40 employees and millions of customers worldwide.
  • How app stores make money from listing apps and Apple’s $2 Billion revenue from its app store.
  • Starting a software company with only $20,000 in cash and bootstrapping to success.
  • Trying to change an industry with the best products in the world.
  • Growing the company in Hobart despite no government support.
  • The importance of anticipating fast growth and planning for it.
  • Maintaining tenacity even when things in business are bad.
  • Viewing employees as the biggest asset and making sure they have everything they need to do their job as best as possible.
  • Hiring 101: Getting the A players on the bus
  • Building a growth-oriented company culture and the best personal development a small business owner can get.
  • Creating an amazing product before focusing on the revenue generation.
  • Growing a small business with a humble spreadsheet.
  • Incorporating influencer marketing as the core of their marketing strategy. 

Additional Resources:

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Quotes

“It’s not about growth at all costs, it’s about really trying to change an industry” – James Cuda

“Tech is derived from people” – James Cuda

“Half the reason for success is just turning up every day” – James Cuda

“The biggest thing in business are people” – James Cuda

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Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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