Name: Andrew Lamping
Company: Cyclone Social
Address: 129 W. Main St., Fort Wayne
Year founded: 2012
No. of employees: 16
Education: South Side High School, University of Indianapolis
How old were you when you realized you wanted to be an entrepreneur? What was it about entrepreneurship that appealed to you?
I was a junior in high school when my uncle gave me an internship at his architectural firm. I thought for sure I wanted to be an architect, but quickly realized that was not the career path I wanted. I wanted to run the company, like my uncle. This led me down the path of entrepreneurship. I loved the idea of building something from the ground up and managing the entire process along the way.
How did your entrepreneurial spirit emerge in college?
In college, I discovered that entrepreneurship was an actual major, so I switched my major from business administration over to entrepreneurship. Our classes were amazing! There were six other students in our class and the Wall Street Journal was our textbook. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than these classes. During my junior year, I helped found the Entrepreneurship Club at the University of Indianapolis and served as the president of that organization for 2 years.
What led you to take a more conventional job after graduation? What did you do and what did you learn from it?
I took a job with a company immediately out of college because I realized I couldn’t just start a business (unfortunately). I worked for a home improvement company and my job was to sell roofs. I learned very quickly! Within six months I was ready to invest in my first company. I quit my job and started a digital signage marketing company.
How did you come to start Cyclone Social? What were your goals in doing so?
I started Cyclone Social purely out of opportunity. When I was talking to businesses about my digital signage company, the first question I always heard was “so do you do social media for businesses?” I heard that question so many times that I pivoted and started Cyclone Social as a hobby.
I started working with a few businesses and really started seeing amazing results. We could track ROI and prove results, which led to more and more clients. I realized this was a lot more than a hobby and went full force on Cyclone Social. We grew tremendously year after year! Cyclone Social has grown roughly 300 percent every year since starting the business. 2017 was a fast-growth year as we tripled the business by April and doubled again by year-end.
What has driven the company’s growth since its founding?
I credit our growth to two things:
1. Results. If we weren’t performing, we would not be growing. Our clients are our biggest cheerleaders and we continue growing through word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Trust. From day one, I have never asked a client to sign a contract with Cyclone Social. I shake hands with everyone who does business with Cyclone Social. I also give them my word that I will not bring on any direct competitors as clients. I have turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business just to make sure I wasn’t betraying the trust of our clients.
How fast has your employment grown? What do you look for in potential employees?
We now have 16 employees at Cyclone Social. We will grow a lot in 2018 as well. Our potential employees should be: 1) competent – they know what they are talking about, they are confident in their knowledge, and they are willing to always learn more; 2) inspired – they want to be the best at what they do; and 3) someone I want to have a beer with. If I feel like I could have a beer with this person, I would trust them with the rest of my team and I would trust them working with our clients.
What is the effect of limiting your client lists to those who don’t compete with each other?
It’s important to me that we don’t bring on direct competitors as clients. When we are taking on a client as their outsourced social media team, we expect to take that client to No. 1 in their industry. If we have two clients in the same industry, that would mean someone has to be No. 2.
In limiting to one client per industry, this also allows us to continually think outside the box and add value to every new client we work with. We are not creating prebuilt marketing packages, we are actually taking the time to develop a custom plan for every client.
What is your philosophy about working on a handshake rather than a contract?
This one is simple: I owe it to you to deliver. Period. If I don’t? Fire me.
I will shake your hand, I will look you in the eye, and I will give you my word that I will do everything in my power to exceed all goals and expectations. I would expect that if I fail to deliver on my promise you would walk away from our agreement, no strings attached.
Where do you see the business going in the next 10 years?
Wow, the amount we have grown in the first five years has been so crazy! I can’t even imagine what the next 10 has in store.
Honestly, we will continue our rapid growth progression. We are just scratching the surface. Currently, we are actively approaching new markets to grow into (Indianapolis is at the top of the list). We are also working with bigger, national and international brands. I would imagine that trend would continue through the next 10 years. New markets are going to be vital in growing the business, and I think we will grow even faster as we open up the geographic scope.
If you could have any other career in the world, what would it be and why?
I would work for the Notre Dame football program. I don’t know anything about coaching, but since this is a hypothetical question I’ll pretend like I hypothetically know everything about football coaching and would say my dream job would be the head coach at Notre Dame! …but trust me, you don’t want me to be a football coach in real life.
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