Speical 800th Episode – The Fastest-Growth Company on the 2021 Inc 5000 list – Human Bees with founder Geetesh Goyal

What does it take to be Inc’s Fastest-Growth Company? Well, it is more than just a great idea at the right time. The fastest growth company is one that can attract and retain talented people. They also know how to develop those people to drive growth. Today’s guest is Geetesh Goyal, Chairman & CEO at Human Bees. Inc Magazine ranked this company #1 on the 2021 Inc 5000 list. Human Bees, are a nation-wide recruiting company specialized in placing engineers, IT professionals, manufacturing personnel, and admin/professional support. Human Bees has a mission to provide businesses with a unique solution to staffing needs and help people find jobs that are right for them. Geetesh shares his perspectives on scaling up a company. We look at the journey of the fastest growth company in this year’s Inc 5000 list of privately held companies. This is a VERY special episode. We have published 800 since the beginning of this podcast.

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Geetesh Goyal: The Transcript

About: Doctor Goyal is a serial entrepreneur that has started businesses across several sectors including Healthcare, Restaurant and Hospitality, and Real Estate to name a few outsides of the Biotech sector. In prior lives, Dr. Goyal has worked in progress management positions within organizations such as Abott, J&J, IBM, and Boston Scientific to name a few. He has a true passion for being the best in whatever it is that he does and constantly strives to attain perfection for his clients. His guidance and leadership has been paramount in Human Bees Recruit’s continued success.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Geetesh Goyal: And I thought, okay, now I’m the boss. I hired a team and you know, I can kick my feet up, everybody else, you know, do the work I can sort of direct and, you know, things will happen. And what I didn’t appreciate the time was, you know, the leaders I followed and, you know, who’s going to follow me is you have to be the hardest worker in the room and you have to lead by really lead by example, you know, the old kind of certain leadership, right? So 8:00 am, we’d kick off the company. You know, I’d have to be there at [7:15] AM. I’d have to be the first one in the last one out. And, you know, you really have to lead by example. And that’s something that, you know, is really, you know, I think once I got that, that was one of the last pieces. I think that I was naive to respect thinking that you can just kind of tell people and things happen. You have to do it, show them, help them. Right. Be somebody who is helpful. Always be thinking about your employees first [00:01:00] and yourself last. I mean, that’s what you’re signing up for, right? So it’s knowing that that’s exactly, that’s the key to success and that’s what you signed up for, but you just may not know it. I didn’t know, in the beginning.

Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett: Today’s a very special episode for you. Over 800 episodes, right now for this podcast, we originally started as leaders in the trenches. We interviewed hundreds of founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs about their journey of entrepreneurship. What could we learn from those people? Well, really amazing stuff that we started out this podcast with. And I changed the name a couple of years ago because I focused on a new set of founders and entrepreneurs, the CEOs of the fastest-growing companies out there. 800 episodes is hundreds and hundreds of interviews with amazing, inspiring leaders that I get to share with you. I get to tune into what’s going on in their world. What makes them, who they are, how they think the principles that drive them, and all the things in between. When you think about this special episode, I want you to think this. We’re going to have one entrepreneur on this that I’m really inspired by because he is the leader of the fastest-growing company in America by the Inc 5,000 list.

So this is the 2021 Inc. 5,000 list, fastest growth. Human Bees. There are human capital company that believes in customizing the offer and solution for their customers. And this is the reason why they’ve grown so fast, but if you really dig into it, it’s not about their offer to the world, but it’s about their leadership and the culture behind that. Today, we talk with their founder CEO Geetesh Goyal, and Geetesh really goes in and unpacks. What does it take to create the fastest growing company? And he talks about being adaptable. He talks about being intentional. He talks about the things that are necessary for us to be successful in growing a business. Take really good notes today. And I want to make sure that you understand something before we dive into this episode. And it’s this in order to grow a company fast, you have to grow faster than your company. You have to evolve faster at a faster pace than those around you because if you’re the leader of them, you want to make sure you lead by example, you have to continue your own personal development journey. You have to continue to develop your skills, develop your mindset, develop everything it takes. To be the leader that your company deserves. And you have to make sure that you are sharp. You were playing the high-performance game that is necessary because if you don’t, you’ll feel overwhelmed you’ll feel the things that keep you from being the leader.

You’ll avoid difficult conversations and all of this will create more friction inside your business. And that just doesn’t allow for growth. In fact, it’s hindered. I mentioned all this to you, because if you’re curious about what does it take to grow to that next level? Make sure you check out some of the free content on genehammett.com. That’s me, and I’d love to help you as a leader, help you identify your blind spot. I can do this in less than five minutes, and then we can create a plan to figure out what’s really going to take for you to move forward in your business. All of this is absolutely free. I do this because if you’re listening to this episode because you want to be a better leader, you want to be more effective. You want to execute better. You want to be more strategic, more visionary. You want to be more intentional. Whatever it is. I can help you get there because I’ve done these hundreds of times. In the last few years, I’ve been at an executive coach for the last 10, and I’d love to help you figure out what’s next in your business. I promise that to sell you, but if you go to genehammett.com and schedule your call, you’ll get insight and clarity about what does it take for you to be the leader that your team deserves? Just go do it now. genehammett.com schedule your call. Now here’s the interview with Geetesh.

Hi, Geetesh,

Geetesh Goyal: Hi.

Gene Hammett: How are you?

Geetesh Goyal: Good. How are you?

Gene Hammett: I am fantastic. I am excited to have you on the show, your company, Human Bees was astronomical over the last few years. Number one on the Inc list.

Geetesh Goyal: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. It’s been a wild ride.

Gene Hammett: We’re going to talk a little bit about that ride. Tell us a little bit about what the company does and who you are. So Human Bees, what is it?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah, so Human Bees. So just kind of, as the name says, so we’re in the human capital space and the way that I thought of the name was, you know, again, we’re playing on human beings, you know, Human Bees, the way we, I like to say it is a Human Bees were sort of like human beings. We just work a lot harder. And so we do basically, , to kind of boil it down. It’s really staffing. So the human capital space, and I’d say, what makes us different is we tailor-make custom solutions for clients as opposed to, , other staffing firms.

Gene Hammett: Well, love the name and you guys, your growth rate. I don’t have it in front of me, but do you remember what that was over 3 year period?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah, it was all right. Under 50000%, 50000%.

Gene Hammett: When you set out on this journey of creating a company, go back to the days when it started, what year was that?

Geetesh Goyal: We started Human Bees. This was approximately four years ago. So yeah, so we started the company and you know, it was tough times because you’re, you know, you’re bootstrapping, you’re trying to. Get going and you have no revenue. And, you know, I started companies prior. So that was kind of part of the journey as well. I’d started a company Neozene, which was in the consulting space again, staffing consulting, biotech and pharmaceutical, and was on that journey for about three, four years. And I think that’s where I took a lot of licks and then kind of pivoted to Human Bees because it was the same type of deal. I just opened it to a much broader market, as opposed to just pharmaceutical and biotech. I decided to open up Human Bees because the sales pipeline is what was lacking with Neozene. So I decided to open a much wider pipeline by taking offline tell.

Gene Hammett: Well, that’s usually not the case, but most companies I see niche down and then grow, but you basically had another business, it was niche down. And you decided to reposition that did you sell that business? What happened to it?

Geetesh Goyal: No Neozene so we essentially pivoted, so we had a lot of stuff that was going in Neozene. We had a, probably a team of about 10 people. So we took about those, you know, six to probably within, down to six or eight because we hit some tough times. Where our revenue was down and, you know, I think that’s a great point. I think it’s important to understand in your business as a younger entrepreneur and evolving and growing, where is the bottleneck in your funnel for success? Right. And our bottleneck, you know, for me delivery, I, you know, I, I, in terms of consulting and staffing, I had done that at a very high level, my entire career, you know, better than anybody that I’d ever seen. So I knew I could deliver on anything. I’ve been a VP for IBM and on talent acquisition, I’d worked for solar companies. So it didn’t matter to me necessarily the niche, you know, I’m a dentist by education. And so, you know, life sciences come naturally to me. So, that’s sort of why we went towards the biotech space, but in our funnel, The problem was that we didn’t have enough business. So like you said, it’s rare, but we’ll sorta-kinda open up that, that, that bottleneck was. We just had to get a lot more clients. In any space and to rip it open Neozene was branded just for consulting and in that, in that space specifically. So we had to kind of rebrand to have a new company, new name, and that’s where Human Bees was born. Neozene is technically still active today but doesn’t get a tremendous amount of attention for obvious reasons.

Gene Hammett: So that’s a little bit of the history, when you were notified that you were actually number one, do you remember that moment when you found out that you were the fastest-growing privately held company in North America?

Geetesh Goyal: Yes. Yes. I think I was still pinching myself and I think the journey of really, I would say the past you know, seven years, seven, eight years, because I’ll incorporate Neozene into this journey because that’s really where the journey started about eight years ago because you know, Neozene, we got it up to do in the millions of billings and we’d done millions of sales. So that’s sort of, that really was the true zero story was Neozene last eight years. Really just kind of all flash before my eyes.

Gene Hammett: Well, I appreciate you being here today to let us look behind the scenes at what does it take to lead a company, the planning, and the sacrifice. , so where do you want to start? What do you think would be the most helpful for our audience today?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah, you know, I think a great one, you know, one that, Mike Tyson’s old adage, you know, everybody’s got a plan until you get punched in the face. Right. And so, so, you know, I like to really share with, , particularly with your audience who are growing fast companies, entrepreneurs on really a lot of the planning and sacrifice that goes in. Cause, you know, it’s, it’s funny in some ways, you know, obviously now it’s easy for me to say it’s great, but in some ways being an entrepreneur is over-glorified I think in today’s day and age, I think there is, you know, you have shows like the shark tank. All, you know, it’s all around you. It’s almost entrepreneurs or attains a celebrity status now, which 20 years ago that wasn’t the case. You didn’t have the climate’s changed, you know, completely. And everybody is chasing that when you know, I think you should really know what you’re signing up for before you, you know, you may not want to get out of rollercoaster if you’re afraid of heights.

Gene Hammett: Absolutely. I mean, I started my business in 2001. I shared with you some of that journey before we cut on the recorder and I wasn’t prepared for what, I didn’t know. I was a high performer inside of every business I’d ever been in, but being the leader of a team and, and, you know, the buck stops with you and all of that stuff was absolutely a big shift for me that I had to understand. And I, when you think about becoming the leader that you are today, what are some of the inflection points that you went through in your journey?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah. Right. So, you know, I would say starting out, just like you said, I think that, that the biggest one getting going that, you know, you, you know, it’s there, but you can’t appreciate it until, you know, you’re actually sitting in it probably same for yourself. It was, you know, I know I wasn’t gonna make a paycheck in the beginning. Right. You, you, at some point you got to quit your job. And you have to step out, right? It’s that really diving in the pool? I think we’ve all started with trying to do it kind of halfway. You actually start the formal business name while you’re at a job. You’re trying to kind of transition out, the, the full transition out where you dive off the ledge. No more job, no more paycheck. I think that is the point. , you know, so. So to speak the point of no return and, you know, I had, I had accumulated enough savings, you know, I’ve made sure that I think over the, whatever, the 12, 15 years of my career prior, you know, I probably had, , you know, A couple of million bucks that I had saved and assets and wealth, but, , I just, you can’t appreciate how fast it can go when you’re not getting a paycheck.

I’m not only are not getting a paycheck. You are putting money in. So you are paying millions of dollars effectively to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. And, and I think that really. It needs to be digested and really thoroughly planned out, you know, starting out I had to, I actually, you know, I think I shared, , I share a story oftentimes, you know, I had just got married and I don’t think my mind new bride’s dream was to live on my friend’s couch, but that’s exactly what we did because, you know, I didn’t have to pay rent or a mortgage. His expenses were very nominal. And even though I had millions in the, over a million in the bank, I mean, I, I, I knew I needed to do that because that’s the sacrifice that was required. And she was supportive. She understood what my dream was, but I mean, it took that level of sacrifice where I couldn’t be tempted, even though I had seven figures access to seven figures, I was, I couldn’t allow myself to be tempted by that and really had to live on my friend’s couch, you know? And mid-thirties, newly married.

Commentary: Now, Geetesh, just talked about diving into the pool. We all know that we have to jump in at some point in order to create the kind of company that we want to. It can’t be a sideline or side hustle. You gave me something we do after our nine to five, it has to be something that you’re willing to commit to. Now, most of the people listening to the show have already committed in a big way, but I remember my journey to be an entrepreneur. I was laid off right after 9/11. And I had a little bit of money to use, and I had an idea and I was able to put that together pretty quickly, but there was no looking back. I was fully committed. And after that first year is tough as it was. Am I my fiance at the time said, do you know what you’re doing? Because I was not making much money. I wasn’t paying myself that much money, but I knew that I would make it. You probably know that you were going to make it too. But we have to continue to push beyond that. I ended up writing a book called the trap of success. I’m not here to sell you my book, but I understand what it’s like to get comfortable. And if you have already dived into your business, but you’ve gotten to a place where it’s a little bit comfortable. I want to urge you to think about what’s next for you. What does the next element that allows you to be the best leader you can be, make sure you understand what that is to keep coming back to Growth Think Tank, to learn from our leaders and our stories. Now, back to the interview.

Gene Hammett: When you think about your leadership and culture right now of your company, what are the most critical defining elements of that make this company grow so fast?

Geetesh Goyal: You know, I would say. Really it’s I think being able to, you know, adapt very quickly, , and to be able to, again, going back to how we changed from Neozene to Human Bees, to be able to not lose a lot of time, because time is money because you’re supporting yourself while you’re trying to grow. A new baby. So you can’t lose a lot of time. I think you when you see something you’d have to get to a very quick, pivot, and execute.

Gene Hammett: Other than adaptation, what else are the critical elements of your company?

Geetesh Goyal: You know, I would say that it was, you know, really, again, making sure that you’re thinking everything through at least five, six steps forward, you know, making sure that you’re really thinking through exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If you kind of, if you do that, you can start to protect yourself from holes. I mean, you’ll still fall into some, but because you don’t, you’re just part of the game. Right. But I think being able to really think plan out five, six steps, why are you doing something? And what’s going to happen next. And in every step, having your pivot points, you know, really mapping out and it’s continually every minute. Doing that exercise, you know, it’s not like you do it once a month. I mean, you’re literally doing it every hour.

Gene Hammett: I talk with a lot of my clients about this concept of moving from being a reactive leader to being an intentional leader. And, and this word intentional is exciting and everyone wants to be an intentional leader, but it sounds like that’s what you were describing being seven steps ahead. , do you think about being an intentional leader.

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah. You know, I think that that’s a great sort of way to put it. You know, I think that that is very key because I think, when you’re an entrepreneur, right, being reactive is going to just be part of the game, because you’re just going to be hit by all sides. So a degree of that is always going to be there, but if you are only reacting. And you were not an intentional leader, you know, whatsoever, then I think you’re, you’re really going to be, it’s going to be tough because you are going to be sort of down that, that tidal wave. It’s going to take you in that Whirlpool and you will know what direction you’re in. If you can think seven steps out, then you’re like you said, being an intentional leader. I think that’ll, it’ll tremendously. Help you, because you’re still going to get, you know, hit, but at least this way you had some sort of vision and high-level game plan, you know, I think it’s really, I was put it this way.

You have to, you have to separate the two because you’re, you’re both the strategic visionary, and you’re the biggest worker bee as well. So you have to dive in and kind of get in the weeds, dive in, do all the functional work. Jumped back out at a 10,000-foot view and look at it again. What did I do? Where am I going? How am I doing it? Is this okay? Then dive back into the weeds and then you get back down, but then you gotta jump back out at that strategic vision level. And you have to keep doing that, you know, on a daily basis. And you know, I think where I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs fail is they get stuck in one of those seats. They can’t toggle very well back and forth between the two. And you need to be able to toggle every single day between those two very different seats.

Commentary: Now, Geetesh, said if you’re only reactive, it’s really tough. Now I worked with a lot of leaders that have a very good reactive sense inside their business, but that only takes them so far. One of the biggest things that I do is help them figure out how to go from being reactive to being intentional or being proactive. I don’t care what word you use there, but you want to make sure that you can shift that energy inside your business, because that is critical for you to not feel overwhelmed, not to feel like a firefighter, but to truly feel like the CEO, my job is to help you figure out what it takes to move to that next level. I can only do so much to a podcast. So if I can serve you in any way, make sure you reach out to me at gene@genehammett.com and schedule a call. I’d love to get to know you and figure out what your next step as a leader is.. Now, back to the interview.

Gene Hammett: I would like to talk just a little bit for a moment about your specific leadership approach. You have had successful companies, you have, you know, a team around you. What are the principles of leadership that drive you?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah. Right. You know, I think that that really. [00:20:00] It’s, I think one thing that was hard for me to learn at the beginning when I first started Neozene you know, I thought, okay, now I’m the boss. I hired a team and you know, I can kick my feet up, everybody else, you know, do the work I can sort of direct and you know, things will happen. And what I didn’t appreciate the time was, you know, the leaders I followed and, you know, who’s going to follow me is you have to be the hardest worker. In the room and you have to lead by really lead by example, you know, the old kind of servant leadership, right? Like, so [8:00] AM we’d kick-off, the company, you know, I’d have to be there at [7:15] AM. I’d have to be the first one in the last one out. And, you know, you really have to lead by example. And that’s something that, , you know, it was really, you know, I think once I got that, that was one of the last pieces. I think that I was naive to respect thinking that you can just kind of tell people and things happen.

You have to do it, show them, help them. Right. Be somebody who, is helpful. Always be thinking about your employees first and yourself last. I mean, that’s what you’re signing up for. Right? So it’s knowing that that’s exactly, that’s the key to success and that’s what you signed up for it, but you just may not know it. I didn’t know. In the beginning,

Gene Hammett: I’ve got a question that I asked quite a bit of people just like you, and you just said something about employees. I wanted to make sure that I don’t miss this, but fast-growth companies and the leaders like you can focus on many different things, but if I ask you then what I call the impossible question, I want you to just think about it and give me the best answer. What’s more important to leaders like yourself, your employees, your customers.

Geetesh Goyal: Great. Great, great question. , you know, honestly, too, if I am being just truly, truly honest, I mean, it’s very close, but I would say, definitely my employee. I mean, I think it, it all starts there. , you know, I mean, they’re literally, I mean, going on a journey like this, I mean, you know, people that kind of that I work with and that, you know, work for me and with me, I mean, they’ve literally truly become family. Like, you know, that’s a, it’s a cliche that’s thrown around, but I mean, in our company, I mean, it’s literally truly become the case. I don’t, there’s our crew that was here at the beginning and started things. I don’t see them differently than, you know, blood family. And so, and then obviously without our clients, particularly the ones that supported us in the beginning, you know, we wouldn’t be here without them and their belief in us, but, but I would say it definitely starts within our own house. , you know, and, you know, and the people that, you know, work, work, work with me. I almost like to say like, my partner.

Gene Hammett: So I’m asked this question to many leaders, just like yourself and over 93% of the time, say it’s employees. Fast growth companies know that they don’t scale without the right people and those people taking care of the customers. And there are many reasons underneath that, but you’re in good company with these other fast companies. I never, I didn’t even know what you would say. I didn’t set this up. You can probably agree with that. , but, does leadership has to focus on employees in this day and age to create. The kind of place where people are willing to put customers first. , so I appreciate you being here with me. One last question for you, you know, we’ve talked about a lot of things as it relates to growing your company fast.

Is there anything that we left out when you feel like we need to bring up at this moment?

Geetesh Goyal: Yeah. You know, I think it’s, I mean, yeah, in closing, I mean, I would really say that it’s, you’re, you’re gonna, you know, the way I like to put it. When you’re in corporate and you’re getting a paycheck, that’s, you know, you’re, you’re in a, a boxing ring with headgear gloves, you know, in a ring, there’s a map that has to give on it. You’re going to go be an entrepreneur. You’re, you’re getting in a bare-knuckle fistfight in your fist or dipped in glass, and it’s on concrete and there’s a ring of fire around you. And so, you know, like, just know you’re signing up for that. And the people that get in the trenches with you. , you know, you’re going, cause no one can do it alone. You’re going on this epic ride and just, you know, believe in yourself and believe in the people around you. You don’t, I mean, honestly, if you don’t, you know, 100% unequivocally, then don’t do it because you’ve already failed. If you, you know, it’s it’s, you have to kind of either go all in. Do it, or I would recommend, you know, making sure you plan and, and wait until that time. Right. And, you know, but it’s, it’s, you know, if it’s for you, it’s amazing. I always gave the, I always give the analogy and I get to share this story. You know, it’s funny. I was a finalist for Ian wise entrepreneur of the year. And, , you know, I think that was down to the final five and, you know, they asked me this question, You know why me and, you know, I think the answer I gave, I don’t think they liked it.

I think that’s probably why I didn’t win, but, you know, I said, I said, look, you can, I saw it as either. I can, I can, if I take a lot of funding and if I, you know, and I dilute myself down, I know a lot of people who took, took the quote-unquote easier way out. And they took all this kind of funding. , you know, I’d have to grow five on 2% of my own company. I’d have to go to the company to a billion dollars. To gain 20 million of wealth. Right. Or I could own a hundred percent of a company where I built it to a $20 million company. Right. And so I kind of look at it. There is a bonafide scoreboard, so don’t get enamored. When you see people out there who got X amount of funding or who got, you know, that’s not going in their pocket, that’s actually taking a lot of money out of their pocket. So, I, I would say, you know, have belief in yourself, belief in the trenches with those who you chose to be around you. And, and then, you know, go, go get it and, and make sure that, you know, you, you, you really want it because as hard as you think the riots going to be, it’s going to be 10 times harder.

Gene Hammett: I got one final question for you. I, again, don’t know this answer. You’re not one of my clients. I’d be proud of you if you were, with this level of growth, but do you have coaches or do you have people that support you and challenge you to be the leader that you are today?

Geetesh Goyal: Great question. You know, I do, I have an advisory board that put together kind of, for that reason, you know, there various folks who entrepreneurs. Bill company’s sold them. And, you know, , a couple of them are, you know, C-level executives and billion-dollar companies. , so I do have an advisory board that I kind of lead on for that sort of stuff. But, who’s, who’s been very helpful, but honestly, no, not really in kind of a more of a pure capacity, the way that, that, , that you’re saying. I think that myself and my co-founder were Neil, I think we just kind of leaned on each other, , you know, and, and use that as our way of kind of venting and trying to, to, to grow each other.

Gene Hammett: appreciate you being here to share your journey. I appreciate your wisdom. Thank you so much.

Geetesh Goyal: Thank you appreciate it.

Gene Hammett: That wraps up another great episode here at growth think tank 800 episodes. Can you believe it? Hopefully, you’ve been around for much of this journey. I have been here every step of it. I love to be able to come into your ears and create some new insight. New thinking that relates to you growing your business, being a better leader, creating the culture that you really want. Now, If you are getting everything you need from this podcast. Great. I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email, go to social media. Tell a friend but if there’s something missing and you’re something you want to get more clarity on and make sure you check out genehammett.com and schedule your call. I’d love to support you in your journey to being the most effective leader you can be to be an extraordinary leader. That is what I do. This is who I am. I want to help you just go togenehammett.com and go to schedule your call and we’ll help you become the leader that your team deserves. Now, when you continue to take in this content, make sure you are taking action. You’re not just listening passively.

You are truly pushing forward. That’s what I’m here to do. When you think about growth, when you think about leadership, think of Growth Think Tank as always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

 

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