As Convene recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, I was inspired to reflect on what we’ve done to get to 32 locations and nearly 800 employees. There’s no single path to success, and no one plan has gotten us here. Through both strategy and necessity, we charted a path that may have seemed boring to some by focusing on continual improvement of our offering and growing within the available means.
As our success grew, and it became clear that it was repeatable, our growth accelerated. However, we’ve never lost sight of the scrappiness that got us here or prioritized growth over the quality of our product or the livelihoods of our team members. Most importantly, CEO Ryan Simonetti and I have always known that a successful business needs to consistently make money.
Recent market events have affected investor sentiment and created a renewed focus on building businesses profitably and sustainably. Although the winds have shifted quickly, we’re happy that they have, because Convene has been built with three simple goals:
1) Give our clients a fantastic and memorable experience that will bring them back again and again;
2) Provide our team members with an amazing career opportunity and
3) Build a business that will thrive long after our founders are gone.
Our first two goals are tightly linked, because happy team members that enjoy their work are going to be much more likely to deliver a special experience. We’re proud that Convene has been named one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces in New York for the past three years, and our team’s hard work has resulted in industry best Net Promoter Scores. To be sure, having happy customers and team members goes a long way towards achieving our third goal.
Convene has opened 32 locations across six markets with more to come. While each location is unique, there are key similarities that are the cornerstones to our continued sustainable and profitable growth:
For almost every year that Convene has operated, it carried that unit level profitability through on a consolidated level. Over the past couple of years, we have made leverageable investments in our corporate infrastructure to support our continued growth. With the bulk of those investments made, we will return to profitability at a corporate level in 2020, while growing more than 60% again.
Being the CFO for a high growth business can be exhilarating, stimulating and frustrating (sometimes all at once). Rarely does anyone refer to it as boring. Over the past few years, profitability may have been considered boring relative to rocketship growth. That sentiment seems to be shifting, but in the meantime, we are happy to be boring in the best possible way.