ISU Corp: The Beginning
Inspired by a desire to work remotely as an alternative to the Toronto commute, combined with a family history of entrepreneurship, David Mansilla chose to build ISU Corp, a world-class custom software solutions company in 2005. While not many companies were open to remote work for their employees, David realized corporations were hiring contract workers who lived hours away by plane. He thought, why couldn’t he work from home then? He remembers thinking that there must be more people like himself who could work from home where they might possibly be even more effective.
Why Sponsor Innovation Guelph
“I believe in the work Innovation Guelph (IG) is doing and I respect the focus on women entrepreneurs,” David said, adding, “half my staff are women, which is not typical in tech.” He said he appreciates IG’s focus on growing businesses and promoting women. He says based on that, “I’m in!” ISU Corp looks forward to working with IG clients to address their website, software and app needs.
ISU Corp enjoys working with entrepreneurs, in fact, David said most of his day involves collaborations where learning happens. With other entrepreneurs, David said, he appreciates the ability to discuss challenges and ideas.
“When you lead an organization, it can be lonely,” David explained. “As a leader, it’s important to demonstrate strength so some issues can’t be shared with your staff.”
David’s leadership style is one of gratitude and self-improvement. “I’m always trying to be a better leader,” he said. “My foundation is based on gratitude, growth and contribution.” David says growth is a means to give more. “Leadership has to come from love, otherwise it doesn’t work, and gratitude generates the most beautiful emotion,” David said.
What Clients Should Know
When considering whether an app is right for your company, David says there are several things to consider.
- Don’t use an app to automate a process that isn’t working efficiently.
- You need a healthy budget to create an app; it takes significant investment.
- Don’t fall in love with your app too quickly or completely. You will risk the potential to become blind to inefficiencies causing it to become obsolete.
Clients should also ask themselves:
- What is the purpose of the app I want to create?
- Will it make money (increase revenue or sales)?
- Does something already exist that can do all or a good percentage of what I need?
- Do I have a manual process that requires a lot of work hours or exposes my company to potential errors that effects the whole company?
- Will ROI be exponential?
Getting Your App Noticed
If you already have an app, it can be challenging to encourage its use. If the app is used internally in your organization, David recommends motivating staff to use it through lunch and learn meetings, intranet posts, games, promotions and incentives.
Apps created for external audiences are more challenging to promote. David says the process of getting your app known can be very expensive – requiring about $1M for sales and marketing. Alternatively, connecting with an influencer can also help promote the app through social media marketing.
Why Websites and Software are Important
David said one of his mentors, Peter Diamandis, of SpaceX, once said that if a company doesn’t implement software and use websites effectively, they’ll be extinct in 10 years. David said software enables profitability. “It is the root of business and COVID has accelerated it.”
It’s important for companies to shift their thinking about software to view it not as a cost centre but as a profit centre. He suggests they should be looking at how they can make money with the software that they either sell or use.
David also suggests that companies can use their websites more effectively by ensuring the website speaks specifically to their target market. Digital and social media marketing should be used for promotion. He recommends updating the site at least monthly and adding blogs weekly.
Participating in an interview while exercising at his walking desk, David is easy to connect with, willingly sharing the leadership principles that govern his relationships with staff, clients and organizations like Innovation Guelph.