Slingshot is a cloud-based business Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service provider offering small business owners complete communication freedom. The service is leveling the industry playing field by providing the same functionality as telecommunication giants at affordable prices. By using Slingshot, small business owners can substantially lower operating costs — they don’t have to worry about maintaining expensive hardware or hiring an in-house expert. Slingshot gives small businesses one more tool to help them run lean and scale more easily.
The need for tools that help rather than hinder operational processes is something Slingshot founder Edwin Frondozo is no stranger to. Like many startups, Frondozo and his team built their product from scratch and, on top of that, set their sights on a market with existing competitors. Since its founding, the company has gone through many cycles of implementing, measuring, and reiterating operational processes.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time. We really went formal on it two years ago. We were selling the beginnings of the virtual PBX solution since 2006, but until we really learned the business, it took us a long time [to get things right],” Frondozo says. “I think operations are a never ending cycle of improvement but, that’s why businesses are still around after 30 years — they’re still doing the cycle.”
The Slingshot team uses a variety of tools to help keep this cycle moving. The company is always growing so processes are constantly being refined. Frondozo says a carpenter is only as good as the tools in his toolbox.
“You need specialized tools to help you to work efficiently,” he adds.
Frondozo was using QuickBooks before he founded Slingshot. The biggest advantage of the accounting software package, he says, is having the ability, the resources, and the expertise of the people behind the tool. He uses it for weekly and monthly reports, setting goals, and maintaining budgets. He says QuickBooks helps keep his company’s finances on track and saves him a tremendous amount of time.
An equally valuable tool in his kit is the Startup Canada network. Through Startup Canada, Frondozo and his team have gained access to meet and network with inspirational leaders and mentors across the country.
“I am very thankful to be part of this organization,” says Frondozo. “I have the opportunity to meet a lot of other business owners and startups and see the struggles they’re going through because I’ve been hosting Startups Chats [Startup Canada Twitter Chats]. It’s good that way. I’ve been really keeping my ear to the ground and that’s probably the most difficult — as a business owner you forget what people are going through.”
Slingshot is a non-traditional telecommunications company, operating in a traditional space. Frondozo has taken a long time to identify the tools he needs to excel in this space and maximize the efficient use of these tools. Although the process can be daunting, he advises all startups to learn to make decisions quickly and implement new tools sooner rather than later.
“If you have to try and make things up on your own, you’re probably losing time and losing money,” he says. “The way I see it in my business, the sooner we get a tool or process implemented, the better we can refine it. You’ll never know if it’s right or wrong [until you do it] because you’re sitting on the wrong side of the decision.”