By Verne Harnish
A few years back, it would have been hard to imagine that Infinity Software would achieve a $25 million exit. But the family business—a seller of loan management software that serves financial services companies—caught the eye of Constellation Software, a multi-billion-dollar public company in Canada, and achieved its exit in the fall of 2021. Along the way, the business, headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, grew from $4 million to more than $10 million in annual revenue.
What allowed the business to scale to new heights was reading Scaling Up: Rockefeller Habits 2.0, according to Alexx Leyva, who, with his brothers Ryan and Nick, took the helm as co-CEOs between 2015 and 2017, after their father, Chris Leyva, the founder, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and needed more time to attend to his health; he has since retired.
“It became our business bible, so much so that the pages were falling out,” says Alexx, who was a recent college graduate at the time. “We’d go back over it, again and again.”
Here’s how they applied the ideas in the book to the 4 Decisions every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash:
Powering up recruiting
One key step for the new leadership team was using the Topgrading system for hiring, coaching and retaining talent, they improved the company’s recruiting processes, as they grew the team from 12 to 36 employees and 35 contractors.
A cornerstone of their efforts was developing a three-step interview process, using a job scorecard they created in advance to measure how well they matched the requirements of a position and phone screening before each interview took place. Strong candidates then advanced to both competency-based and culture-based interviews. “We put everyone through the Topgrading gauntlet,” jokes Alexx.
Topgrading brought big results. “We went from mis-hiring 85% of the time to hiring correctly 85% of the time,” says Alexx.
And building a strong team put Infinity Software in good stead when the company had to go virtual during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Because we adhered to Scaling Up, we landed really well,” says Alexx. “As a remote company, we kept growing.”
As the leadership team began to work on Strategy, they discovered it was more challenging than they anticipated. “We struggled with that a lot,” says Nick. “We would rack our brains trying to figure out the One-Page Strategic Plan.”
To develop their knowledge and skills, they signed up for the Scaling Up Course at our Growth Institute. This helped them articulate a clear Purpose they shared with the team: “freedom to grow,” for employees, customers and partners alike. For instance, Infinity Software enables customers who need credit the freedom to access it through technology.
Going straight to customers
It was when they began focusing on Execution and began talking to their customers more that they discovered the right strategy: to develop a customizable software platform for the alternative lending space. “It helped us retain bigger clients and become that enterprise-level solution none of our competitors were able to become,” says Nick.
To make sure they could execute their strategy, the leadership team set up Daily Huddles to establish regular communication rhythms. It also established Quarterly Themes. One fun theme that helped to bring the team together was “Avengers Infinity 4,” complete with a movie poster where the designer photoshopped the faces of all of the employees onto the bodies of the Avengers. Other themes focused on processes and procedures. When something went wrong, they soon started hearing comments from staff such as, “Hey, we need to go back to that theme.”
With the company growing quickly, the leadership team set up processes for delegation. That way, no one became a bottleneck, and the team could address customer service issues quickly.
Fortunately, the company’s Cash position was strong. Chris Leyva had set up a strong revenue model, with the company charging a setup fee, monthly fees and per-transaction fees. “With that kind of stable recurring revenue model and the fact that we can service big clients that pay $100 a month, it was a pretty stable business,” says Alexx.
However, they knew there was more to be done. Under Nick’s leadership, they also put into place new measures to improve collections and make them more quickly.
Their disciplined work ultimately made the company an attractive acquisition target. All three brothers have stayed on during the transition to new ownership. “Implementing Scaling Up was the turning point for our business,” says Alexx.