Matt Rosen is the founder of Allata. It is a “fast-growth consulting firm based in Dallas,” which “has been in the Top 100 of the Inc 5000” for two straight years.
For the last 21 years, Matt Rosen built several high-performance teams and consulting organizations in Texas.
Prior to Allata, Matt Rosen spent 7 years as the vice president at Pariveda, “where he built long-lasting relationships with enterprise clients and oversaw the successful delivery of many complex engagements.”
Matt-Rosen also “co-founded the DFW IT Roundtable, a group of high integrity IT professionals who serve many clients and non-profit organizations” based in Dallas-Fort Worth.
In the late 90s, Matt Rosen started his career in the “document management industry.” While there, he realized that “most business forms were moving to large ERP systems and that I needed to be in technical sales.”
In 2000, Matt Rosen launched his consulting career during the dotcom boom. Then he “worked my way up from an inside sales representative to running an office in a short time.”
Matt Rosen “fell in love with the consulting business as a firm can always pivot into new industry segments, technology domains and continually reinvent itself.”
Changes in technology and the limitless “number of challenges to help organizations excites Matt Rosen, and inspires him to find success every day.
I fell in love with the consulting business as a firm can always pivot into new industry segments, technology domains and continually reinvent itself. Matt Rosen, Allata
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Matt Rosen: I originally started my career in the document management industry in the late 90s only to realize most business forms were moving to large ERP systems and that I needed to be in technical sales.
I started my consulting career in 2000 during the dotcom boom for a company establishing the first eCommerce presence for many large companies.
I worked my way up from an inside sales representative to running an office in a short time.
I fell in love with the consulting business as a firm can always pivot into new industry segments, technology domains and continually reinvent itself.
The number of challenges to help organizations is almost limitless. Then add the pace of technology change, and that’s exciting to me.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Matt Rosen: In 2014, I left a very stable VP level role with a large consulting firm called Pariveda, which I helped build from $10M — $100M.
At this point in my life, I wanted to take some risk for potential upside, which was not possible at Pariveda.
I spent the next 1.5 years helping a start-up real estate asset management software and consulting firm get off the ground.
The firm was very successful in the first year; however, the majority owner and I had very different values on how to run a company and treat employees.
The software company was growing fast and losing money, so I tried to convince the owner to take on funding.
Instead of a collaborative discussion, the owner scolded me like a 6-year-old child.
At that moment, I knew I had to stop building companies for other people and build one for myself guided by my values.
I started Allata in the middle of 2016 and never looked back.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Matt Rosen: In starting a new business venture most founders tend to make many mistakes. I had to think hard about this question as most early mistakes were painful stories not funny ones.
When I first started Allata, I probably took on too much personally vs. hiring folks to take on certain responsibilities.
Initially I had full responsibility for sales, marketing, recruiting, client delivery, operations, IT, HR, and accounts payable/receivable, and most importantly client coffee delivery.
There was not enough time in the day for all the jobs Allata required and I didn’t hire any full-time employees for the first year.
I was working around the clock and spending time on things I’m awful at including administering Office 365 and creating invoices.
I definitely was not playing to my strengths.
I realized that as we went from 1 to 6 clients in the first year, I could no longer scale and began hiring full-time employees to begin to take on this responsibility.
Had I moved forward on more full-time hires earlier, I would have had more time to focus on growth.
I have found it best to hire slowly and fire quickly if someone is not a good fit for the organization.
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
Matt Rosen: People — Having the right people will make or break a business. Vital is the leadership team of the company and making sure that they have the same values.
I started the firm with some of the wrong people in leadership positions. This could have easily sunk my company had things worked out differently.
I have found it best to hire slowly and fire quickly if someone is not a good fit for the organization.
Once you have the right people make sure you take care of them, show them a growth path, and incent the right behaviors that align with the company’s objectives.
Clear Objectives — I have found what is written down gets done. We have clear targets for revenue, margin, utilization, new client acquisition, and people growth.
We communicate these objectives every month to the entire company and review them weekly as a leadership team.
I do not allow for any ambiguity in what we are trying to achieve.
Even when the pandemic hit and things looked bleak at first, we quickly reset our expectations and worked as a team to exceed them.
I worked for a ‘good’ firm in the early 2000s, where everything the leadership stated was very nuanced and often was contradictory to a message sent previously.
As a result, this organization failed quickly when tough times hit during the dot-com crash as we did not have a clear plan forward, and leadership did not work together to manage the crisis.
Focus on core business — While building a company, it’s easy to get distracted away from what you do best.
I have seen many ‘good’ business leaders try and go too many directions at once, throwing a bunch of crap against the wall and seeing what sticks.
I worked for several professional services firms that tried to be software companies simultaneously, and it just doesn’t work.
The business models are entirely different and can’t co-exist successfully within the same company walls.
At Allata, we have focused on the custom application development and data space within the clients we serve.
We get asked to do things outside of our wheelhouse, and unless they complement the skills we already have, we turn the business away or introduce a partner firm.
Strong Decision Making — Nothing will kill a good company quicker than indecision. I have found it’s much better to make a decision, even if it’s the wrong one, and move forward.
The most dangerous speed on a highway is zero, and it’s the same in the business world.
Many ‘good’ business leaders want to have as much data as possible before making a decision, and their teams hang in limbo and often do nothing while they wait for the leader.
A relentless pursuit of customer success — Customers are the lifeblood of every organization, and without them, the organization will cease to exist.
My favorite quote on this topic is from the great Sam Walton simply stated, “There is only one boss: the customer.
And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Many ‘good’ organizations lose focus on this point, and some even outsource their customer facing sales and support staff.
Some have pushed these functions offshore, only to bring them right back due to customer complaints.
As stated in our mantra — “Clients are King” we remind ourselves daily of our customer’s importance.
Truly great companies focus on their customers and make the relationships as strong as possible.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Matt Rosen: Many organizations have missions, visions, and values published on a website or the wall in an office.
Publishing your values and living them are entirely different things. Many leaders make promises or are faced with tough decisions that challenge these values.
The truly great leaders use these values as a north star for their decision making and do not waver from them.
During my career, I have worked for some incredible, inspiring leaders whom I’m proud to call my mentors.
I contribute much of my success from what I learned from these individuals, even if feedback from them was often tough and critical.
Under their leadership, these organizations thrived.
I have also seen how destructive, poor leadership and lack of values are to an organization.
Some of the best leadership experience I received was learning how not to lead from several CEOs I worked with.
When faced with a tough decision, I ask what would one of those poor leaders do, and I often do the opposite, and things work out very well for the firm.
At Allata, our leadership team leads based on our core values.
If it’s client interactions, situations with employees, or back-office operations, there are tough decisions to be made.
As a firm, we reference our values daily to make these decisions.
Our value system allows us to move forward decisively and not overanalyze decisions.
Lack of decision drives inaction and standing in limbo is the most dangerous place for an organization.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Matt Rosen: Conversion rates vary by industry; however, I’ll address the professional services space I understand the best.
The best way to increase conversion rates is to make sure you fill the pipeline with the right deals and qualify prospects upfront.
It often takes the same amount of time and effort to close a $50k project as it does a $500k one.
Make sure you invest time in the right deals and be the first to walk when a deal is not a good fit.
There are always two winners in a competitive deal or RFP — the actual winner and the one who walks away first and doesn’t waste precious time and resources in the pursuit.
Truly great companies focus on their customers and make the relationships as strong as possible. Matt Rosen
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Matt Rosen: Becoming a beloved brand takes a lot of time and effort. A great way to start is by building an excellent reputation.
The first step is always doing what you say you will do and doing it with quality. The second step is to continue to deliver a similar or higher level of service.
Last, once you have established a good reputation with a client, ask for referrals to their family and friends.
Remember, no matter how long you have had the account, it takes years to build a great customer relationship and seconds to destroy one.
Make sure your employees know how important customer relationships are to the organization.
We review our clients and successes with our entire company once a month at our town hall.
Our mantra of Clients are King is something we expect each Allatian to live each day as they do their work.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Matt Rosen: Follow me on LinkedIn and learn more about Allata here:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!