Developing a Success
Volano is Making their clients more efficient
The Mastercraft is one of the city's most vibrant hubs for creative types, so it's no surprise that the space is also the home to some of Omaha's most innovate software solutions.
Volano Solutions was founded in 2007 in a 220-square foot cubbyhole of an office. Flash forward to today and owners Don Stavneak and Rod Smith now direct a team of 21 knowledgeable professionals who create and implement custom-tailored workflow software for local businesses.
As co-founders with strong backgrounds in coding and software development, Stavneak and Smith have created a company "built by developers for developers." Both have a keen understanding of what it takes to find bugs or create software solutions, but the business feels its strongest point may be in being able to understand and implement a client vision.
The software evolution that has become Volano started when Smith and Stavneak began working together at different companies 15 years ago. Smith’s experience in software sales during the early days of the PC showed him “the power of software” and compelled him to begin building it in his free time. And when most kids were being read The Cat in the Hat, Stavneak began tinkering with code as a 4-year-old.
"Volano strives to not just merely 'build software.' Their aim is to establish deep and broad relationships to ensure that their solutions will position clients for sustained growth and success."
Together they offer a model for success that begins with building momentum in the very first encounter with a potential client. Indeed, the company name itself is derived from the Italian for "flywheel". The owners believe it is vital to "see firsthand [client] business challenges and needs, to understand their vision, and then engage in a long-term relationship," Stavneak says.
The business now manages about 90 projects for 40 clients every year.
Smith adds that they seek "good, healthy businesses" that can "paint a virtual canvas and have Volano build it." But Volano strives to not just merely "build software." Their aim is to establish deep and broad relationships to ensure that their solutions will position clients for sustained growth and success.
The driving force behind this model is differentiation, which Stavneak defines as “doing things a bit differently than the next guy.” Volano creates this backbone by focusing first on hiring for “attitude and aptitude [and] allowing the rest to fall naturally.”
It's a philosophy that relies on a commitment to continuous, lifelong learning and improvement. Employees are allotted four hours a week to focus on improving both themselves and Volano, whether that can be keeping up with new technology or serving in the community. It's this cornerstone of the right people working together that leads to the building of professional relationships "beyond sitting next to each other" at work, Smith says.
Both Smith and Stavneak agree that keeping success local benefits the business as much as does cash flow. Meeting with clients in person develops bonds and removes the pressure of "leading with product." Not only does this allow for diversification and growth, but it also promotes the kind of creativity that leads to continued customer satisfaction, proving that engaged employees make for an engaged clientele.
The Firm Deal Review
Years in Business: 8
Annual Client Base: 40
Industry: Software & programming
Owners: Don Stavneak & Rod Smith