The 2016 CEO of the Year recipient has been heading Ross Video since 2006, taking over from his father and the company’s founder, John Ross. During his tenure as CEO, the privately held video equipment and service provider has won an Emmy, acquired 11 existing companies and expanded its operations into more than 100 countries.
But all this growth didn’t happen overnight. During an interview with The Inside Track, Ross extolled the virtues of taking the long route and driving long-term growth through sales, rather than equity investment.
“Too many Canadian companies focus on their exit first,” was a sentiment that Ross expressed in response to a question about what makes Ross Video a strong competitor in its market.
His model focuses instead on developing products that customers want to buy. Ross Video then adds to those products over time though internally funded R&D and complementary acquisitions that allows it to develop packaged solutions capable of solving increasingly complicated problems.
"Why not try to be a company that buys companies, instead of one that gets sold? It’s not that hard "
Mr. Ross expressed concern over financing models in which Canadian companies seek early funding by selling equity shares in order to fund development of a specific product. He thinks this type of business growth traps companies into having to push sales of a pre-defined product or service in order to satisfy investors, without giving them the flexibility to react to customer needs and improve.
When asked about what drives sales for Ross Video, a company that has managed to establish sales momentum in more than 100 countries, Ross responded that “selling is not rocket science.” Ross credits a strong commitment to building trust, starting small and investing in people who consistently represent your product within a local market to his global sales success.
How does Ross Video find and keep good human capital? A clearly defined code of ethics. According to Ross, his experience with the company has been a “25 year-long HR exercise”. Expansion led to growing pains as delegation became the norm, causing Ross to write out a code of ethics for the company.
What’s next for Ross Video?
“We want to build a great Canadian company,” Ross says.
And they plan to be there 10 years from now. How does Ross explain his company’s staying power in the competitive video production market? Ross Video doesn’t box itself into making and selling any specific thing. Instead, they are a company that helps other companies make great video. This perspective gives the company a timeless sense of purpose and the capacity to advance their products and services at the pace of technology landscape in which they operate.