SHERIDAN — The Chief Operating Officer of a Laramie-based product manufacturing company told a packed house at The Black Tooth Brewing Company Thursday that having a good idea isn’t enough when it comes to owning a business.
Tony Nevshemal, COO of Raman Spectrometer specialists DeltaNu, said the ability to competently run the company is an essential part of the equation, no matter how impressive the product.
“Right now we monitor our costs properly, and we’re not losing money like we were at one time,” he said.
The presentation was part of the Wyoming Technology Business Center’s “e2e “entrepreneurship networking program.
Initially launched by a handful of University of Wyoming faculty members, DeltaNu has grown over the past 15 years into a company that sells to customers all over the world and has, in many ways, become a standard bearer in its industry.
The company produces state-of-the-art handheld devices that allow users to identify materials based on an extensive library of how the wavelengths of specific chemicals and substances react when exposed to light.
The devices are used largely by law enforcement and hazardous materials agencies to identify suspected illegal substances without destroying them. Nevshemal said that while the science behind the products can sometimes be difficult for the layman to understand, many organizations have a serious need for their services.
“We’re selling them to people who don’t know it’s a Raman Spectrometer, but they do know it tells them what they want,” he said.
Despite a clear need for the company’s products, DeltaNu’s operating procedures were sub-par at best when Nevshemal joined the team in 2006. While the individuals charged with running the company new the technology well, their business sense was lacking.
Nevshemal was brought on board to foster a culture of accountability and solid business protocol. One of his first initiatives involved setting standards for training the company’s staff. In doing so, he helped the company shirk its previous reputation for sloppy customer service.
“We really were starting to put together a semblance of quality systems,” he said. “Since everyone owns these processes, we have complete company buy-in.”
Nevshemal also set about drafting flow-charts responsible for outlining exactly how the business would operate. The result was a clear chain of accountability and a newfound ability for company officials to provide a high level of service to its base of clients.
Nevshemal’s work resulted in DeltaNu being acquired by a larger company in 2007. Today, the organization continues to operate out of Laramie while furthering its reach into countries around the world.
Nevshemal’s message to the audience at Thursday’s event: Organization and a solid business foundation is key.
The e2e program operates in Sheridan, Laramie and Gillette. A product of the Wyoming Technology Business Center, its events allow opportunities for entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs to network and learn from each other.
The center’s Chief Operating Officer Christine Langley said Nevshemal was chosen to present at February’s event based on both his business success and technical knowledge.
“Tony is that cross for us,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is fuel an entrepreneurial spirit.”