Names and ages: Mie-Yun Lee, 31; Brenda Chin Hsu, 32
Company name and description: BuyersZone employs technical talent to develop and operate a Web site, http://www.buyerszone.com , to help busy entrepreneurs evaluate and purchase office equipment and services.
Based: Watertown, Massachusetts
Start-up costs: $20,000
1999 sales projections: $2 million
Number of employees: 15
Testing the waters:To acquire and retain the best technical expertise, BuyersZone initially hires software engineers on a consulting basis. This gives the company a chance to evaluate their technical skills and how they work with other employees before bringing them on board. "It's hard to evaluate [technical] employees by resume only," Lee says. "This way, we can work with them to see how they communicate with us."
Way to grow: With sales increasing at an ultra-fast clip of 30 percent each quarter, BuyersZone has been forced to institute many policies for managing its brisk growth. Among them: forming partnerships with such companies as Excite, Netscape and Yahoo; monthly meetings to assess operations and goals; and the development of a "great ideas" database to document employees' thoughts on new products and company operations.
What a pair: Realizing she lacked the necessary skills to grow her business, in 1996, Lee went in search of a CEO with strong sales, marketing and financial-management experience. She found it in Hsu, who now oversees BuyersZone's strategic and operational activities. "It was too big an idea for me to do on my own," admits Lee, who is now editorial director. "I needed someone with a vision that would complement mine."
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