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Stand Out: GotVMail, A Phone System for Entrepreneurs

Small-business owners, you deserve a moment in the spotlight. In this regular column, we highlight entrepreneurs from all over the U.S. who can answer the question: “What makes you stand out from the crowd?” We know you’re proud of your accomplishments — now you can tell the world about them, too.

Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser, co-founders of GotVMail, answer our questions:

What makes you stand out from the crowd?
We decided early on that we wanted to control the direction of our own company. That’s why we’ve not only shunned venture capital funding, we decided to build all of our own technology and craft it specifically for our customers’ needs rather than just buy and rehab it. This independence has helped GotVMail grow from a student project at Babson College in 2003 to an Inc. 500 company in just a few years.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
First, we’re proud that we’re able to empower tens of thousands of entrepreneurs to succeed with our virtual telecommunications tools, which help bypass the obstacles that mobile small businesses face. Also, by giving our employees generous incentives and vacation packages, we believe that we have created a culture for “A” players to excel — something that only works when you have confidence in the people you work with.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
We not only had to build a company, our brand, and drive customer acquisitions in a hard to reach market, we had to build awareness for an unknown industry at the same time. Unlike the credit card or web hosting industries that are well known, the virtual phone system category was not. So we had to introduce entrepreneurs to a new way of business communications and then acquire them as customers.

What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Focus on building a company with real customers that need or want your product or service. Don’t worry about venture capital funding. If there are people willing to pay for what you do, that is the best way to start a company. Take it from there.