As we pass our 20th business anniversary for Sunwapta Solutions, I spent some time reflecting on some of the most popular questions we’ve received over the years.
- How did you come up with your company name?
- What’s up with all of the water?
It All Started When
Like all business owners, we spent a lot of time trying to come up with a name that was: interesting, meant something to us, and wasn’t already taken.
After much discussion, I searched a map of Alberta and landed on Sunwapta as a contender and did some further research.
Sunwapta means “turbulent waters” in a local aboriginal dialect. It is both a fast-flowing, mountain river and a spectacular waterfall located near the border of Jasper and Banff National Parks.
In nature, water is life, power, and a demonstration of persistence. It is also about flow and cycles.
We formed Sunwapta Solutions Inc. on June 22nd, 2000, because we had an unwritten story we wanted to tell. It remains a work in progress based on a few concepts around helping people.
The Premise of Sunwapta’s Story
For a small business, the data starts as a trickle. As you gain customers and employees, the streams of information become a little larger. A few key people are watching everything and can make quick decisions based on what they see and hear.
As the business grows, it gets a bit trickier. You can hire people to manage parts of the company and put in some basic automation and software tools. But when it rains, it pours. The small streambeds are near to bursting. When they combine and gather speed as a raging river, they pick up sediment. Mistakes happen.
You can only see the surface and volume of water flowing. You manage the business for the big numbers like total revenue.
Chances are you have multiple islands of data, and you rely on people to put it all together. The data is all there somewhere. But looking at the big numbers doesn’t tell you which streams or activities built the river.
Most businesses have no idea which three, five, or ten clients are the most profitable or least profitable.
Was the last project profitable after considering all the costs, including people, materials, and the cost of winning the business?
Most decisions are made based on incomplete information, gut feelings, and a can-do attitude.
Unless you are lucky – you can’t count on it – that won’t take your business to the next level.
When you want to grow or even scale your business significantly, what got you here won’t get you there.
You’ll face more competition. There are too many processes and too much data for any single person to put it all together reliably. A significant misstep or blind corner can put you over the edge.
Mistakes, neglect, or the loss of a single key employee can drive customers to your competitor.
The key is the right mix of building a great team, effective systems and smart innovation – all on top of robust decision-making capabilities.
You will need the right tools to support your goals and growth strategy.
That is where our stories meet.
Helping you grow your business by writing a better story together.