It’s now a few weeks since I became the new Country Manager for Australia and as I see the potential of online accounting software that’s created especially for small business, I keep being reminded of the 12 years in which I ran my own computer company.
After university I became a developer of financial planning software that ran on an IBM PC (everyone thought I’d shot my career down, PCs were never going to replace mainframes – how little did everyone know). Within four years I was doing my own thing – selling and providing support for SME accounting software. You know, either the red box or the purple box (bit like the Matrix).
I had my successes and made plenty of mistakes along the way. It was certainly a learning curve starting out, the first hiring, first sacking and juggling the work life balance.
Why did I do it? The same as most people. The lifestyle, being my own boss, a passion for an idea and financial freedom. But funnily enough I’d end up working crazy hours, live at the beck and call of clients, my partner became the pseudo bookkeeper (doubt if that’s in a marriage vow) and I’d often work longer for less than as I would’ve as an employee.
So what did I learn? That business is all about getting and keeping a client, which means you have to do all those things that will make people want to do business with you. There needs be a strategy for who you want to attract and how you go about it. The marketing you do might drum up leads but they then need to be turned into a sale. And once you’ve got the client on board you need to maintain the relationship.
More than anything I’ve learnt instead of being so caught up in your business that it runs you, time has to be put into reviewing your client acquisition and retention processes. So it’s about working on your business instead of in it.