The Business Owner: Joe Kay, Enswarm

A former solider who served overseas, Joe Kay knows a thing or two about working in a team. Here, he shares his advice and talks business

The Business Owner: Joe Kay, Enswarm

Founder: Joe Kay
Company: Enswarm
Location: Reading & London
Proposition: Enswarm’s “Team Enhancing Technology” allows any group of people to perform like a high performing team to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
Size: 2 Full time, 5 part time or contractors
Website: www.enswarm.com

How is your business different from what’s already out there?

The only way currently for people to improve their teamwork is to undergo training, which takes them away from their day-to-day work. Enswarm provides technology that helps people to work together effectively, while they are engaging in useful work.

How did you finance your business?

Currently mainly self-funded from savings earned as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also some friends and family funding and still do contract work.

What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?

Your team. If you make them feel secure and inspire them to be passionate about the long term vision of the business then you will succeed.

What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?

Selling a fundamentally new type of digital tool that people don’t know they need yet.

What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?

As we are early stage and don’t yet have a decent marketing budget we are still experimenting. We are just upgrading our website and setting ourselves up as thought leaders in the very specific area of group decision making in recruitment assessment centres.

Because of the lack of budget, we are doing as much networking in the HR space as possible to develop case studies. We then plan to use these case studies to market ourselves and scale.

Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?

Yes but only after consolidating in a local market as it’s easier to get feedback from people you can easily pick up the phone to or meet for a coffee. We’re not at the point where we’re exporting yet.

What are the business apps you couldn’t do without?

Cam Card – Allows you to scan business cards directly in to your smart phone contacts.

Receipt Bank – Allows you to scan receipts directly into accounting software.

Describe your company’s culture in three words:

Our team first

What would you like the government to do for small business?

Continue to expand the .gov online services, simplify the rules and process for applying for SEIS and R&D tax credits. We’ve been lucky enough to work from a great workspace, GROW@GreenPark.

It’s given us access to collaboration, start-up bootcamps and a peer-to-peer community that’s transformed our journey. We need more GROW@GreenPark’s, which is primarily bootstrapped, outside places like Shoreditch and Manchester.

Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?

I’d have to say Louize Clarke who founded GROW@GreenPark and, through ConnectTVT, has campaigned for grassroots start-ups in the Thames Valley. Being part of the ConnectTVT 50 Game Changers was a real honour for our team.

Where do you want the business to be in three years?

To have proven the concept that Team Enhancing Technology works in the corporate sector, be recognised as the global thought leaders in this space and to be developing the consumer section of the business.

What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?

Have a clear vision about what you want to achieve without necessarily worrying initially about how you will achieve it. Put together a team who believe in your long term vision who have the skills to help you achieve the vision.

Apply lean start-up methodology (build – measure – learn) as quickly as possible. Have an alternate source of income initially that can pay the bills while you learn.

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