The Business Owner: Mike Galvin and Eduardo Martinez, Geniac
The entrepreneurs talk about the importance of focus in business and the ability to let go
Founders: Mike Galvin and Eduardo Martinez
Proposition: An online business management service. Through a combination of automated technology and personal account management, Geniac packages everything an entrepreneur needs to run and scale their business, such as accounting, tax, legal, HR and corporate administration, into one smart office. Users get access to fully functioning back-office support within 24 hours of set-up, including access to a range of specialists
Size: 15 employees
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Geniac has capitalised on the Do-it-For-Me service movement, which has largely been consumer-oriented so far, but business use cases are increasing with new platforms offering accounting, legal, HR and marketing management independently.
The key difference with Geniac is that it offers all these services in one tool, giving entrepreneurs’ a simplified system that covers every aspect of their business.
Geniac also differs from its competitors as it has the agility of a small business, but is backed by the power and credibility of Grant Thornton.
How did you finance your business?
Providing the necessary investment to grow Geniac, we received significant investment from Grant Thornton, worth up to £22m.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
For entrepreneurs to focus on their businesses, they sometimes need to block out the noise and get back to what makes companies successful.
Founders need time back, so they can focus on growth, and creating a great business.
Geniac supports entrepreneurs with vital but time-consuming tasks, giving business owners complete visibility, peace of mind and the time to get back to doing what they love.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
At Accenture, working as consultants, we struggled daily with the administrative burdens that come with business.
Dealing with multiple stakeholders and professional advisers was distracting us from our focus on growth and customer service, and so we struck upon the idea for Geniac – a simple solution for scaling businesses.
So now we’ve freed up our time to focus on growth, the challenges that occupy us daily at Geniac comprise of attracting and hiring the right people and also the concept of ‘letting go’.
If you’re successful in getting your startup off the ground, one of the biggest challenges any founder will face is learning to let go.
We entrepreneurs tend to think we can do everything but delegating is important too!
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
While referrals are a top source of new clients for Geniac, we also focus on digital as a way to engage with customers and influencers, providing small business advice.
We’ve managed to grow our Twitter following by over 400% and our team is already a prominent feature on the startup events circuit, attending and sponsoring events such as The Future of Work and TomorrowTechLDN.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
Exporting offers huge potential for small businesses, but many don’t know where to get started.
For some companies it’s obvious, e-commerce sales can come from anywhere in the world and all you need to worry about is how to ship.
For the rest of us there are great government and private resources to support you.
UKTI should be everyone’s first stop and www.opentoexport.com is also great.
If you are looking at specific geographies, the countries’ chambers of commerce and embassies are built to support you.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
Geniac – I know it sounds like self promotion, but we run our own business on Geniac and it takes all the admin effort away.
Beyond that, it isn’t quite a business app, but I have lots of meetings around London and CityMapper always gets me there more quickly, no matter how well I think I know the route.
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
International, Supportive, Proud.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
Anything that helps shorten the payment cycle and ensure payments for small businesses is a good thing.
90-day payment terms have become too commonplace, and companies often try to extend this further when they are late in their payments.
There needs to be a limit to what is acceptable, enforced through regulation.
The government should do as much as possible to enable companies such as MarketInvoice and Capitalise are making it easier for small businesses to access funds and manage their cash flow.
Experiencing late payments has been a common problem for Geniac since we set up the business.
It has been very normal to see large UK PLCs operating on 90-day payment terms.
In a professional services environment, where you bill at the end of the month, you are looking at almost 120-day lead times on payment.
This is not good corporate citizenship and seems to be an easy solution to maximise cash flow at the expense of their supply chain.
However, challenges like late payment cannot be fixed through regulation alone, it will also take inventive new businesses and responsible corporates to create an environment that allows the UK small business sector to tackle this problem.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
In London, you need to be looking at someone like John Spindler at Capital Enterprise and London Co-Investment Fund. These organisations are doing great work in driving London forward as a real alternative to Silicon Valley.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
We have ambitious plans to scale Geniac and want it to be the growth engine behind every single fast growth small enterprise in the UK.
Geniac is currently working with a range of market leaders from the tech, startup and investment community across the UK.
The investment earlier this year worth up to £22m from business advisors, Grant Thorton UK LLP will enable Geniac to grow rapidly, enabling it to support even more small businesses in fast growth, across the UK and beyond.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Go lean, or go home – Try not to develop an all-singing-all-dancing product or service at launch.
The lean approach to product development allows you to leverage your agility as a small start-up and respond to your market quickly in a way that a big corporate company cannot – simply due to bureaucracy and logistics.
This really is the blessing of the small startup.
Your mantra should be “Work lean, be responsive”. It’s the smart way to go!