The Business Owner: Oliver Rowbory and Animesh Chowdhury, The Good Till Co.
The founders talk about the importance of knowing your numbers and why small businesses should explore exporting
Founders: Oliver Rowbory and Animesh Chowdhury
Company: The Good Till Co.
Location: London (Hoxton), also with an office in Luton
Proposition: Cloud based POS (Point of Sale) software, also offering hardware and services
Size: 5 – 10
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
We aim to differentiate ourselves from the very competitive market, by the technology that we use and how we develop our software. For example, the software is developed entirely around a cross section of live businesses who initially used the system and provided a constant feedback loop.
The other emphasis has been on simplicity (which is actually very hard to achieve), robustness and integration with other business applications.
Finally, our focus on customer service – we don’t outsource our helpdesk and we invest heavily in this area. Equally, we don’t outsource our installation support. This is all done in house, with models to support our customers as swiftly as possible and to be as available as possible.
How did you finance your business?
Initially our business was financed by personal investment. Then a small, low interest start-up loan from Startup Direct to support the period while we were looking to raise angel investment. We completed a successful angel round in November 2015.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Numbers, numbers, numbers.
We have a saying that we always need to know our number. Whether it is sales pipeline, cash flow, project pipeline, development roadmap tracking. Each area has targets to keep us true and at any one point we know where we are at and if we need to be doing anything different. Some useful tools available to help us do this, such as online accounting packages, virtual project management portals and so on.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Managing the unknown! Of course this is by nature difficult, but probably managing customer demand, aligned with staffing numbers.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
Lots! We have a multi-channel approach, from Google, email, social media and so on.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
Yes. And I keep reading that the UK government is trying to promote export to small businesses more and more.
I think that any small business should explore this. It’s not right for everybody, but if the only thing that is holding you back is fear, or the unknown, there are a variety of government resources available to help you, including connecting you to trusted agents in the locality and other valuable information. A good starting point is the British Chambers of Commerce.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
I’d have to say my iPhone as I am on it most of the time and have an array of apps which makes doing business on the move so easy. Aside from the phone, our accounting app and also online banking app – what was life before this??
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Dynamic, passionate, fun – all clichés I’m sure, but the first three that came to head.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
Help small business get access to and navigate funding.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
Tough one. I’ve got a few and perhaps might be unknown, but I love reading profiles on entrepreneurs and successful business leaders. Their success spurs me on.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
We’ve got an ambitious three-year plan and some exciting goals.
From our core product development roadmap and feature releases, to our sales targets and expanding outside of the UK. We’d like to be at a level where we are seen as a solid competitor in the POS market, with a continually growing customer base. And perhaps be operating from one of those cool, converted warehouse type offices.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Numbers. Keep your costs down – be savvy. What can you get for free? Don’t over spend on things that are a nice to have – like a nice office. Be ruthless. Then sales! Keep your costs down – know what they are and hit the sales with all the passion you have = profit.