What do you currently do?
I recently became the CEO of Access UK after a management buyout and a £50m deal with Lyceum Capital, our private equity partners. We provide business and accounting software to mid-market organisations across most sectors, but we have particular expertise in professional services, manufacturing, and not-for profit to name but a few.
This year marks our 20th anniversary and I’m proud to say I’ve worked with the business for 18 of those years – first as a dealer selling and implementing Access’ software, and then as MD when Access bought the business.
It’s a very dynamic company, and one which has grown rapidly during that time. Part of our success is that we’re always looking for ways to improve our software and the services we provide. It’s ingrained into the heart of Access. Along with my 300-plus team, we live and breathe what we do.
What is your inspiration in business?
Working with like-minded people that share my passion for helping businesses utilise software to run their organisations more effectively. And seeing the flip side of this when a customer is delighted with the solutions we’ve implemented in their organisations – that’s really motivating.
Who do you admire?
I admire strong minded, determined people that have a real drive and tenacity. I also like ideas people that have the ability to think differently and bring a refreshing approach to the solutions that we offer our customers, how we deliver them or even how we operate as a business. There are so many great people that I admire within Access; they’re the reason I enjoy this business so much.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I think everyone has things they would have done differently but by the same token, the most important aspect of this is that you learn from your mistakes. That’s part of life’s journey. If you don’t then you’re missing out on a very valuable experience. I guess one thing I would have definitely done differently is to have bought Apple and Microsoft stock years ago!
What defines your way of doing business?
I think it’s important to believe in the people working in your business. Give them the space to take responsibility in their role. It’s surprising just how many times people will rise to the challenge – it’s great for them and it’s great for the business too.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to lead from the front but in the trenches. Be prepared to get your sleeves rolled up and don’t ask someone to do a task that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. So, lead from the front but never detach from your people.