Today I’m very happy to welcome Matt Rose of Prestige Quoting Limited. back to Libro Towers. I first interviewed Matt last year, when he’d just set up his business and, having done it very sensibly, was looking forward to growing the business and really pressing forward with it. When I asked him where he wanted to be in a year, he replied, “I’d really like to be in a position to consider taking on a 2nd person.” As predicted, he’s done really well, and he might even be looking at that goal – let’s ask him and see …
Hello again, Matt! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Broadly, yes, I am. Some things have gone better (revenue and world ranking, to name two) and some things I still need to address my mind to this year.
I’m certainly considering taking on my first employee, which is an exciting (daunting?!) step.
I’m currently reviewing the option of taking on an apprentice and looking at various council schemes that might make this decision an easier (financial) one.
In my first full year of trading I became the World’s Number 2 Solutions Partner. This means that I sold the 2nd greatest number of licences of QuoteWerks partners worldwide. This exceeded my expectations as I thought getting into the top 10 would be a great achievement.
I also won the individual award (QuoteWerks MVP).
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
The number of clients I have has significantly grown, both in the UK and the US. This has meant I’ve had to get clever at how I keep in touch with them to ensure that they’re still happy with the software. This has included regular mail outs with surveys and new feature details. I often use YouTube to link to videos of new features so they can see them in action, as opposed to just reading about them.
The growth of US-based clients has meant needing to work occasionally into the evening to virtually ‘meet’ with them during their office hours.
In terms of staying the same, the needs of businesses that could use my solution are still the same. What has always proved difficult, and still does, is making businesses aware that software like mine exists and being able to make them aware of why they need it.
With my software being bought in US Dollars, the exchange rate changes has increased the price of my software by about 20%, most of which I’ve had to pass on to clients. This has created one or two slightly uncomfortable phone calls with existing clients.
There are several services I’ve implemented such as using Moneypenny to answer calls when I’m unavailable. This was recommended to me by a client, as they use the service as well. For £30 a month, any calls I can’t take don’t go through to voicemail but they get to speak to a real person that will advise my status (I can put comments such as, out of the office today, will return their call when I’m available at 1600). This gives a much more professional view of the company and people often comment “I’ve left a message with your colleague”.
All my finance/tax/payslip tasks are also outsourced using March Mutual, another recommendation from a client. This means that at the end of the month, having logged all my invoices/expenses and when payments have been received, I get a payslip telling me how much money I can take out from the business and what needs to be set aside for things like Vat and Corporation Tax.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
Saying “no” is still something I’m quite bad at.
When I had a feeling that a client wasn’t right for the solution, or they wanted a scope to include X and Y for a price of A; there have been a couple of occasions where I, with hindsight, should have said no or stood my ground.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Outsource those jobs you don’t enjoy (or aren’t very good at!)
Services like Moneypenny, March Mutual and Fiverr are worth their weight in gold and free up time for me to spend on other areas of the business.
If you have a good client, and your solutions fit nicely, try and replicate that client. It might be a certain business type, for example. I would say about 60% of my clients are IT focused companies. Working with those businesses has increased my knowledge of that sector and I give a good impression to prospects in that sector, as I can ‘talk their language’.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I’d hope that employee number one would be on board and the business will have seen some growth, both in terms of clients and revenue.
He’s done so well, hasn’t he! I am particularly impressed at Matt’s organisation of his life and business; phone calls are very important to a business like his and it’s great that he’s found a seamless solution to that and his financial arrangements. Well done to him!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.