The Entrepreneur: Paul Statham, Condeco Software

Founder of the company "powering change in the workplace", Statham discusses $100m growth plans, new markets and curbs on immigration...

Founder: Paul Statham
Company: Condeco Software
Website: www.condecosoftware.com
Description in one line: A global leader in workplace scheduling and utilisation
Previous companies: RNM
Turnover: $25m
12 month target: $32m

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • We create innovative, best-in-class workplace software and hardware solutions that allow our clients to measure, schedule and maximise the usage of their real estate.
  • We are unique in the workspace technology space as we design and build our own software and hardware which means that our products are purpose built and always deliver what the client requires.
  • We have offices in eight countries around the world to enable us to deliver product and services to our clients where and when they need them.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

One of the biggest achievements is growing the company from a handful of people to a global business with over 250 employees, across nine locations. We’re in a great position as global leaders in our sector and set the pace when it comes to innovation.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

I review the normal financial data on a regular basis as well as any software defects and high priority client support issues that might arise. Most numbers and data is reviewed by the regional management teams and I only get involved where there are exceptions.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We have nine offices in eight countries around the world. This global expansion has been as a direct result of our success in delivering projects to large organizations like Chevron and Barclays who require support across the globe. We are looking to continue the expansion with offices planned in Hong Kong and Japan in 2016.

Describe your growth funding path:

Condeco is still a private company and we have funded our growth entirely from our profitable business model. We have reinvested our profits each year in expanded products and services that have added to our growth while maintaining a positive cash flow. Our aim is to continue to expand the company and eventually float the business on NASDAQ in 2018/2019.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The rapid adoption of cloud-based delivery of software and the evolution of Software as a Service (SaaS) has made a significant difference over the past few years. That, along with our own unique digital signage and sensing hardware that uses the latest RFID, Bluetooth, Mesh and iBeacon technology to record where someone is and what services they need or are using at any given time, has made our suite of products the most advanced in our field.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

We see our recent expansion into Asia being an important part of our growth over the next three years alongside continued growth in the US and Europe. Our target turnover for 2018/2019 is $100m.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Opening our first office in the US. We took on the biggest players in our market on their home turf and it was a very difficult time for me and the company as it took a lot of energy and cash. Fortunately we succeeded and are now leading the way in the US and have secured some of the largest deals in the region over the past year.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Not opening our US office sooner!

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

One of the biggest challenges is access to the right talent. Curbs on immigration are blocking access to talented individuals who would help to grow and expand the business.

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

I see a lot of entrepreneurs try to enter markets that they know nothing about and this can normally end in failure. Typically the reason people succeed is that they have belief in the products they make and their ability to deliver them. However if you think that you’re a business genius and can’t fail at anything, it will normally end in tears!

How will your market look in three years?

More competition and greater application of technology in the workplace, as workplace management climbs up the corporate agenda. The current market is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be achieved, but there will be more disruptive players entering the space and we need to ensure we stay focused on what we do best and constantly innovate our products to stay on top.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

I would tell a less experienced entrepreneur to always try and retain tenacity and focus. When trying to close a deal you should always remember that the client has a choice, so never take anything for granted.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

Flying business class.

Executive education or learn it on the job?

I left school at the age of 16 and went straight into business. Since leaving school I have studied the various aspects that are needed when running a fast growing business, but I mainly have learnt everything from dealing with my experiences in the world of work.

What would make you a better leader?

More time.

One business app and one personal app you can’t do without:

Business app: Microsoft Office, the best software ever written!

Personal app: Sonos music app,the product is similar to Condeco in that it mixes hardware and software, but the whole product is terrific, I wish I’d thought of it!

Business book:

I grew up on Dale Carnegie and still think How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must read for anyone in business and is still relevant and informative after all these years. I have recently read Zero to One by Peter Thiel that makes some interesting observations about innovation.

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