Yes Workforce: Chris Flynn
The cloud entrepreneur discusses why he advises start-ups not to jump at investment right away, as well as his love for chasing deals and new business
Name: Chris Flynn
Company name: Yes Workforce
Location: North West
Date launched: 01/07/2014
Tell us what your business does:
Yes Workforce is a cloud-based solution enabling teams of workers on the move to co-ordinate jobs and exchange information easily through a mobile app, reducing paperwork and improving efficiency. The software also allows users to capture signatures, fill out automatically generated time sheets, and send and receive photographs – all from their mobile.
The real-time dashboard makes it easy to schedule and reallocate jobs for multiple employees. Teams can also run real-time reports and view live updates from their workers on the move. The mobile management platform improves workforce organisation through real time tracking, eliminating the need for paper-based admin and increasing accountability with evidence of completed jobs.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It came from a client I had when I was selling software. He was explaining some of the issues and pains he was having with managing the staff in his small business. His company had tried to fix the problems internally but had failed, and I was confident I could succeed.
How did you know there was a market for it?
People had been coming to me saying that they were really lacking software to help manage their workforce and Yes Workforce’s business strategy is centered around the customer’s needs. Therefore if a customer requires something that deviates from the off-the-shelf model, we develop that as we know there is a market for this.
What were you doing before starting up?
I sold software for large companies. I had reached director level but still felt I wanted to go it alone. It was a big step, but an easy one. Every minute working on Yes Workforce has been fantastic and you don’t see the hours go past – it really doesn’t feel like work.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Always. My dad was in business so I’ve always been entrepreneurial. From an early age, I’ve always done deals and that’s why sales was the obvious path for me. I love the chase of a deal – assembling all the components and making something from nothing. New business is my driver.
How did you raise the money?
Being fortunate enough to have been successful in employment, I had assembled the security to take the leap. It’s all self-financed, with no help from the bank. Now we have a monthly income stream, things are easier. Balancing the credit cards is now behind us although we have a measured approach to spending.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Users pay to access and use the platform. Pricing options are as follows:
Starter: 19p pay as you use, 20 jobs free monthly, limited to five users.
Commitment: £18.99 per user per month, unlimited jobs, 18 month term
No Commitment: £24.99 per user per month, unlimited jobs, no term
Add vehicle tracking for £7.99 per vehicle per month
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I guess staffing is a challenge. Getting a team that’s fully on board takes time. You can’t expect people to work as hard as you, and in many respects the job is easier at the top because you know it better and have more of an incentive for it to be successful. Thankfully we had some luck and the original team who are all still with us have helped set the standard for new employees.
What was your first big breakthrough?
As it’s still early adopter software, there is a low awareness of the product, so getting people to the website and then as a paying user is a huge achievement in my view. It’s something we are very proud of and strive each day to get better at. So it’s a combination of our out-of-the-box software and how we drive people to the web and through the sales funnel.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I think avoiding investment in early stage is something you’ll be thankful for later on. We considered investment and had offers, but chose to bootstrap instead. It’s not about flashy cars and glass-door offices – it’s almost more fun when you’re sitting on orange boxes and it gives you the motivation, knowing it’s boom or bust at the start.
Keep going if it’s what you’ve wanted all your life. If you want to leave a legacy behind, get the opportunity to be a big brand and recognised for your achievements in an environment that you control, then make it happen.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We hope to be known as the preferred choice for small to medium businesses that want to remove paperwork from their field workers. Our target is to have applications in every country. I’d also love to spend more time personally with other entrepreneurs sharing our experiences and helping them down the route they want to go.