- Posted by: prosper
- Category: Blog
I started my first company in 1999. It was a huge risk moving from a good job at a great company to start something with nothing. I got three promotions the year before and had exciting career prospects. I am still not sure why I resigned and often wonder what my life would have been like if I stuck it out. But the reality is that I did not really have a choice. It is not that I wanted to be my own boss or stived for great riches, but if I have to answer I would say that I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. And that desire was stronger than the fear of failure.
The business was a moderate success. But the business model was flawed. My product was consulting and effectively I sold my time. And sometimes I simply had no more product to sell no matter how hard I worked or how many hours I put in. Then I got smallpox. I was not really ill but the rash meant that I could not visit my clients and could not bill. The realisation that anything can happen and when I was unable to sell my time there would be no business, bothered me. After I recovered, one of my clients made me an offer to join them. I accepted.
Again, I was fortunate to work for a great company. Soon I was managing the technology companies in the group and had no reason to be unhappy. But that same urge to control my own destiny did not go away. One day, while handing over a project, I promised the client that they can phone me anytime if they needed help. And they did. A lot. To the point where the owners told me that I could no longer take the client’s calls because they needed me to focus on other projects. I told them that I made a promise and it might have been stupid, but I gave my word. They insisted and I resigned. Numerous attempts to get me to withdraw just made me more determined to take charge of my own career. The client was so impressed that they gave me all their business (with the blessing of my previous employer). To this day, 15 years later, they are still my client.
This time it was done differently. Instead of selling time, it was a scalable business focussing on technology and innovation. Within a few years I had 30 employees and we were considered the leaders in our sector. We were proud of our ability to innovate and I was invited to address conferences in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, USA and other places to share what we were doing. We secured the contract for the FIFA World Cup Final Draw and many other prestigious clients. Things were great!
In hindsight, our success is due to us not looking at solving problems with technology. In fact, technology in itself is nothing more than a tool. It is not often that a software product will change the fate of the business. Real success resides in the people – their willingness to embrace the innovation and the team’s alignment with the goals of the project. This fascinated me and started to study the impact of people on technology. After some years, I qualified as a Neuro coach and completed my Master’s Degree in Management Coaching.
This was linked but not purely aligned with the core business of my company. When my son completed his studies in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (M-Phil PPE), he decided to start his own company. He is my best friend, most trusted confidant and also the smartest person I have ever met. I sold my company to the employees and joined him. A fresh start. And here we are.