Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tracy Pound, Founder of Maximity Ltd, located in Tamworth, Staffordshire, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Maximity is an IT consulting and training company serving a wide variety of business customers, from SMEs to large companies, across all sectors.
Tell us about yourself
I started my business when I had my first child in 2000 because I wanted the autonomy and freedom to work in a way that suited me. Before then, I'd spent 15 years in the IT sector, and my last role had been with a company that was over 100 miles away from where I lived. I didn't think I'd manage with such a lot of travelling as well as looking after a baby.
I love that I have been able to grow a small business where I work with like-minded people who have the same common goal that I do: to take the SH out of IT! So many people and companies struggle unnecessarily with their IT systems, either because they don't know how to get the most from them or because their systems are not fit for purpose. I love that we can help make their lives easier and transform the way they use data and systems to get relevant information on time and to help them make the business decisions they need.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Using lockdown as an opportunity - when it could so easily have sunk us - to transform our business and how we work, to enable growth. Before the lockdown, the majority of our business was project or transactional, so the lockdown saw all of our business dry up overnight as we weren't allowed on client sites, and we had no recurring revenues. We used the 4 months when we had no work we could do to investigate new solutions, evaluate really who we are and what is unique about us, then leverage this and take onboard new software we can implement that is based on a recurring revenue model, and for which there is a strong potential market.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It can be a lonely place because, as a business owner, you are the only one with the perspective of everything and the only one who can't walk away on a whim. It's hard when people you've invested in then leave, or you don't win a piece of business you really wanted, or you lose a customer, but it's taught me about perspective and resilience and made me a much stronger businesswoman with a skill set I can share with others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Before starting a business, look at your reasons for doing it and what you want to achieve in the first year, second year, and in 5 and 10 years.
- Don't plan everything in minute detail because there are too many changes in the span of a year, but do review what you've achieved regularly and compare it to where you thought you'd be so that you can change direction if you need. There's no point in following a plan if you're not going to achieve it. It's soul-destroying and a waste of time, money, reputation, and energy.
- Don't take a customer or staff rejection personally. If a client or staff member leaves, it's not because you're a bad person or have a bad offering. Use each as an opportunity to learn why and use that why to become better.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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