Google ‘overnight success’ and the first person that pops up is Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon. He states that it takes 10 years to be an overnight success story. Amazon is not the only one, there are 1000’s of examples of other companies who also are a 10 year overnight success story, the theme is the same, grit, experimentation, salesmanship, trial and error.
For many tech companies operating in this space of ‘get investment’, ‘develop revenue’, ‘be global’, ‘build teams’ and ‘scale’, the pressure is enormous and the word ‘resilience’ is completely understated.
Here at JESI, we are no exception to experiencing the numerous highs and lows of building a Global SaaS Business over the past 8 years, and by no means are we there yet in achieving true global scale, however we are ready!
So what has been the JESI story of being an 8 year overnight success? We spoke with Kathy Wilson, Co-Founder and Director of Special Projects to find out what her own personal journey had been with building the JESI business.
I commenced in 2013 as a Project Consultant, in my home office to support Joe Hoolahan develop a Go to Market Strategy/Business Plan for the JESI software. At that point in time the software had only commenced the software build, using an external development company.
When I reflect on that first Go To Market Strategy Document, which ended up being over 80 pages long, it really was more of a research paper. First and foremost, I understood the value proposition that JESI was solving, having experienced the responsibility of 100’s of workers being on the road driving 1000’s of km. However the entire SaaS sector was completely foreign to me and developing strategies on how to effectively ‘Go to Market’ required endless hours of google research, asking questions and trying to identify local business eco systems to access expertise.
My initial role as a Project Consultant was only expected to be a 3 month contract and here I am nearly 9 years later.
When I commenced, the only resources being remunerated were myself and the software development company that was building the product. The financial position of the company did not have any capacity to employ or outsource any other services until such time revenue was being generated.
I immediately felt a duty of responsibility to those shareholders who had already financially invested and in addition, we had successfully secured potential customers who were trialling the software for free.
So my motivation came from a few perspectives; sense of obligation to help the company be successful, the excitement of executing a strategy and instantaneously seeing results, recognition that software development requires a lot of leadership and customer engagement.
My previous Corporate Experience that included the opportunity to develop a business from ground zero and achieve $11m revenue in 5 years, I was well versed in Corporate Governance, building teams, developing and implementing effective processes and most importantly, a strong sales and marketing focus.
I always instinctively had an approach of how things could be achieved with greater efficiencies and continuous improvement was front of mind. That instinct was also a contributing factor in how JESI was positioned as a value proposition for customers.
There are so many learnings and so many decisions that if I had the time again, I would certainly do a lot of things differently.
I have a pretty comprehensive list of learnings that includes but by no means limited to: Digital Marketing and Sales, Financial systems, Investment Pitches, Due Diligence, Product Development, User Engagement, Onboarding Programs, E-Learning and whole range of technology awareness and understanding that is exhaustive.
When we first facilitated a pilot with 250 Rio Tinto Users after we first launched JESI in 2014.
The group that led the onboarding of JESI with their teams, were so engaged and were so excited that JESI was solving a significant safety problem in managing their workers who were driving.
That moment in time, helped reinforce that JESI was solving a massive problem for companies and was going to save lives.
There are so many memorable moments, however this is the one that made the most impact.
I am so proud of where the business is right now! To start a business as the original employee and grow to a team of 22, is a pretty monumental achievement. To know that every single area of the business has a ‘Kathy’ finger print that has and continues to be influenced for the ongoing growth is very satisfying.
I am now Director of Special Projects that allows me to operate at a strategic level, rather than operationally. We have a fantastic and very capable team that has stepped up and out to execute on the next growth of the business which is well positioned to accelerate.
The Special Projects that I am working on will catapult JESI into a truly scalable global business. We have a number of VERY exciting initiatives that we will soon be announcing.
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