When cloud computing became much more of a reality for businesses, Peter and Jeffrey, co-founders of SMB Consultants, quickly saw the potential in delivering streamlined, specialised services for small businesses that needed a hand. Over 350 clients later and they are just as passionate about supporting entrepreneurs improve their businesses through technology as they were when they first met in 2007. We spoke to Peter about how SMB Consultants got started and why they simply love cloud computing and of course, Vend.
How has your business evolved over the years?
When we started SMB Consultants, Jeffrey and I had a clear vision to initially assist SMBs with POS solutions for their business. It soon became obvious that these business entrepreneurs were open to, and in fact engaged in, discussions around all aspects of running their businesses. We quickly saw the need for a more complete business service that could address the principal, and business critical, operational issues they all faced: POS, inventory management, accounting, online sales, customer loyalty/engagement, integrated payments and staff/HR management.
The response we received reinforced the value of these services to this target market. We also made a conscious decision to specialise in only the retail and hospitality industries. This gave us a clear vision and direction and allowed us to concentrate our energies on these two industries.
Why did you choose to work with SMBs? What got you started?
Both Jeffrey and I had been involved in running a range of businesses. We fundamentally understood the business pressures faced by these business entrepreneurs in needing to manage and address all of the requirements of starting, managing and successfully expanding their businesses. We both enjoy meeting these owners who are so engaged in realising their dreams. And we get a real buzz out of seeing how engaged they become in the opportunities that we present to allow them to grow their business.
When did you realise the cloud was the future for your business?
Apple released their first iPad in late 2010. This was just after we had started SMB Consultants. We immediately saw the power of this device in a business environment. In late 2010 and early 2011, a steady stream of new business software applications started to be released for the iPad. They were all cloud based. And a large number were all focused on our target markets of retail and hospitality. The future of cloud technology in these industries was clear.
And the connectivity between the related business software packages was emerging as a key element in driving the cloud applications. Vend and Xero were two shining examples of how this connectivity was going to open up opportunities for business that were just not possible before.
These business leaders were starting to understand the power they could gain in managing their businesses in real time that was just not available or affordable to their size business previously.
In 2011 and 2012 we had to explain what cloud computing was all about. But in 2013 and certainly 2014, these business entrepreneurs were engaging with us with a demand for cloud integration of related software as a prerequisite.
We have extended both our cloud based business software offerings as well as extending other cloud management tools, which we use internally to assist in the effective deployment and ongoing management of our growing client base.
Why choose to work with Vend?
We love Vend because its an easy to use, scalable point of sale system that allows us to connect add-ons that can manage an entire business. It’s a real game changer for the way a business can be managed in the new mobile connected world we live in. Helping a business owner use the right tools that will allow them to realise the benefits of what an integrated Vend solution can offer is very rewarding.
What drives you and keeps you motivated?
It is exciting to be at the forefront of what is clearly a quantum shift in the approach to running businesses. We know we have been pushing boundaries of how these cloud services get deployed and used. We have also built a highly motivated and very talented team of young focussed professionals. They all have been drawn to SMB Consultants because they all share the fundamental understanding that what we are doing is revolutionary in the SMB world.
We not only enjoy seeing our business customers benefit from our solutions but we also enjoy seeing our employees grow their skills and become so engaged in that process.
What excites you?
The current business entrepreneurs are smart. They want to be empowered to drive their businesses forward by utilising cloud software that not only gives them control of their destiny but also allows them to engage with their customers in ways not possible before. They know they have to do this to survive and thrive.
We are excited to be able to facilitate this process and be part of their journey.
- Peter Klein, Joint Managing Director, SMB Consultants