For aTech Media founder and managing director Adam Cooke, the decision to stop taking on new clients and focus on developing his company’s offering has borne fruit in the long run.
Having set up aTech Media whilst still at school, you’d naturally assume that as a young businessman I was only focused on moving the business forward as quickly as possible, without considering more effective methods I could employ to develop my company.
As a software development company specialising in creating websites and applications for local and worldwide audiences, we have always strived to provide services that are both enjoyable and easy-to-use whilst being an integral and cost-effective part of our clients’ business.
So having seen the impact that client work was having on our business, I quickly discovered that generating and growing income was perhaps (at the time) not the most important goal that my company needed to aim towards.
At the time we were heavily focused on client work, spending a lot of money and manpower catering to our client’s needs and (rightly) focusing on providing the best experience and services for their business.
I saw an opportunity here to advance the business in the long-run and enhance our client offering. By taking a step back from hands-on client work – spending time focusing on the aTech Media core business – I decided to cut back on proactive client work, instead shifting the focus of the business to developing our own products for a few years.
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Client work was of course a guaranteed source of income, so we continued to rely on this to generate cash for the business and serve existing clients in the manner that they became accustomed to. All we did differently was prevent ourselves from taking on any new projects, so that we had time to go back to the drawing board and develop new software solutions for ourselves that we could offer to clients.
So why did I decide to do this at such an early stage in the business? Well as the saying goes: you often have to take one step back to go two steps forward. With the business running at a stable level I felt that we were becoming too comfortable, instead devoting insufficient time and vigour to the product development process.
The decision was met with agreement with my team, who jumped at the chance to get back to the core business of aTech Media and work on new ideas and products that we could offer our clients. It really was a ‘win-win’ decision – taking a step back from day-to-day client work allowed us to take a revised look at our offering as a business, think about how we could improve, and in turn improve our service to clients both old (and new).
So did it pay off? Well, since we started focusing on creating our own products and developing the business in that way, we have grown from a team of two up to seven full-time staff, increasing our revenue and producing elegant software products that are being used by a variety of different companies.