Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans: LightWork Software has been delivering web streamed People Software in the form of Time Tracking and Talent Management since 2013. Our business is about easing our client’s daily workload by delivering Stupidly Simple To Use Software that ‘hits the mark‘. Our office is based in the historical city of DeLand, Florida.

Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans: Born in South Croydon, England, I moved to the United States in 1981. After graduating from Stetson University with a Masters Degree in Accounting, I started my career with Deloitte and Touche as a CPA in Tampa Florida. In 1993 I started a value added reseller business representing Sage accounting, human resource and payroll software. Our hrms business grew rapidly over the years. Our clients told us they had a need for simple software that would manage employee talent and time tracking and most importantly integrate with their hrms solution. So we built it and in 2013 LightWork Software was born. A software built for our clients based on our client requirements, and that is how the software continues to be built out today.

Q 3. How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans: I felt like there was as glass ceiling in corporate America, I didn’t feel like I would excel at the pace I wanted to grow. I felt constrained, I had ideas, I intrinsically knew I could do anything I put my mind to and be more. So I went out on my own. My father in law invested $15,000 in the company and I got started. I started representing accounting software – it was a natural direction given my educational background. My first position in the company was marketer. Boy… a lot of marketing! It was a long road to get to my first sale, but once that was made, leads started to come to me from the vendor and I did not have to work so hard at marketing. Sales were more frequent and then the company started to grow.

Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans: [1] If you have passion and you believe in something, don’t let anyone tell you ‘no’. You can do anything you put your mind. If you believe you can or believe you can’t – you are right.
[2] Take the best self help/life lesson book ever written and follow it’s direction [this book for me is the bible]. This will allow you to build your business on a rock and it will grow strong. Be honest, ethical, treat others as you would like yourself to be treated and most importantly always do right by others when you have the upper hand AND ESPECIALLY when they are not looking. Sounds simple, but success is not complicated. It is doing the right things consistently that will take you where you need to go.
[3] Come up with 5 cultural qualities on which you want to build your company. Hire your employees based on those qualities, try to gauge them in the interview process the best you can. At LightWork, the five qualities each senior manager interviews on are Honesty, Humility, Smart, Hardworking and Speaks Kindly. Why those – because they cannot be easily taught and reflect who we are. No one is hired into any position in the company without every senior manager initially interviewing each new hire on those qualities. It only takes one person to say ‘no’ to disqualify an applicant. We have a solid cultural fabric and do not want to risk loosening the weave by folding someone into the company who does not live our ideals.

Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: The ability to relate to others, being an active listener and have good organizational skills. These skills are paramount to getting the ‘ear’ of people who can help grow your business, contribute to making good decisions and allow you to build a strong business plan so you can launch your new enterprise.

Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans: At the outset, when I first started, it to be I would work from 8am to 12 or 1am in the morning. Today if I averaged my work hours over a seven day period, my hours would be 9 – 10 hours a day, depending on the week.

Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans: Our peole. They are premium – caring, honest, smart, passionate, kind! There is no such thing as a successful company, only successful people. The one thing that I hold in the highest regard that I am certain has given us our success, is our people.

Q 8. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?

Ans: When I wanted to start this venture, my father in law offered $15,000 – and that is all it took, the rest is history

Q 9. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans: Recognize that you always need to re-engineer yourself otherwise you will go by way of the dinosaur . Watch trends in your industry, stay close to the customer, always be thinking forward and adapt. Know that the one thing you can depend on is that things will change – always be looking for what will need to change next.

Q 10. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans: We will have separated the role of President and CEO in the company and I will attend to the role of CEO and head up a board for LightWork Software while the company is recognized as a key player in the mid-market People Software space

Q 11. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans: I admire companies that know their niche and serve it well. They don’t try to be everything to everyone.

I especially admire Sam Walton’s enterprise – Walmart. He found a unique niche in the retail market. Sam once said ‘if everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction’. And he did!

In addition to his business genius, I admire his people philosophy. He had a sincere desire to see his employees thrive financially and treated them as an integral part of the organization, with that he grew to be the biggest private employer in the world.

Q 12. How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans: Pick the customer who works with you ‘on equal footing’ and sees you as true ‘business partner/advisor’, provide as many services into that client as possible, execute on your promises – and always be fair in your dealings. Good will and fair dealings by both parties coupled with hard work builds a solid customer base.

Q 13. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans: The creativity and unlimited possibilities – being on a big stage with the ability to change peoples work life experience for the better with our software and our outlook on life. Giving our customers peace of mind in their work day, giving them the confidence that we are there for them– exhilarating!..

Q 14. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans: There is no one moment. Building such a cohesive team to date – watching this grow and become stronger literally every day. Watching the team impact the customer and each other. Far more than just satisfying, it is the best of all things that could be

Q 15. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans: The freedom to do anything without asking and know you can and keep your job the true entrepreneur is serious risk taker – puts it all out there for a dream.

 

Company Name: LightWork Software