Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Victoria Armstrong from WhosOnLocation.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
The security and safety of your people starts with knowing who is on-site. WhosOnLocation, based in Wellington, New Zealand, is a cloud service that enables any organisation with an obligation to protect the well-being of its employees, visitors and contractors with a robust, easy-to-use set of tools to help track the presence of people into and out of their sites.
Customers love us because we make it easy for them to manage who is due on-site, who is permitted on-site, and who is actually on-site in real-time. They gain control over communicating hazard warnings to visitors, contractors and employees. They can account for people quickly in the event of an emergency, and they can run audit and presence reports to meet a wide range of compliance obligations.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
To date we have grown through a combination of direct sales by leveraging social media, google, and word of mouth and, by establishing several reseller partners in key markets. This has allowed us to build a strong and loyal user community across 14 countries in a very wide range of industry sectors including education, health, manufacturing, and construction, corporate, central and local government.
Up until last month we bootstrapped the business. Whilst we are profitable we recently closed a 'Series A' round of funding which allows us to better manage our global growth. Our primary growth strategy is centred on a strong global reseller network. From an on-going funding perspective again we don't need money to survive but to reach the lofty heights we have set ourselves we are offering a Series B round in late 2015 or early 2016.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Growing revenue, employing the right staff, and maintaining the high standard of customer support we have offered as a startup to date. We also have a major challenge keeping abreast of government regulations in each of the markets we operate in. Compliance and regulations are the primary motivators and drivers for customers to use WhosOnLocation.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
Firstly the software-as-a-service clichés; ease of use, fast deployment, and fantastic value for money compared to our peers. But if we listen to our customers they'll tell us it's our great customer support and a product that addresses 'multiple' site security, health and safety, and compliance issues in a single solution.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
I know I should say this app or that but for me the single app I could not live without is the phone app that came with my iPhone. I can talk to people and establish an understanding of their needs like no other app can. I can hear their voice, they can ask me questions, I can tell from their tone and speed of voice how they are feeling -- there's no app like it. The phone app has won me more business than any other -- thanks Alexander Graham Bell!
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Two pieces come to mind: "Just start a damn business and stop looking for the next best thing -- you won't find it unless you are in business -- get engaged and stop being a wimp" and the other piece was "hire for attitude -- you can teach skills".
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