Name, title & company name?
Gerry So, Director, Okappy Ltd.
In a few words, tell us what your business does?
Okappy is an innovative B2B communications platform which re-thinks how companies in the service sector manage their day-to-day work.
When did you know that you wanted to set up your own business and what made you finally take the plunge?
I’ve always wanted to have my own business. As a child, I wanted to learn as much as possible from my Dad (who had his own business) so I could replicate his success and do even better. Having built a successful career in a Tier 1 Investment Bank; I felt like I needed a new challenge, ideally in a completely different environment. In 2015 I decided to take the plunge, leave my job and get involved with Okappy on a full-time basis.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Working for a large company, I never really felt like I made much difference to the world. Running my own business means I can have a massive impact on how companies in the service sector operate. Months down the line when we follow up with clients and they say we’ve changed their quality of life it makes me feel like I’ve conquered the world.
And the most challenging?
Being a start-up means we’re always constrained by time, money and resource. We have big ambitions and there’s so much we want to do but never enough resource to do it.
Why did you choose KPMG Small Business Accounting?
I stumbled across the KPMG Small Business Accounting package and thought it was very competitive and tailored to small businesses like ours.
How have KPMG Small Business Accounting and your dedicated KPMG accountant helped you?
There are only four of us, so it’s nice to not have to worry about all the financial administration. Our dedicated accountant always makes themselves available to help with our queries. We always get a prompt response.
What are two industry specific challenges your business is facing?
The mind-set within the service sector is typically resistant to change so I’ve found some of the processes to be complicated and information to be very fragmented within each company. I’ve also found both the technology and service sectors to be very male dominated, which sometimes makes it hard, as a female to sell the product in a way that resonates.
What one thing do you think the Government could do to help small businesses?
I think the government could provide more support to encourage women to build their own businesses, and continue to do so after starting a family. Things like shared workspaces with facilities for mothers would be really helpful.
If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be?
Running your own business is like going on a roller coaster ride. It’s important not to dwell too much on your mistakes and instead spend the time thinking about how you could do better next time.
What’s next for your business?
We are in the midst of a big fundraising drive to grow the business. We are in our 2nd round of seed funding with Angels Den, and have already raised 34% of our target (£500k). Once we reach this target we will be recruiting more staff, investing in sales and marketing and hopefully really capitalising on this exciting opportunity.
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