Clarity and accountability have super-charged this IT business’s success
The needs of business owners are becoming increasingly complex in the face of rapid technology advancement. Technical products and services can no longer sell themselves, and it is critical for time-poor business operators to fully understand how tech solutions can help to achieve their growth goals.
This strategy of putting a client’s business-needs first is the reason Australian Managed IT Service Provider Powernet can differentiate itself from its competitors 25 years ago, the company started in its founder’s parents’ garage; now, it employs over 60 people and has an annual turnover of $15million across offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland. However, at the beginning – in the 1990s – businesses were still finding their feet with technology.
Fortunately, Powernet’s founder quickly identified an unmet business need for sophisticated technical support in 1994, and hit the ground running. They set about providing more than basic software and hardware solutions, allowing the organisation to evolve to where they are today. The company now focuses powering growth of SME Businesses through providing up-to-date business-grade technology and services.
Powernet CEO Daniel Williams credits the company’s success to their ‘business before technology’ approach and understanding what clients want to achieve from their IT strategy within budget. “In 25 years of business, the majority of clients have come from referrals and word of mouth,” he says. “It’s only been in the last two years that we’ve implemented a marketing strategy to achieve our ambitious growth targets.”
Despite their stellar reputation, just over three years ago it became apparent the business had plateaued. This led the company to search for a successful business operating system to guide further growth. “We came across the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) which was fortunate because we’d hit the ceiling,” says Daniel. “Revenue had remained stagnant and profits hadn’t grown for some time. We had some tools that could address issues but not enough. In many respects we were over complicating things.”
The Powernet team got to work with Certified EOS Implementer Daniel Davis - a top facilitator or teacher of EOS business principles - and it became clear what needed to be fixed. “It was apparent that we’d outgrown our company structure and there were many areas of confusion,” Daniel says. “The model wasn’t scalable if we wanted to achieve growth targets. However, through the adoption of the EOS Accountability Chart tool, we knocked those issues on the head. That allowed us to do a deep dive into how our company should be structured.”
Whilst Powernet’s family-values culture had always been strong, it was also clear they didn’t have all the ‘right people in the right seats’. “EOS forced us to analyse our people and ourselves. As a result, the leadership team line-up has changed by 50 per cent since we began implementation.”
Importantly, the EOS Process introduced key lessons in planning, tackling the right issues and focusing on the right goals. “We learnt to take on 90 days at a time and come together weekly to hold each other accountable,” Daniel says. “This dramatically improved our execution of strategic items. We’re all now sharing the same vision.”
Daniel says some major benefits from EOS implementation has been in the structured approach to goal setting. “We now know what numbers are important and how we’re tracking towards our 10-year target. This has led to us growing by approximately 15 per cent year-on-year. By this year’s end we aim to have increased revenue by almost 100 per cent and profits by the same amount since commencing the EOS Process.”
The IT specialist adds they now have the right people in the right seats. “Our company has rhythm. Everyone’s engaged in effective Level 10 meetings, they have ‘to-do’ items and the majority have ‘rocks’- or goals - resulting in accountability growing exponentially.”
On a personal level, Daniel says EOS helped him tick off more strategic goals than ever. “Previously I’d have in excess of 20 to 30 big ticket items on my ‘to-do’ list and it’d take months to complete just a few. Many never got completed! Since implementing quarterlies and rocks, we now achieve around seven big ticket items every quarter.
“Additionally, I’d often be dragged into simple issues that could’ve been handled by the team. This barely happens anymore as operational issues are now dealt with through processes and I’ve developed an unwavering discipline for rock completion and working on the business.”
Daniel admits while the EOS work was challenging, it’s been well worth it. “Tough decisions had to be made, but they were for the good of the company. EOS allowed us to come to those decisions in a structured, logical manner.”
Powernet now has aspirations of being an employer of choice in the Asia Pacific region; they are already Great Place to Work® certified organisation. They also aim to grow their Sydney and Brisbane offices and double their turnover within the next three years. “Overall the experience was enjoyable and educational,” says Daniel. “Most importantly, it gave us real clarity which has taken us to the next level of success.
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