Role and company:CEO of Postcode Anywhere
Growth forecast for the next three years:We have been growing in excess of 20 per cent pa for the last few years and are currently scaling the business to accelerate this growth.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:If you’ve ever bought anything online and typed in your postcode to get your address – the odds are that you’ve used our service. We process over four million transactions daily for over 8,000 organisations around the world and account for over 50 per cent of all addresses captured through UK ecommerce websites.
What’s the big vision for your business?Our vision is to transform our marketplace through the adoption of our search based technology and our support. I’m pleased to report that we’re well on track.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:There are huge opportunities for our service internationally driven by the need for better data quality and improved delivery in e-commerce. Our ambition is to take our technology platform and to work with major distribution partners, such as our recent deal with Canada Post, to scale through their channels.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:We considered VC funding when we set up Postcode Anywhere which, fortunately for us, never happened. As a result, we ended up funding the business ourselves and no doubt look completely different to how we might have turned out had the VC’s not been so risk averse. I describe it as being the best thing that never happened to us and feel that it has enabled us to focus more on growing the business as we want and less on how someone else with different objectives would want.
What makes you mad in business today?Companies that abuse our generous tax system. Whilst I fully understand the logic for why they choose to manipulate their finances and locations to get away with paying the least amount of tax, the fact is that SME’s don’t have the luxury of being able to do the same thing, thereby creating an uneven playing field. Ultimately, we all then have to make up the shortfall through higher personal and business taxes. It makes my blood boil!
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?There are lots of things happening in the addressing market which could be considered either strategic threats or opportunities from the pressure for free data to changes in the US state tax system. As a leading cloud service provider we are continuing to see as well as benefit from the move to centrally managed platforms like ours. It certainly makes total sense in the data market where information changes regularly.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?Access to finance is not a major issue for us, however, I regularly hear through my board membership of our trade organisation, Intellect, of many other IT companies where it is an issue. My advice, is to grow within your means if you can and if not, then work smarter.
How would others describe your leadership style?From being a jack of all trades I am now endeavouring to make the transition to spending more time working on the business rather than in it. We have a very strong management team that is easily capable of running the day to day operations far better than I can. My objective as a large shareholder is to let them get on and do it and to concentrate on doing more of the things that I like.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I like watches and have recently bought an IWC Portuguese. Otherwise I’m not hugely materialistic, although it’s fair to say that I’m constantly under pressure from my other half to spend a bit more on myself.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:I would like the government to take the IT sector more seriously. It accounts for eight per cent of our GDP and represents the future of a developed economy like ours. Whilst we have recently seen the publication of an information strategy paper which is an encouraging development, there’s no minister or portfolio in government which is specifically allocated to look after one of the most fundamentally important influences on our future. By Shané Schutte
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