Role and company:Founder and Technical director of 34SP.com
Growth forecast for the next three years:It’d be great to double the size of the business, but whatever happens won’t be enough!
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:34SP.com is all about providing top quality support to our customers. We regularly seek and act on feedback to ensure that we’re providing the right services and that we’re doing so in a way that meets our customers’ needs.
What’s the big vision for your business?To continue providing world class hosting with accessible support, helping novices and experts alike to take full advantage of the web.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We work in a truly international market as we welcome customers from all over the world. We have active customers in over 80 countries right now.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Personally, I haven’t suffered any significant career setbacks. We founded 34SP.com right out of university and 12 years later we’re still here. As a business we’ve invested time in projects that came to nothing, but we didn’t know that was going to happen and learned things along the way.
What makes you mad in business today?So many things! Incompetence is the best catch-all term. People who pretend to know what they’re doing or who promise and don’t deliver, wind me up. For example, suppliers failing to supply, competitors telling fibs to get customers who they end up disappointing and regulators who don’t understand what they’re regulating.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?It seems like an incredibly long time in what is a fast moving market – technologies under the “cloud” umbrella have the potential to cause some major changes in our industry.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?I don’t think our industry is unique in finding access to funding difficult. Of course, entrepreneurs would like free and easy access to funds, but realistically there will always be frustrations around money. We’ve certainly struggled with access to the cash that would help to grow our business.
How would others describe your leadership style?Laid back. We try to hire excellent people who will be able to function without being micromanaged. A company’s ethos always reflects that of its owners and managers and, in our case, 34SP.com is a fun place to work. We enjoy what we do, do it well and do it for the benefit of our customers and the business.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I’ve always wanted to fly, so as soon as I could pay myself enough money out of the company to do so, I trained for a pilot’s licence. That came before a car or a mortgage for me!
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:The government has done a few good things to help get new businesses off the ground and small businesses to grow. Investment is something that many small businesses are crying out for, so encouraging further funding would be great. Politics generally frustrates me and all too often seems like bickering school children, constantly looking to score points and not getting much done. By Shané Schutte
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