Utilization & Margin In Consulting With Matt Hayter: Podcast #302

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Many consultants struggle to grow their businesses because they’re busy working in their business rather than on their business. Because if you are looking to scale your firm, owners should understand the crucial role of margin. Today, Matt Hayter, the CEO and founder of Project Works, emphasizes how utilization and margin ensure sustainability and growth for your consulting business. He also delves into several topics and shares some tips to help your consulting business grow. Listen to this episode and hear more from Matt’s expertise today.

Joining Michael on the show is Matt Hayter. Matt is the CEO and Founder of Projectworks, a comprehensive business management platform designed specifically for professionals and creative service businesses. Under his leadership, Projectworks has aided business owners, including consultants, by enhancing their capabilities in project management, people management, and their financials.

As you’ll read about in the episode with Matt and Michael, many consultants struggle to grow their businesses because they are too busy working in their businesses rather than on their businesses. Many consultants have no idea what’s going on, and this is one of the biggest hurdles they face when trying to grow from 6 figures to 7 figures. If you’re a consultant eager to scale your business from the 6-figure level to the 7-figure mark, remember you don’t have to shoulder this burden alone. We’re here to assist you. We’re offering a free consulting blueprint as your roadmap to transition from 6 to 7 figures. Go ahead and visit ConsultingSuccess.com/Guide to claim your free copy.

During this episode, Matt will discuss with you margins and why it’s important to know and understand your margins if you’re looking to grow your firm. As a professional consultant, understanding and knowing your margin is crucial for a number of reasons. First, it serves as an indicator of your business’s financial health. Secondly, it informs pricing strategies. Thirdly, it can help you in making strategic business decisions.

For example, if you see that a specific service has a high margin, you may want to focus more on promoting that service. If a particular project has a low margin, you might reconsider whether it’s worth continuing or whether you need to renegotiate the terms of that deal. In essence, understanding your margin is essential in ensuring the sustainability and growth of your consulting practice. Along with margin, Matt and Michael dive into a number of different and interesting topics to help you improve and grow your consulting business. Here to share with you his insights and expertise is Matt Hayter. Enjoy.

Welcome back to another episode of the show. I’m excited to be joined by Matt Hayter. Matt, welcome.

Thank you. It’s good to be here.

You are the CEO and Founder of Projectworks, which is a business management platform for professionals and creative service businesses. Many of these people are in the world of consulting or something similar, so this will be a very relevant conversation for everybody joining us. I thought where we could start is before you created this software as a service or a SaaS business, you were part of a consulting business. I’d love it if you could take us back to what was that consulting business and what were you doing. I know you spent about a decade or so there. I’d love to set the stage for what was that consulting business all about, and then as you walk us through a little bit, why did you decide to stop the traditional consulting route that you were on and instead begin building software?

To frame that up a little bit, this was a technology consultancy. We are largely doing big software platforms, government banking, and big bespoke solutions. I have always been a geek and into tech. I decided, “What I need to do is I need to go to university and get a business degree because business is going to be more important. Tinkering with computers and software is one thing, but I need to do that.” I went off and got a degree in business. At the end of that, when I was deciding what to do from a career perspective, I realized business ideas were a dime a dozen. It was all about execution and being able to build something, so I decided I needed to get a job as a developer to learn to properly build stuff.

I managed to convince the guys at this consultancy to take me on as a graduate developer. For the first 4 or 5 years there, I spent working up to senior developer into being a team lead. I then started circling back to the business side and got into solution architecture. This was naturally happening. Ultimately, I became what we called a technical account manager, which meant I was leading the account largely for this company, Provoke Solutions, which is our biggest customer. That was what I was doing in the consulting world.

I got it.

Being a software company, at this point, it was over 100 consultants, we had built internally a product that was called Project Control at the time to run Provoke as a business. This was a product that did time shooting, resource planning, revenue forecasting, invoicing, expenses, and all of that stuff that you need to run a consultancy. It had a big emphasis on utilization and margin, which are the two things that consultants care about the most. It is margin and, “We’re making money. Are my people doing stuff?” That’s what a consultant cares about.

We built up this product. People were coming and going from Provoke, mainly project managers or managers, and saying, “You need to take this product you’ve built to the company we came from. They really need that. They’ve been looking for years for this. There’s nothing on the market that does this. They’re running a cobbled-together set of spreadsheets. They’ve got a time-tracking tool. To do any margin reporting, we have to wait until after the month is finished. There’s about a week of pulling reports together and then we find out if we made any money last month.”

I’m sorry to interrupt. To clarify and make sure I’m catching this, in summary, this consulting firm that you were working at previously was called Provoke. You had built or been part of building this internal tool or software that helped you to track margins and utilization of the firm. People, like new consultants and employees, that would come into Provoke would look at this software and go, “The places that we came from before could have benefited from this,” or, “We’ve never seen something like this, but I know there’s a need for it.”

You’re starting to get some validation. There was, at that point, no plan from what I understand in terms of commercializing this software. It was an internal tool, but you were starting to get some validation or at least a level of interest from people that come into your company from other consulting firms. Is that correct?

Exactly. There had been no formal validation. Seeds were starting to be sown. We were like, “We should do something with this.” That’s exactly right. We got to the point after having a number of these conversations that I and my business partner, Julian, who I’d been working with, which is not one of the founders there, that we want to go and start our own business. We were like, “We’ve been here a while. We feel like we know what we’re doing. Let’s start something.” We got talking to Doug and some of the other directors and founders at Provoke and said, “We want to go and do this. You guys have got this asset already that we think has a lot of value. Maybe we should chat about spinning that out as a product and we could do that instead.”

Some people don’t want to know the actual reality of their business. They would rather keep trucking along with their head in the sand. They don’t necessarily have a good business. Click To Tweet

How did they respond to that? How did they feel about that idea?

It took a little while. It was probably not because they were opposed to the idea but because in a consultancy, you’ve got a million things going on and nice-to-haves are often not at the top of the list. I was probably perseverant to the point of being quite annoying instead.

How long did it take from the time that you had that initial conversation and floated the idea to the point where they agreed and said whatever that next step was?

What happened was it had been informal chats with them individually for a while, and then over a period of maybe 6 to 12 months, those got more formal. We got invited along to a board meeting with a proper proposal on what to do, and then the proposal was accepted in the board meeting. What that said was, “We’ve got this internal asset now. We’re going to create a new company which is going to be a vehicle for the IP. We’re going to transfer the ownership of the IP to this new entity.”

“Provoke is going to retain 50% or over 50% of the equity and this entity and I and my business partner, Julian, get the other 50%. We are going to work in our own time to start building this product into a proper SaaS platform.” That was the other part of it. This was in 2015 or 2016. It had been built as an old on-premise bespoke solution. It needed to be productized. We started doing that on nights and weekends. We then gradually started shifting some of our time across to working on the product build itself.

How did you feel about that? They’re saying, “50%, you guys get that, but if you’re going to do this, you need to do this on your own time. We still need you working inside of the consulting firm.” Was that something you were ready and willing to take on? Did you feel like you needed some form of extra compensation? What was going through your mind when you were dealing with that or making the decision to move forward with the structure?

We were lucky in the sense that we had known these guys for a long time and we had a high trust relationship with them. I and Julian were integral to this major account and walking away would’ve left Provoke in a vulnerable position. We were like, “We’re going to stay and look after you guys, but this is where we want to be.”

What it enabled us to do was to slowly transition out and start spinning. It started off with all our time outside, but very quickly, it started becoming where we can spend time from within our workday. We got Julian to completely switch over first and then I switched over completely in 2019. That was three years after we were founded, which is when we did our funding round.

When you say you switched over, what were you looking for? What needed to be in place in order for you guys to feel comfortable to make that switch? Was it a certain amount of traction in the market, client wins, or revenue? What were the metrics that you were looking at to feel confident and also for this consulting firm, Provoke, to say, “You have our blessing to go off and get into this now full-time.”

The honest story is it’s a bit of luck, what happened. The plan was we’d get it to the point where revenue was at enough of a point where we could properly transition out. We would bootstrap it and grow it organically. In hindsight, without proper capitalization, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful as it has been.

CSP Matt Hayter | Utilization And Margin

What happened was in 2019, Provoke sold entirely outright to a private equity firm. The private equity firm came along and realized that they’d acquired this random asset. With Doug, who was one of the Founders at Provoke and our business partner, we got on a plane and went and met Masood who is the CEO of the PE firm. We spent a weekend with him in a room and spreadsheets and figured out what we were going to do with this thing. We didn’t know if we were going to be shut down or what was going to happen. It was a period of a lot of uncertainty for us.

Luckily, we convinced him that it was a good idea a little bit because we clearly knew what we were doing. We had a good plan. Masood was a consulting guy. He built his first business into a company that ended up being listed. That’s where they made their initial money off consulting. He got in as a product guy to oversee the product. I wish I had this when I was running my 1,000-person consultancy. He then funded the business there and then. In hindsight, that was a really good forcing function of bootstrapping. It probably still would’ve been successful, but for the magnitude and breadth of the product we were trying to take on, we needed proper capital.

How did you feel about that? You’re giving up more equity to have this investment or cash and infusion. Potentially, that might mean you have less say or control over the future or the destiny of the business. How did you wrestle with that? What was your mindset around, “I’m going to own less of this but I’m going to do it because I see a benefit of taking on this capital.” It was maybe owning more but not having that capital. What did that conversation look like in your mind?

That’s a difficult one and something that we maybe not wrestled with but you have to go through and get comfortable with. We could see the size of the market. We ended up doing some work formally with Forrester to do some addressable market sizing. We could see the opportunity. The alternative for us at that point in time was that we were likely to be shut down. They had the controlling stake that could have done whatever they’d like. We’d already invested a lot of sweat into building this, so we were probably more emotionally invested than we should have been. It has worked out fine, but that would’ve played into that decision-making as well. That would be a lesson to do this again to check how emotionally invested you are in these things.

Ultimately, we realized that without proper funding, we weren’t going to grow at the speed you need a SaaS company to grow to get a valuation, especially at that time. It moved a little bit more to being valued off being profitable in EBITDA, but still, SaaS companies are largely valued off growth. Bootstrapping was not going to get us the growth that commanded the valuation that was going to make the numbers work for us.

That makes sense. I want to get deeper into how you’ve gone about growing this business. Before we do that, I know that the core premise or the real value driver inside of this business is you talked about margins and utilization in consulting businesses and it goes beyond that. I’d love you to share a little bit more about what it is doing.

When it comes to margins, because you’ve been in that space for quite a bit of time, both in the consulting world seeing what things look like inside a consulting business but also from the software perspective, I would imagine that you have insight to a lot of data from a lot of different firms. What do you see are some of the main mistakes that consultants or other professional service firms make when it comes to margins, whether it is failure to improve margins? What stands out in your mind about those common issues that creep up for people?

One of the things that is maybe not common but I didn’t foresee is that some people don’t want to know the actual reality of their business. They would rather keep trucking along with their head in the sand that they don’t necessarily have a particularly good business because they don’t want to be told that.

What does that look like? Can you maybe offer an example? Where do you see that play out, that kind of scenario?

A reasonably common scenario for us is that businesses that don’t have clear visibility of margin. When I’m talking margin, I’m talking about generally being able to look at the margin on individual projects or on individual people, and then that rolled up to business functions, let’s say a team, and then looking at the overall business margin. One of those can be good without the other, so you need to be looking at it from all of these angles.

Utilization is a key building block of your margin. Click To Tweet

A scenario we have reasonably common is projects that have got all the fanfare. All are excited about it. This is a cool fun project that has been worked on. When you dig into it, they’re often making terrible margins. There’s a reason why those projects are doing so well. They’re stacked with high-paid consultants who you are making very little margin off. That’s why they’re on a dime and on budget. It’s often the bread-and-butter boring stuff that ticks over when you’re making your higher margins.

It’s been good and some interesting conversations for us to be able to show people margin from any angle and be like. “This kind of work that you’re doing, you don’t make much money off.” There’s always the, “This is a loss leader type project. We’re breaking into this market.” It is a loss leader and you’re breaking into this market when you’ve been doing these projects for five years and you’re still making the same margin. Whereas the stuff we have been doing for five years as well, we’ve been making good margin since day one. Maybe you should focus on whether there is a way you can build that business. Do you want to?

Some people that run consultancies, they run consultancies because they enjoy what they do and they want to run it as a lifestyle-type business. They enjoy the flexibility of that. That’s fine as well. The important thing is being really honest with yourself about what you’re trying to get out of your consultancy firm. If it is just money, then focus on the stuff that makes you money. If it’s not, then that’s fine.

I’ve found with many clients over the years that we’ve worked with that in some cases, they’ve never done it. They might have an idea, hopefully, around what their overall business margin is, how much they’re profiting, and so forth. What is such an important area is looking at what is profitability by type of project or type of engagement and what is the profitability by the client.

We’ve seen situations where a consulting firm we worked with treated everyone they worked with the same. When we started to get them to do a bit of this kind of analysis, they figured out pretty quickly the vast majority of their business was coming from a specific type of client and their messaging wasn’t speaking to that client. They hadn’t even seen that. That was a light bulb moment. A tool like this or software like this that makes it easier for people to get that kind of data is important. It’s your choice what you do with the data, but at least have it so that you can know what’s really going on. That’s a great example.

What about utilization? This is an area for many consultants that they don’t even think about unless they start getting to that level where they have a bigger team, more consultants working, associates, junior consultants, and so forth. What have you seen in utilization in terms of big missteps, mistakes, or maybe areas of opportunity that most people don’t lean into but they should?

You’re spot on. It usually becomes more of an issue at around 15 to 20 staff. You touched on it as well. A lot of these people haven’t done it before. We’ve been talking about a campaign centered around the accidental business owner. A lot of our customers are consultants. Twenty people have never set out to run a business but they were really good at what they did. Before they know it, they’ve got twenty other people with them who are doing the same stuff. They’ve never thought, “I’m going to build a company and do this and that.” It’s like, “I’m a consultant. I’ve got too much work. I’ll get some more people to help me.” Before they know it, they are struggling to figure out what all these people are doing.

To bring back to your question about utilization, at this size, that’s where it gets more important. It’s easy to run a single project successfully, have good margin, and for that to look good. You can run a series of very good projects and still not have a good business if your utilization is poor. Utilization is the other part of it.

I’m sorry to interrupt. Could you maybe define how you think about utilization for maybe those that aren’t that familiar with the term or maybe don’t understand it? How should they think about the term utilization?

Utilization is the amount of time you’re spending on billable work. Let’s say a standard person has a 40-hour work week. They would typically have a utilization target. It depends on where you are in the business. An individual contributor would have a target. Probably at least 80% of their time should be billable or maybe up to 90%.

CSP Matt Hayter | Utilization And Margin

We’ve seen for a contractor, it’s usually 100%. Typically, we see that 80% to 90% of the time that you’re paid for, you should be working on client work. The other 10% is maybe internal meetings and admin-type stuff. That generally reduces as you get up more to management. For a manager of a function, their utilization target might be 50% because they’re doing recruitment and team management. All of that stuff is general management stuff as well. The flip side to that or the other part of that is the more senior you are in the business, often, you are bringing in more revenue and you have higher rates. Often, you get paid more, too. Rates are a big important part of margin, but we’ll put that rates part in a box.

What happens with utilization is you can be running a really great project, but if people are spending a lot of time on internal time, they’re still being paid for every hour that they’re at your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re running the odd good project if people have nothing to do. You need to be making good margin on your projects and having people at a utilization level that works for you. A big part of managing utilization is properly managing your pipeline of work that’s coming down. In every consultancy, it’s either you’ve got too much or not enough work to do.

It’s not at a perfect level.

That’s the name of the game you’re in. You’ve got no work and you sign a massive deal. You’re like, “How are we going to staff this thing?” That’s the lifecycle of being in consulting. The better you can plan through tooling and having visibility out as far as you can like booking people, looking at what that means in terms of revenue forecasting coming in, and then having all your costs together, you can start getting an idea of projected margin, too. That’s where that utilization piece becomes important. Ultimately, it’s about margin but utilization is a key building block into that margin.

It’s great that you also touched on the value of doing this where it helps you to plan for the future. For so many consultants that start building a bigger firm, in having enough talent or having enough people on the bench, part of it that they can tap into to allow them to be more proactive in planning or arranging if they’re going to need more people for an upcoming project becomes valuable.

You talked about this magic number of twenty. At twenty people, this is where a lot of this stuff becomes valuable. When you look across all of your customer bases, have you seen smaller firms, let’s say, that have 5, 8, or 10 people as part of the company still get value from software like this or doing these types of best practices or do you see that it only makes sense to think about going deeper into these areas when you get to twenty people or more?

We still see value, for sure. It’s that at a five-person firm, there are fewer places to hide when it comes to utilization. Usually, a five-person firm is run still by the owner and they know what everybody’s doing. We try not to take companies onto our platform that are less than ten staff because that’s when our value really kicks in, but we do have some businesses that are smaller.

Regardless of what size you are, being able to object your margin is a valuable asset. There are other products that do this. Maybe not as well as Projectworks, but there are other products. You go in and you’re looking at a piece of work. You can go and resource out all the schedule, put in all your forecasts, and say, “We’re going to bring in this much revenue.” That’s going to spit out and tell you because it’s got all costs loaded in there, too. That’s going to tell you the projected margin that you’re going to make even before a project starts.

What that enables you to do is to know how much movement you have when it comes to pricing that project. You could go in, plan it out, and say, “This is quite bread-and-butter stuff. We can put some of our level or our junior people on it.” It is still a value add. We’ve done this a bunch of times where the experts in it charge a high rate for this so we are going to make a lot of margin. You can go in if you’re in pricing discussions and getting asked to sharpen the pencil and know how much room exactly you have to move. You’re not having to think on the fly as you’re being negotiated down. You have your number. You’re like, “This is our bid.”

Often, when our clients are taking that number to their clients when they’re being pushed, their clients can really appreciate that. They can go back and say, “We can’t do it for less than that. We need to be making 30% margin on a project to cover our costs. We need to be doing 10% margin as a business,” which is roughly where they land. That transparency can help them in the sell in some cases as well. Some of their clients might not care.

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That’s helpful. Can you talk a little bit more about what you see again? You have so much access to data across many different clients and customers. What do you view as the industry averages for margin? I’m wondering. Do you look at it based on is there a certain average that seems to be the average based on when you have X number of employees or is it more by industry? Tell me how you view different margins and what is average, what is high, and what is low. I’d love to get some insight from you on that.

It varies a lot.

That’s not the answer I wanted.

I’ll start with that and then break it down. The biggest impact on the higher margins is generally the higher the specialization of the consultancy. The higher the specialization, often the smaller the consultancy. With a small consultancy of very specialized people at what they do, there’s not necessarily the market out there for their high specialization, which is why they’re able to charge a lot for their work. That’s the dynamic largely. There are other factors, but that’s the dynamic largely. Right. Higher specialization, less market, but more margin.

The more specialized company is typically a smaller company but very specialized. The market is not as big. You were players. When you say that, what are you thinking? Are you thinking this is 10 people, 20 people, 50 people, or 100 people? What do you view so that we give everybody joining us a bit of context around what small means in your mind?

It could be as small as five people. There are some great five-person specialized consultancies out there. I would still consider a small consultancy up to around that twenty mark and very specialized. From what I would consider to be standard from a margin perspective, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the SPI report.

I’ve heard of it.

They do a big survey. They usually have about 1,000 consultancies that participate. What they say is their standards or the averages that they see are in line with what we see. That’s typically a project, like an individual project, you generally want to be making at least a 30% to 40% margin depending on the nature of the work.

You do have loss leader-type projects when you are trying to break into new industries. For some of it, you can fudge some of the data though. You might run a big internal proof of concept project to set you up for responding to a bigger RFP and not count that cost as part of the project cost. I’m not necessarily taking a stand on whether you should or shouldn’t, but there are ways that you can make the margin at a project level look better. If you’re being overall honest with yourself, that is around 30%. 10% to 15% margin at a company level is typically the standard of what we see.

You can’t name names because of confidentiality and all that kind of stuff, but have there been any situations where you see a company that they’re delivering engagements with 60% or 70% margins or even business at a level, they’re at 50% plus margin, they have a team, and so forth? Does anything stand out where you’re going like, “What are they doing here? This is different.”

CSP Matt Hayter | Utilization And Margin

Yes. I’ve seen probably less at a project level making bigger margins on big projects anyway. There are small projects where you can do that, but on large government or enterprise-type customer work, generally, often, with the bigger projects, it could be open tender or there is a lot more competition. It’s where I say where you get some of these small niche consultancies. That’s where the opportunity for those larger margins is.

From a company perspective, generally for a company of any size, you’re not pushing much beyond 20% in my experience. There are situations where it’s quite a lot lower and by design. There are some consultancies that make low margins due to not necessarily having their management completely together or having other challenges.

We have some customers that, by design, are consultancies, but they are really more of a conglomerate of individual consultants. They might make a small margin off these individuals. A lot of the time, these individuals are doing their own business development and running their own projects as consultants and the company is providing a vehicle to make it easier for them to.

Rather than bringing more profit into the company, that profit is going out to the individual consultants. They’re almost their own little business or mini entity. That makes sense.

They’re running a much leaner overhead. It’s a different function. A lot of the time, people running these consultancies might have a consultancy of 50 consultants but they’re running that as a part-time gig and doing something else as well.

That makes a lot of sense. Hitting the rewind button for a moment in Projectworks, you built out this software. You got funded and built up a team. You have about 25 or so people on the team. Since you have that product, the software, how do you go to market? Give us a little sense of how you’ve found or what you found to be most effective in penetrating or getting into consulting firms and professional services firms to get a seat at the table and have a conversation to get their interest to ultimately win business. What does that playbook look like?

That’s morphed over the years as we’ve honed in what works for us. When we started, our go-to-market was pure cold outbound. We had people on the phone dialing lists of consultancies.

How did that work?

It worked okay in the early days, but you quickly saturate. When you’re not building any demand, you are only tapping the small individual number percentage of people who are in the market ready to buy and will take a cold call, which is a very small fraction. We scoop that up and that saturates reasonably quickly. Where we have found the real gold is through partnerships and integration partners. In every situation, by the time somebody comes to look for a product like Projectworks, they already have an accounting system. We are in New Zealand. Xero has been a big New Zealand success story. That enabled us to get some real claws in the Xero marketplace by building out the best integration with Xero.

For those that aren’t familiar with Xero, think QuickBooks, Sage, or something along those lines. It is an accounting platform software.

Once you start getting popular and others take notice, it’s a long road to build those, but quite defensible once you’re there. Click To Tweet

It’s Cloud accounting.

Exactly. Can you talk a little bit about how that works? People often hear this idea of partnerships, but it would be helpful if you could get a little bit more granular around what was the value proposition. When you reached out to Xero, how did you position the benefit for them and the benefit for you? How did that actual partnership take place? What does it look like in terms of what are they doing or what are you doing? How is that structured?

The bad thing about partnerships is they take a lot of time to build, especially when you’re a David and Goliath. They don’t know who you are or care about us. That’s also a real strength though. Once you’ve put in that effort to build those partnerships, then you’ve got quite a good moat. It’s hard for somebody else to come in overnight and do that.

In the early days, that involved building out the integration with Xero the best and making sure that it worked with invoices, payments, and expenses. It is having the best product listed in their marketplace and then going to our customers and doing our own go-to-market. As part of a new customer coming on, we’d write and say, “You have to give us a good review in the marketplace.” We could then start building up reviews.

There’s Radar. We had connections there. Luckily, being in both Wellington-founded companies, it is the same tech scene. You’re leaning on personal networks. You’re leaning on your official contacts within the organization. You’re leaning on your product being the best. You’re leaning on the reviews that you’re getting. You’re trying to attack it on a lot of different fronts. What helped us was the Xero run. Like a lot of the platforms, they run a yearly awards event. We managed to get awarded the emerging app partner of the year. That got us onto Xero’s radar. It’s brick by brick, the partnership stuff there.

What does that look like? I understand you’re on the Xero marketplace, but I would imagine that any integration, tool, or software could potentially plug into that marketplace. When you talk about the real benefits of that partnership, what does that look like? Is Xero sending leads your way or customers your way? What are they doing that is beneficial for your company?

We’re taking that to the next level where you have their sales team know who you are and they can recommend you. Probably the most beneficial thing is that because Xero is in Australia, the UK, and South Africa and starting to penetrate pretty well into the US as well, it has given us that instant global connection. I don’t think we’ve spent very few marketing dollars in the UK. Already 15% of our revenue comes largely off the back of Xero.

You mentioned that 15% of your business comes from the UK and that’s on the back of the Xero partnership. Is the reason why that happened because when people reach out to them and they might be a good fit for what you’re offering, the sales team from Xero would be referring people towards you or is there anything else that they’re doing in terms of sending emails, having you on webinars, or anything else that’s kicking in?

The main benefit is being in the marketplace and five-star reviews. People go in and a project management tool is often what they’re looking for. They find us through that. What it has done is got us on the radar of the other accounting platforms as well though. We’ve signed a strategic partnership agreement with Intuit who make QuickBooks, which your audience is probably a lot more familiar with

They approached us and said, “We’ve got four million customers still on QuickBooks Desktop that we want to get to the Cloud. A way to do that is by building a proper Cloud partner network. You guys are clearly the dominating one with Xero. We should talk.” These things, once you start getting through and the others start to take notice, it’s a long road to building those, but it’s quite defensible once you’re there.

CSP Matt Hayter | Utilization And Margin

It is the benefit of the network effect. Once it’s in place, it starts to take shape and become very powerful. I want to, first of all, thank you for coming on here and sharing some of your stories and the journey you guys are building. I want to make sure that people can learn more about software and the developments of it that you guys are doing.

Before we do that, let me ask a specific question that I’d like to ask guests at the end here. It is in the last few months, is there a book, and it could be fiction or nonfiction, that you have read or listened to that you would recommend to others? It is something that resonated with you that you think might be helpful or interesting for other business owners.

One book I read a while ago but I always come back to and read each year is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

It’s a good book.

It’s probably my favorite business book. It was good from cover to cover. A lot of business books I find pack it all on the first 20% and then half of the book is trailing off. That one has good points the whole way through.

That’s a great recommendation there. Thank you for coming on. Where’s the best place for people to go? Can you share that one URL or one place that might be good for them to go and learn more?

Projectworks.io is the place to go. You can get a trial to have a look at what we do and see if that’s fit for you. You can book time with one of our team to have a free session to chat through requirements as well. If it doesn’t look like it’s a fit for you, we’ll be pretty honest straight from the bat. We don’t like wasting people’s time. That’s the place, Projectworks.io.

Thanks so much for coming on.

Thank you. Cheers.

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