Chris Petersen of Asset.Guru talks momentum, management and maintenance in his Meet A Founder interview with The Big Smoke.
Can you please tell The Big Smoke audience a little about your background? How did you come to head up Asset.Guru?
After years at IBM and Salesforce.com, living, breathing and dreaming inside my own business was all I wanted to do. I had so many conversations with super smart founders but what many of them lacked was simplicity; their ideas were so clever (looking for gaps in the market), the execution was their biggest hindrance. In sales terms their solutions went from leading edge to bleeding edge. I learnt from that and wanted to fill a gap that made the working life of small to medium businesses better, easier, faster and smarter.
What is the one thing you wish clients would understand about Asset.Guru when first connecting with you?
Getting started is the best thing you could ever do: they can even outsource the entire problem out to us if they want. Inherently when we speak to CEO’s and CFO’s they are continually trying to “get their house in order” first. All this does is delay both an evolution, and revolution within their business – the type which would result in the very Return On Investment they are searching for.
In layman’s terms, what would fall under the term “assets” for a business owner, and how does Asset.Guru help us?
Assets are anything that your business thinks are valuable. Trucks, trailers, machinery, cows, chairs, tables, fryers and cookers – assets are often quite diverse. But what you see – and even the things you don’t see – matters (and matters to us)!
Asset.Guru distils the essence of big expensive solutions from IBM, SAP, NetSuite and Microsoft and helps companies easily understand what they own, where it is and what it is worth.
What is the biggest misconception when businesses think of their “assets”?
The biggest misconception is that it’s “just a finance thing” and “that’s just what the accountant does”. Asset.Guru helps change the misconception that assets are just a number on a spreadsheet! Understanding with Asset.Guru helps you make better business decisions, bring a team together, stop the monthly scramble for details and helps a worldwide team act as one group.
Many would say, “follow your dream”. I would add: “Listen to your prospects and future clients”. True validation comes from winning customers, evolving and challenging the ideas you had at the beginning of the journey.
What has been the most technically challenging aspect of taking Asset.Guru to market?
The biggest strength of Asset.Guru is that it works. However, when we first started, I underestimated the passion that accountants, tax advisors and bookkeepers put into validating a product. Thankfully we passed with flying colours but was uncomfortable at first!
What is your primary focus in terms of how Asset.Guru can continue to serve its growing client base?
We are super passionate about next year’s Maintenance product release. The more users we are getting also means we have more business and operations users on the platform. Their needs are different and we want to ensure people can do their jobs fully. As we always say, “why use three systems when you can use one platform?”
How do you manage your own schedule? Do you have any daily rituals?
I manage the Asset.Guru team across three primary time zones: EST (New York), GMT (London) and AEST (Sydney) so managing my time has become even more important. However, I am big believer in client connections and so I try to be on as many customer calls as I can. This means lots of crazy calls and crazy hours, but it works – we even have a customer in Iceland now (loving it!). So for me, it’s a swim, exercise, a social lunch with team members and lots of calls to join the dots. Is it a ritual? No, but it involves keeping business relationships alive, and to be honest that means more impromptu 1:1 and less “let’s book something in”.
What would be your main piece of advice for aspiring CEOs and founders?
As many would say, “follow your dream”. But I would add the biggest thing I’ve learnt is: “listen to your prospects and future clients”.
I think for many in the start-up community, hanging out together makes them feel good as they share the journey, but true validation comes from winning customers, evolving and then challenging the ideas you had at the beginning of the journey.
Asset.Guru captures all your existing asset data, allowing you to interrogate in real time. Try it for free here.