Passing on my industry knowledge
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your venture?
My name is John Kamuchau. I am a software developer and an entrepreneur. Over the course of my career, I have worked in most facets of software development, ranging from product development, business analysis, project management to coding and many others. I have more than a decade of experience in this industry and love it. I have been actively involved in the Adelaide startup, tech and business community for over a decade now. I am passionate about working with businesses and entrepreneurs and I want to play a part in helping more companies emerge in this city. I have devoted my career to using digital technology to help new entrepreneurs and organisations.
I run a web and mobile development venture called “Multiplier Technologies“. My venture works with start ups to help them turn their concepts into great products and build sustainable businesses. We also work with large companies to solve their day to day challenges such as streamlining operations, increasing revenue and growing using web and mobile technology. Before I started this venture I had been head-hunted by companies like Amazon and Facebook, and so I went to San Francisco for 6 weeks but I decided that I wanted to start my own business and leave a positive footprint in the Adelaide startup ecosystem. That’s why I returned back here.
“A consulting business is based on selling quality that you already possess, so you don’t have to create a product. You are the product. Your experience, knowledge and ideas will provide the solution to customers.”
What differentiates Multiplier Technology from other IT businesses out there?
We are not just a company that develops an end product like a website or software and then handing it over to our customers. We are a consultancy business. We work side by side with our clients to help them reach their business objectives quicker. We have clients in Adelaide and across the country.
Feeling Gangster at SouthStart conference with Chhai Thach, Chris Hooper and Robert Parton
We sit down with our customers and help them identify their challenges, the source of their problems, and any inefficient elements in their operation. Then we design a custom software to help solve this problem in order to help them become more productive and profitable. We give our clients feedback on their concept, advice on how to test their products, proper market launch strategy, how to develop a minimum viable product and what features should be included. We focus on the important features that help make their business work and grow.
“It was very challenging to maintain a positive mindset believing that “I have what it takes to start a successful company”. All new entrepreneurs go through the same phase where doubt and fear arise all the time. A good entrepreneur will overcome this mentality and keep moving forward.”
My vision for the future is to turn Multiplier Technology into an industry leader in terms of providing the best practice to our clients on how to solve their problems. We also aspire to write educational content on the best way of optimising business operations with technology.
Why did you turn down such great job offer from Amazon?
Back in that day there was a great demand for software developers from huge tech companies like Facebook and Amazon. For people who had great IT skills it was easy to get a job paying around 200-250k per year from these companies. Since I got a lot of experience and knowledge working in this field, I ended up getting a great job offer from Amazon. It was a very tough decision but I ended up turning down the job offer. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a great opportunity in front of you to achieving something bigger. To be honest, a lot of people can’t do it. At the end of the day, not everyone is cut out to start and run their own business and that is ok.
I had nothing against the job, but there is a time for everything. There will be time for one to work for somebody else and learn and there will be time for one to go out there and do their own thing. I had already worked for 7 years as a software developer and learnt a great deal of things I wanted to learn regarding production process and turning requirements into a product. Today’s on-demand jobs can crumble tomorrow and I wanted to take my destiny in my own hands, therefore I started my own business.
Glen Managing Director of Best Solutions International present team FitUsIn with Best Solution International and People’s Choice awards at Adelaide University ZEN Entrepreneurs Challenge 2012 Final.
Besides the fact that I wanted to run my own business, me and my wife lived in America for 6 weeks, to see whether the lifestyle was right for us and our kids. We wanted to start a family soon and we wanted to raise our children in Adelaide so this also played a big role in me rejecting the job.
“Today’s on-demand jobs can crumble tomorrow and I wanted to take my destiny in my own hands, therefore I started my own business.”
How was your transition from working 9-5 to running your own business?
The transition from working 9-5 to running a business for yourself full time is a very delicate process. A strategy I used to help ease into this routine was a gradual transition. I went from full time at my regular job, then 4 days and then 2 days a week before finally working full-time on the business.
I was working on the consultancy company and so I started to build my reputation, knowledge and experienced base slowly. Around 1-2 years before working full-time on the business, I started to network more, being helpful to people, providing solutions for their problems. Due to insufficient time I didn’t get to form a big network. So I decided to decrease my time at work to 2 days a week and spent the rest on the business. In my first business, I spent all my time working on it but it failed, with my second attempt I decided to ease into this transition.
Why did your business fail the first time?
My first business was doomed because there was no strategy, no clients, no goals and I had no idea what I was doing. The most important aspects of starting a new business is having a set of goals and a rough plan on how to achieve these goals by a certain time frame.
“People need to be updated and educated on the fact that entrepreneurial activity is live in this city. If we just sit here and talk about it nothing is going to happen. Adelaide needs decisive people who want to make things happen, who actually go out there, help, improve and grow this ecosystem.”
What steps did you take after you failed in your first business?
I went back to work and swallowed my pride. This time I decided to spend more time and efforts on building my network, as well as industry knowledge. I read a lot of books, newspapers, did a lot of internet search on industry trends, talked to industry people while doing a bit of freelance work. This allowed me to build my knowledge and skill set and grow my network. So when I started my business, I wasn’t a stranger, people knew who I am. You need to gain sufficient industry knowledge and build a valuable network before deciding to quit your job and work on a business full time.
If you get to go back in time what would you have done differently with your business?
Looking back, there were a lot of things that needed to be better than they were. My business and myself should have differentiated ourselves more, giving a more compelling pitch of the value we have to offer. I would certainly focus even more on the problems I was solving. Over the years I learnt that people are only going to pay you to solve a real problem that they face. Instead of wasting time trying to sell to people who are unable to make a decision or don’t even recognise the very problem that they have and how great your solution is, one should focus on those who can and are ready to take action.
“I stayed in Adelaide because I wanted to contribute to help this city grow its own start-up ecosystem. I wanted to give back to the business community, help it grow, help more companies emerge in this city.”
Beside working on your own business what else do you do?
I am a mentor for various start up initiatives in South Australia, as well as being a tutor at the university. I have walked the rough path, made my share of mistakes and learnt a lot of lessons along the way. I hope to pass on what I know to help others avoid making common mistakes when starting a business. To me being able to mentor and help others is a very fulfilling experience. As a tutor, I take a great satisfaction when I see my students do well in the course.
Kick off Startup Weekend with Andre Eikmeier, James Stewart, Robert Parton and Ciaran Keating
How would you compare America’s start up ecosystem with Adelaide’s?
Whenever I went to a place like San Francisco or New York I could feel this electric vibe. There is so much going on and everyone is working on cool projects. Things are happening and opportunities are everywhere. In a coffee shop over there you can see 5-6 guys turning up and discussing business ideas. The mindset over there is very different than the mindset in Adelaide. We have come a long way here but we still got a lot more to go. I didn’t want to be someone who is trying to make a mark with the established ecosystem over there. I stayed in Adelaide because I wanted to contribute to Adelaide growing its own start up ecosystem. I wanted to give back to the business community, help it develop, and in due course, help more companies emerge out of this city.
“Over the years I learnt that people are only going to pay you to solve a real problem they face. Instead of wasting time trying to sell to people who are unable to make a decision or don’t even recognise the very problem they have and how great your solution is, one should focus on those who can and are ready to take action.”
How can we make the Adelaide start up ecosystem progress even further?
The biggest step I believe we should be taking here is letting people know that great things happen in the city. You’ll be surprised that there are a lot of people who don’t know what Adelaide entrepreneurs are doing. I had a client that said “Oh wow, you guys are here? I thought I had to go to Melbourne for this kind of stuff”. People need to be updated and educated on the fact that entrepreneurial activities are live in this city. If we just sit here and talk about it then nothing is going to happen. Adelaide needs decisive people who want to make things happen, who actually go out there, help, improve and grow this ecosystem.
I believe that the government needs to support us not just monetarily but also through the acknowledgement that great entrepreneurs are accomplishing great achievements. Adelaide needs to see a lot more cooperation between start ups and bigger companies and the Government. With the current inherent culture there is not much we can do about this, it needs more time to grow and more determined people need to be taking action.
The Startup Show comes to Adelaide
What were some of the biggest challenges your venture faced when you started it?
When I started Multiplier Technologies, I didn’t know what I was doing and that was one of the major problems. There were several other challenges that we faced. It was very hard to maintain a positive mindset believing that I have what it takes to start a successful company. All new entrepreneurs go through the same phase where doubt and fear arise all the time. A good entrepreneur will overcome this mentality and will keep moving forward.
Another big challenge that we faced in the past and which still plays a very crucial role in our venture until today is making a sale. It was difficult to get the first few customers. Through the network I had created I got my first customer. I spent time identifying what that guy needed and my instinct told me to set a connection with him in order to help solve his problem. Networking is still the best method for us to get sales these days.
“Sometimes you have to sacrifice a great opportunity in front of you to achieve something bigger. To be honest a lot of people can’t do it. At the end of the day, not everyone is cut out to start and run their own business and that is ok.”
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs who want to start their own consultancy business?
Consulting services business seems to be quite promising in Adelaide. I always recommend people to start a consultancy first. Consultancy business is based on selling a product that you already possess, and so you don’t have to create a product. You are the product. Your experience, knowledge and ideas will provide the solution to customers. Through working with customers to understand their problems and identifying the best solution it helps you to gain a lot of business knowledge and creative value enhancing ideas. Over the years you will work with a lot of similar problems, which will help you come up with a great common approach to solve these problems.
To find out more about John’s great work, check out his website at http://www.multiplier.tech/
What improvement would you like to see in Adelaide startup ecossytem?