Getting to know you: Ben Dyer

What do you currently do?
I am the CEO and co-founder of a tech startup called Powered Now. We have a mobile app for tradesmen and field-based trades companies (such as construction, plumbing, electrics, etc), that allows them to manage their business admin on the go. Our users can raise quotes, invoices, accept card payments and manage their schedules and appointments all from their iPad or iPhone.

What is your inspiration in the business?
It’s amazing, but this industry is one of the last to benefit from the computer revolution. Even large established companies make do with terrible software and scraps of paper. Ultimately this gives them a disadvantage and often their customers pay the price. Our goal is to make our users more successful and hopefully make their lives a little easier too.

Who do you admire?
My business partner Chris Barling. He founded one of the longest established ecommerce software companies in the mid-90s and helped to revolutionise an industry in the process. He is a real trailblazer and it’s amazing to think that when he started, people (including large venture capitalists) told him the internet wouldn’t be as big as he predicted, and certainly not for retail! How wrong they were.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
In August 2014 we raised an angel round on the fantastic Crowdcube equity crowdfunding platform. It was an amazing experience and we’ve brought some brilliant shareholders onboard. However, looking back I would have done this much sooner. We spent a long time raising money before using Crowdcube and it was a huge distraction to running the business.

What defines your way of doing business?
We have three core principles that guide us:

1. The first is an insane focus on the customer. We are introducing a new product into a traditional industry, so it’s essential to listen and learn.

2. The second is around constant innovation. We are always challenging ourselves to push the company and the products we offer. We can always do better, it’s a brutal honesty that helps to drive us forward.

3. The third is to have fun. We are building a business full of brilliant people. It sounds a little cliched but enjoying your work and the people you are with is an essential philosophy of our company.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Buy a copy of Eric Ries’ book, ‘The Lean Startup’ and Tony Hsieh’s ‘Delivering Happiness’. Read them both from cover to cover. Very different books, but the principles are sound, regardless of the company you are looking to build.

Also always hire people who are smarter than you, which in my case isn’t that difficult… 😉