We talk to Adam Woolf, Founder and Director of technology services business Lifeline IT, whose clients include Sweaty Betty, Aquascutum, SRLV accountants, Sinochem, Barnet Homes and LondonMetric Poperty.
What do you currently do at Lifeline IT?
Lifeline IT is a technology services company that specialises in offering tailored IT support to businesses across sectors include retail, property and accountancy. I founded the business 18 years ago with my lifelong friend and business partner Daniel and today we have grown Lifeline IT into a multi-million pound business with a staff of 30. Although I am surrounded by a highly competent technical team, I remain very hands-on within the business, regularly meeting with our clients to advise and work with them on their IT strategy and to assist with the onboarding of our new clients.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
A passion for technology inspired my entry into the IT world and the rapidly changing face of the industry keeps me interested and motivated. Above all, I get satisfaction from being in a position to deliver measurable business benefits to our clients by helping them to wisely use IT to drive efficiency and growth.
Who do you admire?
Satya Nadella has transformed Microsoft. Making change is challenging enough with small businesses, but to see how through a focussed approach and listening to customers, the Microsoft CEO has drastically changed this tech giant for the better very rapidly.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I have very few regrets looking back over the last eighteen years at Lifeline IT, that’s not to say we have always done everything right, but I would like to think we don’t make the same mistakes twice. With the benefit of hindsight, there are probably a couple of things I would have done quicker, purchasing our own premises was a daunting prospect at the time but facilitated really good growth. We have tended to adopt or investigate and train in new technologies quite early, this has had benefits and pitfalls.
What defines your way of doing business?
It’s all about people. We are effectively a customer service business that happens to do IT, we focus everything on keeping our clients happy and core to that is excellent face-to-face and on-site service. This builds trust and relationships are key to our exceptionally high client retention. Openness and listening is also core to building our team of engineers and support staff. Again, by including the whole team in our journey, explaining not only what we do but why, brings great strength and loyalty to the people I work with, without whom we could not have grown as successfully as we have.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Invest in people early on, they are the biggest expense but also the most important route to success. Stick to your guns – it’s your idea and your passion, be open to advice but don’t compromise on your fundamental ideas and where needed be as pragmatic as possible. Find a great accountant who will meet with you regularly and be honest with you.