Business Matters talks to Emma Mahy, chief executive of IoT Solutions Group, about who she admires in business and what defines her way of doing business.
I founded IoT Solutions Group in partnership with our CTO, Neal Forse, in 2018. As the CEO, I am responsible for ensuring that the whole organisation works in harmony. The commercial side of the business is my domain and I spend most of my time speaking to clients, both existing and potential, or out on the road travelling to meet them whenever possible. My role as CEO also means that I’m constantly looking at what we have in the pipeline, as well as finding new ways that we can connect with our target markets and showcase the value of our IoT solutions for both the public and private sector.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Prior to setting up IoTSG, I worked for Wireless Network Developments [WND], which is how and where I met Neal. Whilst with WND, I acted as project manager for the company’s rollout of the Sigfox Network across the UK. Through conversations with contacts in local government and housing associations, I recognised that there was a need for an IoT driven solution that could help address some of the key problems in a number of areas, including social care provision. Neal and I went to a Sigfox conference in Miami, where we were able to talk about our idea in more detail, and it was then that the penny dropped and we realised that there was a real gap in the market to make our vision worth pursuing.
Who do you admire?
I have a huge amount of admiration for Colin Campbell of Digi2al, who is a mentor to me and has helped me out on many occasions. He is a security specialist and has built his own successful business from scratch and his story is a source of inspiration to us. Whenever we’re unsure about how to approach something, our first thought is usually: “What would Colin do?”, and he is often on hand to provide his invaluable advice.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
As the CEO, I often think of the business as my baby. This can make letting go of things and trusting people to share in my vision and goals challenging. If I were to go back, I would focus on learning to delegate more in the early stages so that I could have maintained focus on strategy and growth. However, we are lucky to have a fantastic team and everyone works incredibly hard to help the business grow, and this has ultimately made the task of ‘letting go’ much easier.
What defines your way of doing business?
A core tenet of how we operate as a business is ‘tech for good’. We believe that the solutions that we provide have the potential to not only save service providers time and money but can also better the lives of those who rely on such services. In this sense, we are very focussed on what it is that our customers want, as well as focusing on what the end user needs. We take pride in the strong sense of partnership that we have with customers and our commitment to delivering positive outcomes.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
My advice would simply be not to be afraid in trying to achieve your goals. When Neal and I set out to create IoT Solutions Group, we were leaving our old jobs behind and embarking upon something entirely new and unknown. The attitude that we took into it was that if it didn’t work, what would be the worst that would happen? We would go back to doing what we were doing before, or would look to do something completely different. Until you try, you really don’t know what will happen, and now that our vision has been realised and the business has been such a success, we’re really glad that we had the belief that we could do it. The first and most significant barrier to achieving success is often allowing your worries to get the better of you – once you can overcome this, what comes next is much easier by comparison.