Small businesses in Australia continue to push the boundaries of our ‘glocal’ economy. The ShortPress Small Talk series profiles a diverse range of small businesses to find out what they do and what makes them tick.
Appscore, Australia’s largest mobile app developer, has grown to include more than 200 staff and recently formed a strong working relationship with Telstra. ShortPress sat down with the company’s co-founder and managing director, Alex Louey.
ShortPress: Describe your small business in less than 50 words.
Appscore: Appscore is a full-service, mobile-first digital agency. Our aim is to use digital technology to help our customers transform the way they do business.
What inspires you as a business owner?
A: Working with a client or one our partners to deliver a mobile app that then changes the way they operate is astonishingly satisfying.
What does a typical day for you look like?
A: Each day is different, although I always start with a morning meditation. We have a strong team culture, so I have a commitment to daily leadership meets where we keep things brief and on point. Outside of this, you will often find me spending time with clients. It’s important to keep in touch – to be at the coalface and get your hands dirty. I find out more by spending a few hours out at a client site than through all our reporting tools combined.
What have your biggest challenges been so far and how have you overcome them?
A: The first few years of business were the hardest. Appscore was bootstrapped and self funded and that’s the way we liked it. I didn’t take a salary for the first few years so I could reinvest the profits to help us grow faster. It forced me work hard, be creative and innovate our way out of challenges rather than buy our way out of problems.
What about your biggest learnings?
A: Never be complacent and too comfortable. When Appscore started to kick goals, we got a bigger office, fancier toys and I took the fancy corner office with a view for myself. What a mistake! I lost touch with my team and the business suffered. Within a week of getting back out on the floor, things turned around. Now I sit right next to everyone else. Titles don’t matter. What does is how we work together and how we work with our clients.
If you could start over again, would you do anything differently?
A: I was quite conservative when I first started Appscore, which I think slowed our growth. To be a market leader you need to be creative, you need to innovate and you need to take calculated risks. In recent years we’ve followed that path and although it can be testing at times, it’s worked for us.
What advice would you give to budding small business owners?
A: Backup plans are overrated. If you don’t have a backup plan, you have no options but to make what you’re doing a success.
It’s also really important to create value. No matter what your business is, you should be always be able to create value and change the way your customers do business. If you can’t articulate the value of what your business provides, you’ll need to rethink what you’re doing.
Who are the business leaders you look up to and why?
A: There’s no one person, but right now I do like our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. He understands technology and innovation, and hopefully will set Australia up for the future.
Where to now for Appscore?
I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and we have an exciting journey ahead. I’m forecasting triple digit growth as the hard work we’ve put in over the past 18 months with major channel partners such as Telstra come to fruition. The advance of mobile app technology is allowing brands to enhance their marketing with experiences that connect customers with their environment. We’re close to launching some very exciting mobile applications in this space thanks to twelve months of developing relationships with some fantastic global players.
We’re also stepping up our push into Asia, with new office openings.