Secret Sauce

Secret Sauce
August 5, 2013 Daren Nelson

I’ve been very successful in the IT help desk and customer service business. In an industry where companies come and go, I am proud that we are one of the oldest software developers in the world (when you look at companies that have continually operated under the same ownership and management). These days I amlucky to work with a few startups and inevitability they ask what my secret sauce is.

Its a tough answer, as we all know there is not a business model that works 100% of the time. In fact, I would argue that because I was never formally educated in business I never knew any model to follow. I think my experience working for companies like Nordstrom and Intel early in life taught me that the customer comes before anything. My mother, though never wealthy, would always seek quality over cost. And then there was always an underlying knowing that I wanted to run my own business, be my own boss. At the end of the day I have no problems making the tough decisions and taking responsibility for them.

I also think embracing and understanding change is critical. Change is constant in any business. You have to understand however when your customers are demanding change. You also have to read your market and understand when you need to introduce change that people are not yet asking for. Some of the greatest features we have ever developed were ideas that we showed people they needed, not the other way around.

I had my financial people look back over the last few years to give me some ratios of how and where we spend our money. Using a 5 year average and remembering the last 5 years have been very, very difficult, it’s interesting how my spending backs up my core values.

We spend approximately three dollars on R&D for every dollar we spend on marketing. We spend two dollars on support for every dollar we spend on marketing and the same ratio holds true for sales to marketingdollars.

What this says to me is the more important investment is not in telling people how great our help desk products and support are but actually making sure our products and support are great. Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.

I am very happy with iSupport version 12.5. I think it embodies everything we stand for, quality, innovation, value and options. I hope you agree.

All my best,