InfoTrust: 6 Years STRONG and Still Growing

Dane here… This week I started to get a few messages from my LinkedIn friends congratulating me on my 6th year as leader and co-founder of InfoTrust. I glanced at the kind messages briefly and got back to my day – lots to do, people to see and definitely no time to pause on such frivolous milestones…

The messages kept coming in and a few sparked memories from over a decade ago, thinking back to my time as an Enterprise Sales rep… but on this occasion, I paused and reflected on how far we have come and what the past 6 years have meant to me – both in my personal life as well as business.

I’m often guilty of driving forward with high velocity and never taking a moment to pause. Moving onto the next task, initiative, project or problem to solve… after all, the list is infinite!

But in that moment of reflection, I decided to jot down some of the key moments and people that got us off and started…

About this time 6 years ago, observing changes in market and long having a desire to start a business I decided now was the time. Back in 2014 businesses were demanding more “as a service”, more interest in driving business outcomes as opposed to acquiring Infrastructure or tech… So to create a security focused “as a service” business was the big idea. There were many transactional players, but few driving the customer outcomes.

I approached Simon with the idea… he said yes!

Simon was everything I wasn’t – calm, cool and collected. For every idea I had, he had a rational reason why 90% of them shouldn’t go any further! I didn’t quite realise the importance of it at the time, but Simon was the ying to my yang!

So anyway, after wisely consulting his better-half, Simon said yes and the journey began.

Simon and I were leaving Symantec via a redundancy from their former (aka MessageLabs) business unit. They say timing is everything in business, so after 7 great years at Symantec, a redundancy and prime market we had to take the leap of faith…

So in the weeks prior to our redundancy, Simon and I set about creating our purpose and vision… We had come from a vendor mindset where we had seen both the how to successfully run an “as a service” business, but then also what not to do… so we knew InfoTrust had to be adding value in every engagement – to our customers and partners.

We started to write a long list of the different ways we could add value to our customers and partners. This was broken down into various stages in the customer engagement and over the months and years ahead this simple list became “TheInfoTrust Way” – our proven process of how we engage our customers, always delivering value.

We presented version 1 of this to our Managing Director at Symantec – Brenton Smith. Brenton was hugely supportive and we’ll always remember and thank Brenton for not only the support in InfoTrust, but also for giving us redundancy in the first place 🙂

We presented it to a friendly customer, Head of IT from Mirvac, Ramesh Naradarajan. Again, the insights and encouragement was exactly what we needed to validate our idea and push us forward.

After that we received advice, guidance and encouragement from our friends, family, mentors and colleagues… Keith, Chris, Emily, Kat. There were also plenty of naysayers too, which didn’t faze Simon or I, but actually quite the opposite. If starting a business was easy, everyone would do it!

Day 1 was surreal – we decided we wanted to work from a proper office from the get go, but to say it was tight was an understatement. Simon and I was in what felt like a 2m x 2m box Regus office sitting at opposite ends of the same desk. The first month or so was doing the groundwork, so it was okay… Setting up the legal entity, writing copy for website, powerpoint and proposal templates, etc. Quickly, my webpage development skills that I had learned in college came to good use.

Setting up Office 365 from scratch… Setting up Xero, Setting up Salesforce, Dropbox, MailChimp… these were not skills either of us had previously had but we had to learn them, fast.

The only thing we didn’t do ourselves was legal and accounting – from the outset we knew we couldn’t cut any corners here so made the investment and it was money well spent.

I won’t bore you with the whole 6 years, but the first year was lonely – just Simon and I – plus the amazing support of the above mentioned people and our amazing customers and partners.

Within 12 weeks of starting the business, both Simon and I were expecting our first kids – talk about timing!

Within a year we’d been lucky enough to acquire over 100 customers and hired 3 awesome people, including Ffrances Lawes, whose initial remit was to clear a back log of 3 months uninvoiced customers! She has now become an established and integral member of the team, but the story about how she came to work at InfoTrust is crazy.

As mentioned, in dire need of getting invoices out, one Friday morning I had a brain-wave to hire a temp… the message went out on Facebook and a recruiter called me. An hour later Ffrances turns up for an interview. Given the simplicity of the initial task at hand, the interview process was all of about 15 minutes long! To this day, Ffrances has been the cornerstone of our culture and everything that we do… we love ya Ffrances!

Now we’re blessed to have 33 staff who are A-GRADE – excellent at what they do and also a great bunch of people to be around. These crazy times make us realise how much we miss what we had before and how good we had it.

In a few weeks we’ll be announcing 1 of 2 new strategic hires to take our business to the next level… watch this space.

We’ve been very lucky over the years, we’ve been supported by some amazing advisors, mentors, partners and of course the customers – without whom there would be no business.

What a journey it’s been and we’re only just getting started!

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