From a small operation that began eight years ago, IT reseller Acquire has grown into a multi-million dollar e-commerce business with more than 20,000 registered customers. The Channel spoke to its Director, Simon Scott, about what makes the business tick and what he thinks are the hot products to watch.
How did it all begin?
It began with a sad situation: Kelly Raines and I were both unhappy with our then-employer. However, we were also excited about the potential of our ideas, and we decided to start our own enterprise. Sometimes, feeling undervalued can become a great catalyst for self-motivation and that’s the essence of how we got started.
What changes has the business undergone?
Our very simple business plan has held true for the eight years of our business’s existence. What has changed is the number-eight-wire process that kicked us off. Rather than create processes to fulfil a need, we now attempt to design functionality to maximise appeal to our customers and enhance internal effi ciency. A web presence cannot be static and survive, because the internet demands change and innovation. Our new web presence, currently undergoing testing, is just our latest attempt at technological self-improvement.
What is your core business?
Our core business is the supply of IT-related products to anyone who wants to acquire them. We see ourselves as procurement agents for the people who purchase through us and we see ourselves as sales agents for the suppliers who distribute the products. We try to act as a transactional conditioner-cum-procurement vehicle that provides a consistently satisfying experience for our customers and also acts as a consistent achiever for our suppliers.
What are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
Our clients cover every sector of the IT-purchasing consumer, from retail to corporate to government to education. Our business customers face the same recessive dilemma as we do: one of lowered demand and increased caution. The operational challenges our business customers face in an IT sense also match our own: the need to maintain currency and the need to avoid technology legacy issues that restrict continuity and slow business development opportunity.
Is your physical location a challenge to doing business?
Our physical location suits me the least because I am farthest from the office. Other than my small issue, our location has ADSL speed issues that can become frustrating at times. We prefer that our customers don’t tag us to a physical place other than in New Zealand, as we try to appeal to a national customer base and our presence is on the internet.
What technology is hot right now?
Windows 7 is hot. We have used Windows Vista since it launched, based on a belief that we should use what we sell. The ‘hotness’ of Windows 7 comes from how we think our customers will react. Incidentally, we do have Windows 7 running in our offi ce. From a more commercial perspective we can also see the rise in popularity of virtualisation products and storage hardware solutions.
A technology that we internally have always struggled to get right is our telecommunications. The needs of small enterprises are now as complex as those of a large enterprise and yet the functionalities that seem obvious still require large investment to achieve. The difference between promise and achievement is still a frustrating space. I see great room for growth and improved achievement there.
What’s the best thing about your location?
The best thing about our location is the proximity to quality lunchtime takeaway vendors and the fact that we can dress really casually because we work in a suburban location!
Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
Simply our attitude. We have had ups and downs, but externally we are consistently positive and enthusiastic. We believe strongly that we are here to offer a good service to our customers and we strive to improve. Consistency and predictability for our customers and our business partners will mean that our business will remain sustainable and prosper.