28 April 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
My name is Michael Field, I grew up in Livingston, West Lothian is a fairly unremarkable council street, and I established Workflo Solutions back 2007. In my mid 20’s, having worked in Sky Television’s telesales department since leaving school, I left to take up a role as a Digital Sales Executive at a local photocopier supply & service provider.
Founded in 2007, and despite having no external funding; today: Workflo Solutions has grown organically with our headquarters in Livingston outside Edinburgh, offices in Glasgow, and Aberdeen and our new sales and technical facility based in Accrington, East Lancashire. We employ around 35 people and provide an array of services to around 1000 customers across the UK, Indeed, we have become one of the UK’s leading managed service providers, specialising in Managed Print Services, Digital Workflow Solutions, Electronic Document Management Software, Cloud Computing, IT Infrastructure Support, and hosted telecoms.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
Jaded by disillusionment, with both my employer and the wider market, I made a decision to back my belief that the sector should be service, rather than sales, led.
Given my personal experiences in the lead up to starting the company, the vision I had was a simple one; strip away the fuzz of sales and deliver a service-first approach in everything the business does.
The transition from employee to employer was brief, after making the decision in my head, it took only three weeks to incorporate the company, find premises, to buy laptops (on my credit card), and to have left the security of a regular pay check. I was fortunate very early and my vision was welcomed by the market. At just 26 years old at the time, I was perhaps a little naive and thought I knew it all, it was a whirlwind process, everything happened on impulse, and the learning curve was a steep one. But would I change the decision? Absolutely not!
How did you achieve awareness?
It was a case of foot slogging, many phone calls, and word of mouth! I also knew of many product equipment suppliers and had kept in touch with them. Whilst I had reservations with the markets route to market, and its reliance on high sales numbers; my relationship with clients had always been based on supplying them with a first-class service. This resulted in my seeing a great deal of support and loyalty from them, many making the move to Workflo very early on.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
The business is entirely self-funded. From these early days of renting premises and buying laptops on a credit card, I’m delighted to say the company is in rude health.
There is no external funding despite three business acquisitions in the last two years and we are on target, despite COVID-19, to reaching a £5 million turnover in 2022.
What are the key successes?
Self-belief and a can-do attitude are as just as important as surrounding yourself with a core team. A team which reflects your own mind-set. Our regional sales and account management team, field engineers, marketing support and core administrative staff all buy into the company philosophy of exceeding client expectation. Our staff make the business the success it has become. Indeed, the success we’ve seen in abundance in recent years, would not be possible without them.
Before lockdown, office life was fun, enjoyable, never a chore, and from the minute I walked in, to the minute I left each evening, filled with a sense of purpose, and a determination to repay their hard work by matching their never faltering drive to provide a client service, second to none. When we’re all back in the office together, I know there will be an unwavering commitment to continue down that path.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Clearly, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge right across the country. No business sector has been left unaffected. However, we have seen a significant spike in driven digital transformation at great pace. Almost overnight a Work From Home model was forced upon businesses throughout the UK. The infrastructure of managed service providers was tested, and we managed to successfully deliver our services in a time of client need. I believe that more flexible working practices will appear. Going forward, with office-based working yet again becoming “normal”, although it will not be unusual to see a hybrid model where employees spend a percentage of their working week at home. Technology will continue to accelerate, driven by the learnings of COVID-19, with clients expecting a holistic service offering. Allowing flexible, secure, and nimble working practices.
What are your plans now/for the future?
My plan is to further elevate the business to being the best outsourced business services provider in the UK. We have grown organically and will continue to do so. More acquisitions are in the pipeline and in time, we will have strategically located regional hubs across the United Kingdom.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Well, I’ve never been one to sit still and remain within my comfort zone and I think that’s crucial for anyone’s entrepreneurial journey. I wake up each morning with the same ambition and desire to improve as I did the day before. I think it’s infectious, whether I get it from my team, or they get it from me, our goal every day is to become better than we were yesterday. Never shirk any challenge, weigh up risks carefully, and trust your gut.
Can you share you top tips for entrepreneurial success?
I’m a great believer in the Five ‘P’s’ mantra – persistence, patience, purpose, people and profit.
Without profit, a business can’t invest in its future success.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
Elon Musk – A mind which works in a way others don’t. From electric cars, to underground travel, to Space-X, I marvel at his ingenuity and innovation time and time again. Not a “sayeer” but a “do-er”. Love it. @elonmusk
Bill Gates – Operating in the technology space, much of what we do is driven by technologies given to us by Microsoft. Without Bill, there would be no Microsoft, and without it; we wouldn’t find ourselves in the business world we live today. @BillGates
Steve Jobs – Although I’m not “an apple guy”, I am a guy who loves to see people succeed, and particularly those who have been doubted by so many. Unwilling to accept the status quo, Steve continued to innovate; this innovation took Apple to the greatest heights of success. @stevejobsceo
Declan Harrigan – Not a name you’ll know. Declan is the CEO of a charity in West Lothian called S.M.I.L.E. – SMILE help local young people and youths who are suffering difficulties with mental health. The local healthcare system struggle to deal with the volume of referrals, and without Declan, the picture would be far bleaker.. @smilewestlothi1
Every entrepreneur who has ever had the initiative and self-belief to take a product or service to market. Whether the business has grown into the many £ millions, or remained a small family run operation; I hold a great deal of respect them. Well done to all!
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“let’s go get them” – This was one of the very first, if not the first, comment I made to the very small team who had the faith to join me at start up. It’s stuck with me to this day. What else is there to say?!
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?
Twitter – @Workflo_sol
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/workflosolutions
Instagram – @worklfo_solutions