Sam Hutchinson Chose to Excel at One Thing and It Worked

Sam Hutchinson Chose to Excel at One Thing and It Worked

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Vital stats

  • Company:  Everlytic
  • Player: Sam Hutchinson
  • Est: 2010
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 447 6147
  • Visit: www.everlytic.co.za

 

The power of focus

You can’t be everything to everyone, so find your competitive advantage in that one thing you do better than anyone else.

Sam Hutchinson ran his own business from the day he left varsity. Initially, he confesses, he would do anything legal for money, but it was a flawed business strategy. After a few years, he and his small team started to specialise in content management and they needed an email platform.

“We initially bought an off-the-shelf product and rebranded it,” he says.

“I call this period the ‘dark ages’ of the company. I spent nearly two years dealing with the US-based support centre after hours, trying to address the frustration and demands of our customers. That’s what eventually prompted us to develop our own solution.”

In June 2010, Everlytic was launched. The product reflected the business’s evolution from basic list management to provider of a unified platform for sharing content via email, mobile and social media, and with analytics that enable customers to see their campaign’s return on investment.

Sam-Hutchinson_Growing-a-business

Building the best technology

Hutchison says he’s learnt two important lessons. First, focus on one thing. “When we did all things for all people, we were making lots of money, but we were average at everything we did, and great at nothing.

 

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“That’s not sustainable for a medium-sized technology business, especially in today’s environment. Now we have one amazing product and our investment in its development is paying off.”

He says the technology is able to compete with the best global equivalents, but has the benefit of being developed and supported locally, which is a big plus for customers.

“Many of our competitors sell products that are developed and supported overseas, which makes it difficult for changes to be implemented quickly. Being locally relevant has been a key differentiator for us.” 

Employing the best people

Second, surround yourself with people who are better than you. “We live in a country where there are many highly-skilled people who battle to find employment. When I could not afford to pay my employees high salaries, I attracted this kind of talent into the business by offering equity. I also focused on building an environment in which people would enjoy what they do and be given the responsibility for their own success.”

Today, Hutchinson owns 35% of Everlytic. The company has an equity scheme in place for key staff members, with the balance owned by investors.

“Three years ago we were a R3 million business with five employees,” says Hutchinson. “Since then we have more than doubled our revenue every year and we now employ 60 people. It’s been a period of massive growth. Over the next year or two the focus will be on bedding down the business and continuing to develop our solutions.”

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.