With a strong belief in what he was doing, Antonio Pooe, the owner of Exactech Fraud Solutions, pursued his long-term vision for the business without allowing factors such as no funding compromise his dream.
“For the first eight months, we didn’t make a cent,” explains Antonio. His focus in the first two years was on educating the market, creating a need and filling it. He applied for financing through the banks, but was unsuccessful. Antonio knew he had to keep operating costs down in order to survive and plan at least 24 months ahead to keep the business afloat. “I knew that any money I got had to be used to grow the business. I couldn’t go out and buy a Ferrari.”
Antonio started as a one man show, and has hired people as the business has grown. He only has the full-time employees he needs and calls in consultants when necessary. He believes in hiring the right people for his team who share his values and passion.
“It is important for businesses to start small and grow,” says Antonio explaining that the prize money he won through the SAB Kick Start programme all went to buying machinery for his lab. The lab took around two years to build, as he bought bits and pieces as and when money flowed into the business. “Only spend money on what you need. It might be great to have a flashy office, but I’ll keep three chairs, and until I need that fourth chair, I’m not going to buy it.”