SplitAbility

Based on the south of Brisbane, SplitAbility provides point-of-sale software for restaurants and cafes, giving staff the ability to transmit orders from wireless portable electronic devices to the bar or kitchen. This allows them to easily and conveniently split the bill for customers.

It’s a far cry from orders being scribbled on a notepad and “order up” being shouted through by the chef - a point not lost on Director, Ross Orr. His company’s rise and expansion has coincided with the increasing prevalence of wireless working practices.

“I remember some of the trade shows we attended a couple of years ago when people were reluctant to trust cloud technology, for example, but that’s all changed now,” he observes.

“None of the systems we use now even existed when we started in 2011 so it’s hard to overstate the importance of staying across emerging technologies.”

With customers as far afield as Laos, Honduras and Afghanistan, the company’s markets are emerging just a quickly.

What is your greatest business learning?

Seek out and target your product at early adopters. It can be a challenge to find them but people who search out new technological solutions tend to be well informed and so will often seek you out. When they do, make sure you’ve got answers to their questions and add any relevant content on this to your website so other potential customers can see it.

What is your greatest business success?

Our ability to create a system that maintains records with no outages. Time is money so being able to offer a reliable product is vital.

What three things should someone consider before starting a business?

  • This may sound odd, but don’t overthink things. Technology changes and so your product may well change as you go along.
  • Listen to your clients and make sure you develop software that’s accessible to anyone.
  • Disregard the naysayers. If you think you've got a good idea then go for it. A unique product or feature will rank well in web searches so people can find you.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I’d have started when I was 19, not when I was 49, but unfortunately the technology didn’t exist! Fortunately a lot of the barriers that would have existed then, such as costs, have diminished in recent years.

What have you found to be the most effective way to promote your business?

Word of mouth. Online videos, pay per click and social media are all effective as well but existing clients are your best sales team.

How do you stay up to date with the latest business information?

I find if you’re immersed in your business anyway then it’s pretty automatic. If you’re putting stuff online or trying to solve problems using information you’re accessing online, you’ll invariably stay up to date in the process.

Where have you sought business advice?

Make use of YouTube and business entrepreneurs who post videos online. There’s no shortage of them.

What financial factors should be considered when wanting to grow a business?

Make sure you build your business so it can easily scale. Pick the right technology which will support the growth you want to achieve.

How do you manage risk?

Make sure you invest sensibly and minimise your costs where possible. There are plenty of resources out there that are either cheap or free. Social media is effectively free advertising and all the development tools we use are free.

What value do you place in business plans and why?

Not a great deal, because if you’re agile and alert to new opportunities then your plan will be changing constantly anyway. Your strategy is to have happy customers so just keep that in mind.

03 March 2017