Software Executive Magazine

August/September 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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nesses and applied them to this software company: em- power employees, focus on customer fit, enable a nim- ble development process, and keep the product simple. One of Meyer's many favor- ite military quotes is from General George Patton, "Don't tell people how to do things; tell them what you want done and let them sur- prise you with their results and how they did it." When a CentralBOS sales rep shared his excitement about a new market strategy, Meyer pushed him to run some tests and outline customer acquisition costs. Now Central- BOS is doing a trade show in that space. When the sales and service teams were continually fielding questions beyond the technical components of the accounting and payroll modules, CentralBOS created a new revenue stream by providing outsourced HR/payroll services for existing clients. Meyer is happy to give all the credit to the CentralBOS team for these revenue generators. "I'm not a heavy handed leader. When I hire people, I expect them to push everyone on the team. I don't make com- mand decisions and tell everybody to execute." Early on at CentralBOS, the sales team realized they were executing on the wrong type of customer. At first, sales targeted smaller businesses, mainly those with less than 10 employees. Meyer quickly realized that size cus- tomer wasn't ready for what the CentralBOS platform provides, partly because companies that small don't have the right technical and financial skillset. His sales team also knew they were putting as much effort into the small companies as they were in selling to midsize companies, so it was easy to identify the opportunity to move up- stream and land lucrative customers. Fortunately, this meant CentralBOS could adjust its sales and marketing strategy without having to retool the software itself. Since the company was already running a lean opera- tion, this sales pivot didn't set it back drastically. Meyer believes in making a company's sales process work first before ramping up for rapid growth. "It's easy to spend customer. How is that a bad deal?" It wasn't a bad deal, so his wife told him to go state that exact story to one current investor. When Meyer asked the investor why he wasn't on board with that business model, the response was, "You've never explained it in that simple way before." That investor, as well as the rest of the board, scraped together enough funding to keep the company afloat. Meyer hit the fundraising trail again, borrowed money to boost his per- sonal investment, and four years later, the company sold for $121 million. The lesson here? Keep it simple, just like the natural in- gredients in Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products. "If you can simplify what it is you're getting done, and explain how it makes money, then it's just a math equation to make an investor happy," says Meyer. His love for simplicity stems from the one sentence mission statements he heard so often throughout his 14 years of military service. He ex- plains how everyone in a unit, from the general to the per- son driving the tank, understands the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the mission statement. The same is true in Meyer's business world, where everyone from the CEO to the developers to the customers knows exact- ly what the "why" is behind the product. FROM TELECOM TO FINTECH TO…ERP SOFTWARE? The "why" behind CentralBOS stemmed from Mey- er's never-ending drive for simplicity. His frustration with the time drain required to perform basic business workflow functions such as CRM, accounting/finance, inventory management, and HR/payroll at his previous companies inspired him to create CentralBOS (pro- nounced "central boss," the B-O-S standing for Business Operating Suite). He knew disparate data sources were a problem for most businesses, and he wasn't willing to settle for end of month reports taking 60 days to gen- erate. Today the CentralBOS platform provides both an all-in-one ERP solution with modules for accounting/ finance, inventory management, CRM/order manage- ment, and HR/payroll. CentralBOS is closing in on 60 employees and just moved to a larger office. Meyer has taken four lessons he's learned from his previous busi- Lesson 1 Lesson 2 This just doesn't make sense to me. I can acquire a customer for $60. I generate $22-$24 per month from that customer with 85% gross margin. So I get my money back in 3 to 4 months, then that customer stays with me for at least 24 months. I'm quadrupling my money on my customer. How is that a bad deal? J O E M E Y E R F o u n d e r & C E O , C e n t r a l B O S SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 28 EXCLUSIVE FEATURE Executive By A. Sorensen LESSONS FROM A SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR TURNED SOFTWARE EXECUTIVE

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