A SOFTWARE company is tearing it up in business and aiming for global growth after doubling turnover.
Ben Scholes, CEO of Anglesey and Newcastle-based Papertrail, has his sights on international expansion after forging new relationships on every continent.
And the 34 year-old puts a lot of their success down to the ION Leadership programme, which helped him to prioritise his workload and effectively manage team members while refocusing the firm’s international strategy.
Speaking at the ION and 20Twenty Business Growth celebration event at Bangor University – where he received accreditation for completing the ILM Level 5 qualification – Ben told delegates how the flourishing online safety inspection and compliance management business reached new heights.
“The software industry is incredibly scalable and we were growing and growing, but at one point last year I was a little worried about our direction how we were going to make that next step,” he said.
“Before I started the ION programme I was constantly asking myself if we were doing a good enough job, whether the ‘growing pains’ we experienced were normal.
“My business partner Rob Walker and I both took part in the programme and shared the same concerns, but we quickly found we were not alone, that all businesses face the same challenges – that was reassuring.”
Ben is confident they can grow to become a multi-million-pound operation and have the right team in place to deliver on that vision.
“One of the biggest issues was recruiting the right people but I also felt our employees were not ‘getting it’ or totally understanding where we were heading,” he said.
“The reality was very different; I started to realise that not everyone thought like me and that while I could see this path all the way through, I needed to communicate it better.
“It was also about allowing myself to fail, to reflect on those failures and learn from them so we could make some big moves and grow.
“That was tough but the right thing to do, and ION really helped me with that.”
Papertrail was created out of the need to find a simpler and easier way to keep accurate records and demonstrate compliance. It was designed for managing PPE and Health and Safety inspections globally, with partners including activity and climbing equipment manufacturers DMM Wales, Singing Rock and global rope manufacturers, Teufelberger.
Now employing 12 staff, the firm has its sights on overseas development, with the United States their most likely next destination.
“We have subscriptions in up to 50 countries and are on every continent, which is just crazy,” said Ben, who moved to North Wales from Yorkshire aged 17 to work as an activity instructor.
“The emphasis now is on further growth and funding to help us get to the next stratosphere, we’re thinking big and can see the way forward.”
He added: “These are the new objectives, this is the direction we are now going in. The older you get and the bigger the business gets the more difficult it gets and the bigger the challenge.
“Using a simple model learnt on the course has made life easier; Papertrail now has the frameworks, the people and the right structure and I feel I’m better placed to take the business forward over the next 12 to 24 months.
“ION has given me the confidence to make massive strategic steps I probably wouldn’t have done before. I probably would have tickled my way through it. Not anymore, we can really move forward now.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity for North Wales businesses and one I will be recommending to my clients.
For more on the ION Leadership programme – which is up to 70% funded by the European Social Fund via Welsh government – visit the website: www.ionleadership.co.uk
Visit www.papertrail.io to find out more about Papertrail.