1.What inspired you both to build an IT Services business (or how did it come about?)
DAVID: I was an IT manager at a private equity firm that went into administration. The result was that the group of assets which was part of that firm separated and required independent IT support, and I was made redundant at the same time. So I continued managing those assets but as independent clients. As time progressed, more companies that worked with these businesses had similar IT requirements that I took on, and Reflective IT was born out of there. So really I fell into it. A year later a childhood friend of mine that was a software developer offered to run the business with me and we were officially incorporated in 2003! Fun fact, our first website had our brand associated with a basket of apples!! Deborah arrived on the scene when my business partner emigrated to Australia, she took over finance and we’ve been flying ever since!
DEBORAH: I was a singer by profession when we were first married, so David’s 9-5 and my evenings and weekend work made our work lives feel very separate. I didn’t have a lot of patience for his work issues. But after having our first baby, I took some time out of my usual work and this coincided with David’s business partner emigrating. It seemed like an amazing opportunity for a new chapter; I was shown the ropes for all the finance, admin and got some training in accounts. My understanding of what David’s life was all about, the people, the decisions, stresses, was something I could now understand, have patience for, and shoulder with him. I feel proud of him for building Reflective IT, and it’s a real privilege to partner with him in it.
2.What have been the biggest challenges and successes you have had while working together at Reflective?
DAVID: The biggest challenge in the business is always growing customers, or taking on customers over 50 seats. This always requires an increase in resource from our side, and people are always the hardest factor in growth to get right. At the same time, it’s a real success story, growing customers are a sign of how well we have done our job, allowed our clients to focus on what they do best, and we have been trusted to do what we do best. Working together has been a real challenge, but we have discovered how to find our strengths and weaknesses and play to our strengths (its taken a long time!) and to put a time restriction on our business conversations when we are not at work. I’m constantly amazed at Deborah’s capabilities in almost every business area that she puts her hand to!
DEBORAH: I’ve had to learn to provide an executive summary and key information rather than outward process and explain every detail to David. We were best friends for 7 years before we got married so trying to sit and have a business conversation is a skill we’ve had to learn. We’ve worked a lot on our communication, and I actually enjoy our finance meetings now, I used to dread them! Our biggest challenge in that sense has probably become the biggest success, that we’ve worked out how to be a team, and play to our strengths.