Interview – Running your own business in the IT Industry

This week’s interview is with Andy, 48 from Cornwall, who owns his own IT company NCI Technologies

For readers who have interest in jumping into the IT industry you should read about an online IT degree program.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about you?

A. My name is Andy, I’m currently 48 and a bit and still going strong with the exception of a few creaks here and there. I’ve been married now for 26 years and have 2 children and 2 grandchildren that we adore.

Q. How did you first get involved in your career and why?

A. I left the Royal Navy after 17 years service and tried various jobs that I could utilise my skills with. I found it hard to find anything that paid me enough in the area I lived, Cornwall, that would keep me focused for another career. My wife actually said to me “You like working on computers, why don’t you do a computer course and try that industry”. I paid for a private company to teach me to MCSE standard over a 6 week period but after week 1 they employed me to teach the course as I knew more than they did. (I never did get my course fee back).
After working with them for a year I left to work as Senior Network Engineer for a local computer company. 3 years after that I started my own computer company.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about your work?

A. I love my job, computers for me aren’t just a business, they are a lifestyle. I think if there is a challenging aspect of my work it is deciding which way to direct the business growth when given so many choices from the IT industry. Having grown the business from me in my back bedroom to 27 staff in 7 years I think I have done a good job of that particular challenge so far.

Q. Can you tell us about any interesting people you’ve met through your work?

A. To me any person is interesting. Some of the small business owners I work with both as customers and as a competitor or partner have done many things that raises their status to me as interesting. Famous people I’ve met include having lunch with Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft, on 2 occasions. Bill Gates, ex President Bill Clinton and Richard Branson are amongst those I have met who have inspired me.

Q. What do you do when you aren’t working?

A. I relax by going to interesting places and taking photographs. Travel in my job is extensive so I get plenty of opportunity to take photographs in my spare time. I also love spending time with my children and grandchildren.

Q. What is your most favourite thing about your work?

A. For me my staff are my favourite thing. I love seeing the company grow and getting emails and letters from my customer about the great things my staff are doing. My success is down to employing people who love what they do and giving them focus.

Q. And the least?

A. Probably having to deal with customers who don’t have a valid complaint. These complaints normally stem from some of them thinking they know more than they actually do which is very common in the IT world.

Q. If you hadn’t chosen this career what would you like to do?

A. Be a travel writer and photographer. I love seeing different places and think I have a good eye for the shots I take, especially landscape.

Q. What tips would you give to someone looking to get into your career?

A. Be prepared for long hours, very long hours. Never take your eye off the cashflow and stick to your guns if you believe you are right. Don’t say things that you think people want to hear, say things that you believe in that will help them. Respect everyone, everyone deserves a chance.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about your career choice that you haven’t already mentioned?

A. Did I say I love it? If not, I love it. It is for ever changing, growing, adapting. Someone starting a business in IT now can, if they make the right choices, be very rich in a couple of years.

The Fun Questions

Q. What did you have for breakfast?
A. Orange juice and lots of coffee. I’m naughty, don’t tend to eat breakfast, plus I’m in a hotel in Montreal, Canada writing this after spending the week doing work for Microsoft and I only like my wife’s breakfasts, she’s an awesome cooked breakfast cook.

Q. Who would win a fight between pirates and ninjas?
A. The ninjas. Unless of course they were at sea but then how many sea faring ninjas have you met recently?

Q. If you were a tree what tree would you be?
A. A maple tree. Tall and wide spreading as I get older

Q. What is the last book you read?
A. The last book I read was one I wrote. Thinking of Maximising your Investment with Microsoft? Ask the Smart Questions

Q. Which of my blog posts is your favourite and why?
A. This one of course. Because it’s helped me put into words the things I love about my employees.

Q. What is your favourite song at the moment?
A. Bat out of Hell, it’s been my favourite my whole life.

Thank you for sharing with us Andy 🙂

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