Meet Glenn of Guidesmiths
Glenn O’Grady is an entrepreneur, non-executive director and investor, who specialises in start-up businesses, scaling up and exit strategy.
Glenn’s expertise spans across business from start-up to scale-up and exit with real on-the-ground experience, which equips him to advise businesses as they react to a volatile economy and an ever-evolving business landscape. Decision making, risk management and leadership are all among the key factors that determine which business will thrive and which will struggle.
He co-founded software solutions company GuideSmiths in 2014 and later sold it to DCSL Software in March 2021, forming DCSL GuideSmiths. Glenn retains a seat as non-executive director to support the company at board level.
1. Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?
I started my business after years of seeing software companies overcharge and under-deliver. Eventually my frustration grew to the point where I simply decided I could do it better and with more client care. I walked up to the best senior software developer I knew and asked if he wanted to start a business. He said yes and away we went; it wasn’t very complicated!
2. What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?
Finding new clients and expanding beyond our first client. Sales are the absolute heartbeat of any professional services company and scaling quickly is tough if you don’t have the money or resource to expand the team. We focused on growing capital quickly and expanding when I had more time and the company had more cash.
3. Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?
Good ideas come from multiple sources: You need to have the time and space to think of them and it helps to be frustrated by something you think can be done better or more efficiently. I’d also suggest writing things down as they pop into your head; I can’t count the times that I’ve got up at 3am to scribble something down.
As for inspiration, I want to see service delivered to the highest possible standards and create memorable experiences through great product interaction. Books and podcasts have been fantastic inspiration at many points in my journey. The most inspirational book for me was ‘Setting the Table’ by Danny Meyer which was all about service.
4. What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?
We recently sold GuideSmiths to DCSL Software, but since it was founded we’ve always empowered talent, strived for quality and made sure that we were having fun and proud of what we were doing. These values I would take with me anywhere.
5. What is next for your brand?
My next steps are building up a business advisory service which helps companies to achieve their goals. I’ve learnt a lot on my journey so far and I’m excited to help guide others.
6. What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?
Stay resilient and laser focused on your objectives. Even when we had some big wins and celebrated, I knew a tough situation was never far away. How you manage those tough moments, react and bounce back quickly will set you apart and set an example for your team.
7. What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?
I love anything from Tim Ferriss and his podcasts have helped me on many varied issues. With 500 podcasts, he’s interviewed a huge array of business people and this helped during the tough times and gave me inspiration on many occasions.
More info on Guidesmiths