CEO’s Blog – 2019: the year my baby learned to run

Martin port

By Martin Port

16 December 2019

A start-up is like a baby. When it is first born, you have to do everything to keep it alive. And, when the new company finds its feet and thrives, you really do feel as though the organisation you created and nurtured has a life of its own.

When I founded BigChange seven years ago, I had big ambitions for my new baby. But it was only in 2019 that I realised just how big this kid could get. As the year draws to a close, I’d like to share some of the highlights (and lowlights).

Setting the standard

I’ve posted about my ambitions to enter to corporate market with BigChange. Achieving BSI ISO 9001 and 27001 is a big part of being able to handle huge, multinational clients. The ISO 9001 proves that BigChange is fully committed to building quality products and services, while the 27001 accreditation shows that we are capable of handling data securely and effectively. We have also been awarded platinum partner status by Sage. These were major milestones in the development of this company.

A great place to work

The BigChange Team are a truly amazing group of driven individuals and a pleasure to work with. BigChange was ranked in the Sunday Times ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in 2020, proving that we are an outstanding employer. We are pioneers in creating work / life balance here, moving to a 4.5-day working week in 2019. We have also had some extraordinary speakers for our Motivational Monday initiative during 2019, from Kevin Keegan OBE, the football star and manager to Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell and model turned entrepreneur Caprice. Our commitment to creating a brilliant working environment helped us to recruit 60 new people this year.

Delighting customers

Our BigChange JobWatch system has gone from strength to strength this year, and I’m delighted by the depth of functionality we now offer customers. This is why we now have a record 40,000 users on the platform. We won 300 new customers this year, and an extra 100 came to us through the acquisition of two exceptional companies, Trace and Labyrinth. Our regular “shop floor” days make sure I’m tuned into the needs of BigChange’s customers. The newly created BigChange Network has provided a space where these customers can meet and share best practice and advice. That’s been a huge success. Big thanks to all our customers for being so supportive this year.

Charitable work

Building a profitable business has enabled BigChange to make significant charitable donations. This year, we gave more than £200,000 to incredible charities. Our seasons greeting card supports Transaid life-saving work in Africa, promoting driver training initiatives which improve driving standards, ensure safer vehicles and reduce the number of deaths on the road, which is the third biggest killer in sub-Saharan Africa following HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Standing out from the crowd

Winning awards helps to build buzz and get the brand noticed. BigChange has won a whole lot of awards this year. From the LDC Most Ambitious Leaders to the Sunday Times Tech Track, the Maserati 100 to the Tech Nation Fast 50, I’m delighted and humbled that so many people think we’re doing a great job.

Surviving technical challenges

In February this year, we had to undertake a wholesale redevelopment of our production environment. BigChange had grown so quickly that our architecture was starting to creak. It’s a testament to the wonderful relationship we have with our customers that they were understanding and patiently allowed us to work out the kinks. A big thank you to everyone who helped make the transition a success.

Going global

We founded BigChange France and brought on board a BigChange Cyprus reseller this year, and are slowly building market share in both territories. We continue to make progress in the US too, and I have just returned from a trip to Los Angeles where I spent time with prospective clients to find out what they need and how we can make their lives easier. I hope to continue delighting users all over the world next year.

Sharing knowledge

Given that I am dyslexic, I’m very proud to have written around 40 blogs this year on LinkedIn. A huge thank you to everyone that had liked, shared or commented on my posts. I enjoy hearing from all of you. I wish you all seasons greetings and a happy healthy 2020.

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