An Interview with Andrew Cornale

What is your business and when did you start?

 I run a few companies but my main company is Impulse Digital. We’re a tech resource… effectively it means that we build websites, apps, ecommerce, web apps etc. We do this for some of the most well known brands in Australia (some of the big banks, government organisation, well known FMCG brands etc). We also white label work for some of the biggest agencies in the country and have been operating since 2013.

 Our main differentiator compared to our competitors is that we provide a no bullshit, “plug and play” tech team solution for businesses on a fixed cost basis. We work from anywhere in the world including our clients offices if they need us. We are contracted to produce digital products and then skill up our clients internal teams to look after the day to day of the project while we work on bigger pieces of the puzzle.

 

What inspired you to start your business?

Originally I wanted to start a digital agency working direct for client because I saw first hand (experience in management) the lack of transparency in the industry. I was sick of clients being fed lies, paying inflated costs and the ridiculous buzzwords use to explain technology that really wasn’t that hard to understand. I developed a lean model to create transparency and over time the business has evolved many times. Now, the majority of our work is white labelled and we don’t consider ourselves an agency at all haha!

 

Tell us about the journey you have been on with your businesses?

Running a “digital agency” for a few years, I saw first hand how difficult it really was to keep overheads down. Technology is such a changing landscape and having a handful of developers in a team just isn’t enough to service every clients digital needs… there’s always a skillset that isn’t available in house. Based off the back of my resource struggles, I created a model to solve the problem. Now we offer resource relief to those business who are struggling with the same issues we faced a few years ago.

 

How do you handle the naysayers?

 I listen to everyone’s opinion. If people have ideas about how we can improve our offering, I’m happy to be challenged. However, it’s important to really understand your own business, unique offering and also your long terms goals. If someone is going to take you away from where you’re headed, it’s easy to simply disregard what they’re saying and to stick to your guns.

 

Where do you envision yourself in the next 5 years? How do you plan to do this?

 Quite honestly, I’m really happy with where we are at the moment. In 5 years, I’d like to be still doing what I love for the great clients that we work with. My goals are more around the type of projects we want to work on and the technology we’d like to start using. So, the best way to get there is to go out and find the work and to learn the skill set required!

 

What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome that has shaped you and your business?

The biggest challenge we have faced is staff related. When I started the business, I employed a team of developers. I guess at the time, I didn’t quite understand just how much they would affect my business. Employing the wrong people can be poisonous to your organisation. I also realised that it doesn’t matter how many salaries we pay, we will never have a team that can do absolutely everything in the digital realm. So, off the back of the struggles we had with overheads and constantly increasing project rates (due to the team that wasn’t always busy), I was able to form the model we are constantly running.

The model is pretty simple too… we have skeleton staff and a flexible network of some of the best contractors in the country. We can offer a full suite of services while keeping overheads down so our work can be white labelled for a profit. When we need someone for a project, we bring them in and when we don’t need them, they move onto other things (which they love). It also made me realise that the best talent doesn’t want a full-time role so we also have access to staff that most organisations can’t keep in a full-time role. 

 

Who inspires you? Why?

 If I had to pick one person that inspires me, it would have to be Elon Musk. I just love his story and how he consistently pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with technology to create a better world that we live in. 

 

What has been the biggest tip you have received off someone that has stuck with you?

An old boss of mine used to always talk about a “dollar win-win” and I’ve never forgot it. Effectively, the easiest way to sell a service is with transparency. If both parties in a negotiation can see how the other party is winning financially (and the win is even), signing off projects is easy – there’s no reason not to proceed.

 

What is a tip that you would give to a young person thinking about starting a business, but not sure how to start?

 There’s so many tips I could give but the most valuable skills that I’ve ever learnt are not tech related but rather finance related. Learn how to budget, forecast sales and understand your cost per sale. Only then can you understand how to create a profitable company.

 

 

What are your top 3 biggest lessons you have learnt in your business?

  1. Forecast your sales and plan your finances
  2. A bad day, week or month doesn’t mean that you are going to fail… it simply means that you may need to pivot and re-evaluate where you’re headed
  3. Enjoy the journey. Looking forward to your goals is a positive thing but if it gets in the way of enjoying your day to day, you’re going to miss out on the best bit!

 

 

What is a book you can recommend?

I don’t actually read any books but I read tonnes of blogs. Any of the big blogs… TechCrunch, Mashable etc are good but I also use Quora a lot – there’s some really interesting questions with qualified answers.

 

If you could choose one place in the world to work, where would you go?

It’s going to sound cliche but I believe Sydney is the best place in the world to work.

 

What was one of the first goals you smashed in your business?

Generate enough revenue to live off.

 

Where can we contact you?

Email: andrew@impulsedigital.com.au

Business Phone: 02 7903 9525

Website: impulsedigital.com.au

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