Mitesh Patel is the Founder and Managing Director of Fifosys, a company he started 10 years ago after completing a Masters in Computer Science at University of Hertfordshire. Fifosys delivers IT support and solutions to clients from a wide range of sectors based all over the world, their key services include cloud computing along with tailored ITsupport, budget planning, auditing and project management.
I recently had a little chat with Mitesh and this is our full conversation.
Hi Mitesh, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
I’m fine thanks– thank you for inviting me to YHP
No problem, great to have you here.
Could you quickly give us some background information about yourself? Tell me about yourself growing up?
I grew up in Kent and studied in Victoria before going to University in Hertfordshire. Okay I have missed a few rebel years in Tooting but it was all good learning and allowed me to develop those essential personal skills.
In 1992 I took a year out to become a dancer and lived in India although upon returning to the UK I realised this was not my passion.
How did you get into business? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
I started the business at the age of 22 in my University Library, where at this point I had just completed my master’s degree in Computer science.
Who was your inspiration growing and why?
My father was my inspiration as I saw the way he maintained a positive attitude at all times during his challenges in raising our family. He made sure that no matter what we were always smiling.
So tell me about Fifosys and how the idea came about?
The idea actually came about with two friends I studied my Masters with whilst in a university computer centre. Whilst all our colleagues were looking for jobs, we decided to start up an outsourcing business developing applications in India and providing the consultancy in the UK. The model has developed and unfortunately I have no partners, but the message to support businesses in using technology still remains.
Starting up any business the start is always a struggle and I started with very humble growth in an office with no windows and no heating. When the staff left the office on a Friday I would stay behind and clean the office throughout as we could not afford a cleaner. Starting from the bottom up has taught me a lot.
What was your biggest challenge during the startup phase?
Finding someone willing to believe in what I say as I had nothing to show them.
How have you been able to fund the business?
I was able to fund Fifosys from my savings which were from working whilst at university. The £3,000 was the starting point to what Fifosys is today.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
· Delivered to clients what we said we were going to deliver
· Made our service transparent
· Employed the right people
· Acquired a competitor
What makes you different from other players in your sector?
In a crowded market for “IT Support”, Fifosys needs to be different, therefore we provide the link between IT and the business, and ensure that the IT strategy meets the ever changing business requirements. It also helps us explain to clients the risks associated with poor IT decisions, and how good IT decisions can make a big difference. We do this by taking time to understand clients’ businesses and then understand what their users need from their IT.
What is the business model?
Deliver measure and charge for time.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
There have been so many highlights with Fifosys and I personally feel the ability to employ people and help them feel part of a journey of your vision is priceless.
Meeting great people and constantly learning and developing is a lot of fun.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
Another acquisition and larges share of mid-market.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
· Challenge your idea by testing it thoroughly
· Have a plan that you are HAPPY to stick to
· Take your own advise