inCONVERSATION with Paul Rhodes

Any company owner that glazes over when talking about technology and how it can improve their business process, create growth and drive efficiencies would be well advised to spend an hour in the motivational company of Paul Rhodes, Managing Director of Green Gorilla Apps.

Formed just over four years ago Green Gorilla started out developing mobile and website apps, however they have shifted slightly from this original premise into developing software as a service, or SaaS, products for companies who up until now didn’t realise that a SaaS product is what they needed to power their next stage of business growth and maturity.

…a SaaS product is what they needed to power their next stage of business growth and maturity…

As Paul explained a SaaS product comes about when a traditional service business wants to productise its offering, allowing what would be a traditional resource heavy business to scale at a greater rate. A good example of this would be a company that provides audits. To date they may dispatch a consultant to the client’s site to perform the task. The consultant would go through a predetermined set of questions and investigations, would collate supporting material and then provide a report with insightful recommendations. This process, with the application of the skills at Green Gorilla, could be done online by the client themselves by interacting with the original company’s intellectual property and their processes, online.

This innovate approach to SaaS development and implementation is usually led by the original founder of a company, who for years may have considered automating certain aspects of their business, but just didn’t know how to go about it. As Paul explained to WINN, company founders may think they need an app, or a website and may initially approach a traditional design agency for assistance. They may not know that what they are after is a SaaS product.

But surely if a potential customer doesn’t know what they want, how do they end up talking to Paul and the team at Green Gorilla for assistance? Paul has insightfully developed a community of business leaders called ‘The Product Owners Club’ where likeminded individuals can openly discuss their business challenges, their desire for growth and to see if technology can assist them to meet those goals. This is not just a sales pitch, as Paul explains, but a safe environment where individuals can openly share their vision and their lack of awareness of technology. This community is moderated by Paul who continually offers new ideas, concepts and thoughts.

The Product Owners Club, has only been in existence for a few months, and Paul would like to see its numbers swell to around a hundred business owners all having shared conversations about the business viability of product development. These conversations all take place on a closed group within FaceBook to ensure that it is as easy to access and interact with as possible.

…Getting all your current and prospective clients together in an open forum may sound frightening to many…

Getting all your current and prospective clients together in an open forum may sound frightening to many, but to Paul it’s a wonderful opportunity for opening and developing a shared mindset. He believes that it is all about ongoing conversations, to breaking down barriers and to ultimately bringing a trusted advisor on product development within this group. This mindset of openness has been achieved through Pauls continued personal development efforts, a subject that few professionals openly talk about, however Paul is more than willing to share his story.

After he closed his first business it forced him into a period of reflection and how it may be seen as failure, but Paul points out, it’s only a failure if you don’t learn a lesson. He was inspired to take a personal development course called “Broadband Consciousness” and by his own admission, this changed his life. It taught him to find a professional passion and to overcome the nagging negative internal voice that we can all suffer from. He continually bolsters this passion and his development through following the work of Gary Vaynerchuk a US based serial entrepreneur, investor, and public speaker. 

His continued personal and professional development has got him connected to a number of like-minded communities. One such community is a ‘Mastermind’ group, this is a small collection of professionals who meet once a week on Skype. They are a global group with participants from the US, the UK and across Western Europe. They share insight and discuss shared challenges, all of which Paul can bring back into his own community.

…His continued personal and professional development has got him connected to a number of like-minded communities…

Paul sees his main role as crossing the divide between technology and management and continues to strive to make things better for his clients. Unlike many other IT companies Green Gorilla do not up-sell services such as hosting or expensive maintenance contracts. They work in the way that best suits the client’s needs, not their own.  

Green Gorilla have recently moved into central Worcester and passionately believe that in this day and age companies can be located in a place that meets their personal needs, such as family and quality of life, as much as their business needs. Running a business can be all consuming, as Paul openly admits, but he likes to slow down and take twenty minutes a day just to ‘free write’ his thoughts. This gives him and his team the clarity and attitude they need to be such an enthusiastic and open team to work with.

With this innovative blend of openness, attitude and enthusiasm for other people’s businesses what does ultimate success mean to Paul and Green Gorilla? Well they know that when a company takes the SaaS product that they have developed in house to extend, maintain and further refine, without the need for Green Gorilla, then at that point they know they have done a good job.

To Paul and Green Gorilla, innovation is all about when your client’s lives have been enriched to a point that they no longer need you. How many companies would ever say that?

Like this article? Share it with your friends and colleagues!

WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.

Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.

WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP