Resident Insight: CashWatch – Watching the Cash at The ICEHOUSE
“If it was easy, everyone would do it” was the very sage advice CashWatch founder Mark Crouch was given when he had his first one-on-one meeting with ICEHOUSE staff early last year. Mark had attended an ICEHOUSE First Wednesday session and was sufficiently interested to arrange a meeting with Mike Stokes, ICEHOUSE Sales Manager. Mike outlined the ICE Accelerator program and spoke of what was required from the entrepreneur as well as what the ICEHOUSE would provide.
Despite a long career in the Advertising industry, including time as a Strategic Planner, Mark realised that having the discipline of a structured “road-to-market” program such as The ICEHOUSE would be a wise investment. And so it has turned out to be.
Mark’s idea, CashWatch, stemmed from his own experiences when he bought a small business after returning from working overseas. Mark’s lack of experience in finance and accounting landed him in the classic SME owner’s situation of having a profitable business on paper but running out of cash. Despite having an external accountant as well as accounting software Mark joined a huge group of SME owners who struggle to manage and forecast their business cash requirements. When Mark research the issue he discovered this is a global phenomenon that is widely acknowledged and a plethora of solutions seem to be available, and yet thousands of SMEs fail every week because they can’t manage their Cash Flow.
Believing in the adage that “if you build a better mousetrap they will buy it” Mark set about developing an SME Cash Flow Management and Forecasting tool that threw all the old conventions out the window. The product, called CashWatch, is nearing the end of Market Validation and will move into the Incubation phase in the New Year.
Mark’s experience of working with The ICEHOUSE has been very positive from the first day. For a start he elected to rent a full time desk. “I could have worked from my home office but the distractions are unproductive. Also, just having other likeminded people to chat with keeps you sharp”, he says. The structured ICEHOUSE Start-up program has enabled Mark to keep on a proven path and tick off milestones along the way. One thing he feels he could have done better is asking for more help and advice. “I tend to operate fairly self-sufficiently but I should take more advantage of the vast range of skills and experiences that The ICEHOUSE can bring to bear on an issue”.
Mark is looking forward to a couple of week’s holiday in January (which involves competing in the NZ National Croquet Championships in Christchurch – a great sport to help keep the mind focussed) before getting stuck into the Incubation phase of his ICEHOUSE journey.