#SageOne star: Simon Middleton (Watershed)

5 years ago

Simon Middleton (Watershed)Instead of us just telling you how good we are, we asked Simon Middleton (Watershed) to tell us what he thinks of our cloud-based Sage One Accounts software.

1. Hi Simon, could you please give me a brief summary of who you are, what you do and the name of your business?

You could describe me as a corporate refugee who is having a go at “dream management”.

After more than 25 years moving into ever more senior roles within well-recognised “blue-chips” I just felt it right to step away.

It just doesn’t make sense to continue leading from a place of what I can only describe as “hollowness”. Along with some like-minded colleagues we have a rather large vision to “restore the entrepreneurial foundations” of the UK. Already in 2007, before the economic downturn, we sensed that things were “out of sorts” and we wanted to make a response.

It became clear to us that what was needed was a response that would be both counter-intuitive and for some even naive. Still, we have funded it with our own resources to date. We established “Watershed” (www.watershedentrepreneurs.co.uk) as a result.

In classic terms it will be seen as a development experience for young entrepreneurs. However it is much more than this. Technically we de-risk both the entrepreneur and the investor through a highly predictive entrepreneurial profile we developed with one of the world’s top behavioural economists.

The insights are further enhanced through the design of our 12 day residential course. In the end, a relationship is established and it is from this that we can improve the predictability of success for both parties. There is more – for we are committed to the practice of what we call “radical generosity”.

2. Are you a sole trader or limited company / how many people are in your business?

We are a limited company and for the moment there are three of us operating full-time. Of course we currently are using our own savings to “prime the pump”. When we run a development experience our team expands to 7 people.

3. How long have you been using Sage One Accounts? What were you using beforehand? Why did you change?

I started using Sage One Accounts to support my own consulting business when I left my corporate role. It will be 12 months in November 2013. I was advised to use Sage One by my accountant. I am genuinely pleased that I took his advice.

Initially I thought I’d just use his professional office to do the work. It would have been the wrong allocation of resources. My background is Human Resources and not Finance, and in any case in the corporate world there was SAP and everything you could imagine.

Sage One is rather addictive and what I call ‘accounting for idiots’ – which probably tells you much about me. There is nothing more satisfying to see my financial position at a moment’s notice. In addition I have genuinely found the Sage One Customer Support line to be outstanding. The people at the other end of the phone are exceptional and, to use HR jargon, give the impression of being genuinely empowered.

4. What advice would you give to someone starting out in business / following in your footsteps?

My advice would be to persevere and never underestimate the amount of relational interaction needed. Also, do spend considerable effort on establishing a presence on the net. The best thing we have done – apart from the discipline of being “Sage One’d” – is to find the funds to employ a PR/marketing person. Our logic is to establish a web-presence first and then have a person dedicated for 6 months to get us into the rhythm of professional communication.

To find out more about how Watershed are helping to better identify and de-risk potential entrepreneurs, visit www.watershedentrepreneurs.co.uk

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