Starting a new business from scratch with LivePlan
“We started very, very slowly,” says Carr. “I had no money for a couple of years, building what became Web Ninja. Simply because we [had] built accounting software and people trusted us, a lot of other accounting companies and software companies started sharing their data with us.”
Web Ninja grew out of this data sharing.
Having been part of a team that successfully started, scaled, and sold a company, Carr knew that having a solid process in place for tracking metrics and milestones would be integral to Web Ninja's success. “We quite like processes and all that sort of stuff, but we're always on the lookout for improvements,” says Carr.
“I just fell in love with the look of LivePlan.”
He discovered LivePlan while attending a trade show in the United States. “I just fell in love with the look of it,” he says. “I mucked around with it a bit, and it integrates with Xero and QuickBooks Online.”
When he decided to set up a business in New Zealand a few years ago, he did so with LivePlan in mind. “I thought, ‘Oh, well, I'll use Xero as the accounting application in New Zealand because that's where it comes from, and that way we'd plug it into LivePlan, and we'll build the plan out using LivePlan,’” says Carr. The convenience factor was a big selling point–since LivePlan integrates with both Xero and Quickbooks, there's no double data entry, and you can compare actual financials with projected numbers.
Monitoring business health with LivePlan
With his business background, Carr knew he would use LivePlan's financial dashboard feature. He wouldn't simply create a business plan once and then put it on a shelf; Carr uses LivePlan to forecast and monitor how Web Ninja is performing on a daily basis.
“I loved the plan, and I loved the forecasting tools in it, and the fact that it did some really clever stuff around your attrition rates and really made you think,” he says. Carr notes that while using LivePlan to write a formal business plan for funding is valuable (and necessary) for many businesses, Web Ninja gets the most value out of LivePlan in terms of monitoring overall business health.
“We haven't had a vision in the past. We'd just sit there and go, ‘Hey, good quarter.’ That's why I love LivePlan and the dashboard.”
“It's the fact that it's keeping us honest,” he says.
Since he's using LivePlan on a regular basis to track key milestones, Carr is able to hold himself and his team accountable. “I take [the plan] to lunch and say, ‘Hey, this is what we thought 18 months ago. What's changed? We thought we'd do this.’ Or, ‘We've actually exceeded it. We're smacking it out of the park.’”
In essence, Carr uses LivePlan for Lean Planning, or making nimble adjustments to his strategy and business planning on a regular basis. It helps him and his team to respond quickly to challenges and take advantage of opportunities in real time.