In the last year of hosting the Hays Tech Founders series, I’ve had the opportunity to pick the brains of numerous tech entrepreneurs and hear their stories. Ultimately, although each founder is different, there’s a common theme. They’re using technology to solve a problem that specific people, or society in general, face every day. The clients vary from consumers to companies but, as entrepreneurs, it’s all about spotting obstacles and providing innovative solutions.
My latest guest offered a slight twist on that. Twain Henry-Lucas runs a consultancy that provides services to organisations implementing Salesforce as part of their digital transformation. Twain started his company, Frank Belford, in 2017 and recently celebrated its 2,000th project.
How did Twain settle upon Frank Belford’s purpose?
Having worked with the platform earlier in his career, Twain realised what organisations could achieve if they harnessed Salesforce’s possibilities. However, although he was an expert, the market wasn’t quite ready yet. Many companies weren’t open to cloud platforms and digital transformations in their businesses.
Things have changed now, though. The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation at the many of the world’s biggest organisations and brands. As a result, a recent report by Hays in the UK shows that there’s an increase in demand for people with skills using and developing the Salesforce platform.
Twain tells me: “Ten years ago, it was a hard discussion to have with any company to say ‘Let’s move you off your system where you’ve got LAN cables everywhere, and into this new cloud world’. Now it’s the norm. Salesforce has transformed CRM for clients like Aston Martin or Paypal.”
For an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes about understanding your target market’s problems better than they do, and offering a sustainable solution as opposed to a quick fix. Twain explained: “Becoming a specialist is very important because you can go in there, talk the language and understand that, when they say they want A, they want A, B, C and D without actually knowing it. That’s why you’re there!”
There’s another trait that’s key for an entrepreneur, and that’s passion. It’s clear from speaking to Twain that he’s fanatical about what it is Salesforce does, and what it can do. He’s very proud of the projects that Frank Belford have undertaken, and the positive impact they’ve had on their clients.
I lose track from the number of times he uses the word “exciting” when talking about the processes that Salesforce can be used to manage, and the possibilities for clients and candidates alike. Even when I ask him which aspects of the platform he doesn’t like, his answer still ends up being positive! Then again, that comes from a position of knowledge: even though there are small things he finds a nuisance, he understands why it’s like this and how it results in greater benefits.
I really enjoyed my chat with Twain, who also spoke about the early challenges of running a start-up, as well as the difficulties of maintaining a work-life balance and the steps he took to find that sweet spot.
Want to find out more? Watch my interview with Twain back in full here.
Director, Hays National Technology - UK&I
Harry Gooding is part of Hays Technology, working across our Enterprise Technology Practice and supporting new initiatives around skills development. After beginning his career in recruitment, he then worked in VC backed start-ups and scale-ups for six years across two different portfolios before joining Hays.