LEARNING CURVE | PE software developer aims to empower the world
The Code Group was founded in 2010 and since then has focused on building a dedicated team of experienced developers.
Devereaux Joubert says their vision is to develop software that empowers the world.
Joubert, 34, aims to deliver products that will make a statement about their client’s brand and about the commitment they have to their clients.
Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started?
I studied a BCom Rationum, majoring in accounting and computer science at NMU. This is where I met my business partner.
We won two Microsoft Imagine Cup awards for developing top software development projects in SA.
This led to one of the senior Microsoft executives paying for our Microsoft partnership and this is what got the business started in 2010.
What is your core service?
The Code Group offers web and mobile development services. That means we make apps for online platforms and smartphones.
What makes your business unique?
Our speciality is our ability to take niche and complex business problems and solve them using online and mobile technologies.
If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?
They should surround themselves with a strong team, ensure they are aligned with their clients’ needs and have a shared vision of achieving greatness with their clients.
What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?
It was getting enough starting capital for us to get the equipment we needed, as well as having enough cash flow to cover our monthly expenses.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?
To budding entrepreneurs ... just start.
To new business owners, there will be tough times but remain resilient through those times and focus on ensuring delivery for your clients.
What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?
Ensuring you manage expectations.
What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?
Focus. Do one thing and be the best at it.
How do you measure or define success in your business?
Ensuring our staff are looked after, seeing our client’s products in the market successfully and being able to have the ability and capacity to give back to our community in various forms.
What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?
Ensuring that we have the correct people in the correct positions. Ensuring in each field you have a subject matter expert working on it.
If you cannot employ a subject matter expert, ensure you outsource those functions to the best suited company that is aligned with your vision and your goals.
What kind of advertising do you do?
It’s all word of mouth — we do not advertise.
What is your company’s vision?
To develop software that empowers the world.
What is your target market?
Anyone who wants to build their own product and earn money from that on an ongoing basis, be it a mobile app or an online business application.
We cover many industries, so we do not have only a single market space.
What have some of your highlights been in running your business?
Some of the highlights for us have been the Top 40 under 40 Award, the Maverick awards, our ability to give back to our community through Project Nelson Mandela Bay, and then recently to have been interviewed on television for one of our latest systems we developed due to its positive impact on students and employers.
How important is social media and an online presence for your business?
We use that for potential staff to get an idea of our culture and who we are.
How many people do you employ?
The Code Group currently employs 23 people.
Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this?
Absolutely yes, we have plans on expanding our digital marketing and sales force in the business in order for us to grow the number of people using our own products.
This includes our property management system, PropExpert, and our billing system, BillAgain.
How did you acquire funding for the business?
We are self-funded. We started off with a small project and invested that income back into the business and constantly have grown organically.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?
It’s not an easy journey being a business owner. Some ideas in software development aren’t always affordable for some clients to go ahead with, so juggling cash flow and pipeline are difficult.
Through that the biggest lesson that we are still learning is building up our own products for there to always be enough annuity income without having to do any new work.
What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?
In the beginning it was not easy going up against national and international companies as we are based in PE, and it was often seen as a negative.
That was until we delivered the work, and then the clients never looked back.
Our clients love coming from overseas and nationally to visit us in PE as they enjoy spending time here. One has even moved here after starting to visit us.
What do you say are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?
What do you say are the key traits of a successful employer?
Someone that listens to their staff and also supports them through the tough times in order to be supported through tough times.
What do you wish people knew about your industry?
We don’t fix computers. There needs to be an understanding that in software development you are building something from nothing.
It’s like building a house, and time needs to be taken to define everything that is needed and build it from there.
There are often complexities — the development company and the client need to work together to overcome these.