What makes a good Engineering Manager?

I was asked this question recently and and since answering, I’ve come away and thought about it in more detail. Here is where I ended up…

A good Engineering Manager creates an environment where their team can do amazing things whilst delivering great software.

OK, so how do you do that?

Well, you need to provide what Engineers need to be truly fulfilled in their roles. To me, this consists of five things:

1) Purpose

We need to know the reason we are required…and indeed that we are actually required. This is not just about our specific role but the bigger picture too, everyone ought to understand and be bought into what we, as a company, are trying to achieve.

2) Control  / ownership

People care far more about things they own and can control then things that they can’t. If you can’t control something, you aren’t really responsible for it succeeding (or failing!), so why bother?

This is why autonomy is so important. Show Engineers what problems need solving and let them take ownership and work out how to solve them.

3) Appreciation

I once read that all anyone wants is to be appreciated and this is so true. If you feel appreciated, you’ll be eager to do more for someone. If you don’t, well, why bother?

4) To be themselves

So you may have purpose, control over what you do and feel appreciated but if you can’t be yourself, is it worth it? No one wants to spend all day putting on a front, what a waste of energy! Energy that could be used to do your job even better!

5) To work with great people

However diverse a team is, a great team will all get on (most of the time!) and celebrate each others’ differences.

They will also support each other. Engineers need to know that they can ask for help and not be judged. We also need to know that if we make a mistake, the finger of blame won’t be pointed; making someone feel bad for their mistakes helps no one.

In summary, a good Engineering Manager builds a team who know what they need to do and why they need to do it but they let the team decide how they will do it. They will encourage a team that supports each other and that appreciates people for who they are.

Ormsby Street become Gold Award Winners in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International

Ormsby Street Wins Gold in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International

Most Innovative Product of the Year – SMB Most Innovative Product of the Year

 

London, UK – July 26, 2017 – Ormsby Street has been named the gold winner in SMB Most Innovative Product of the Year in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International, the only independent global business awards program judged each year by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications from around the world.

Founded in January 2014, Ormsby Street is one of Europe’s most disruptive firms, providing tangible help to 40,000 small businesses across Europe. It uses multiple data sources – credit reference agencies, Ormsby Street’s community of small business users and a company’s own bookkeeping data – and powerful analytics to address late invoice payment and poor cash-flow. It does so by providing easy-to-understand insight into how businesses should trade with customers and what action to take to reduce risk of non-payment.

“It’s great for our efforts to be recognised by Best in Biz says Robert Drury, Head of Product at Ormsby Street. “Late and non-payment is a huge issue for businesses across the world and we’re here to support small businesses get paid the money they are owed so they can do what they do best.”

Almost 300 public and private companies hailing from all sectors of the global economy from more than 30 countries competed in Best in Biz Awards’ fifth annual International program. Best in Biz Awards 2017 International honors were once again presented in a range of categories, including Fastest-Growing Company of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, Support Department of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Product, Enterprise Product and Consumer Product of the Year. 

Winners in the 5th annual program were determined based on scoring from an independent panel of judges hailing from a wide spectrum of top-tier publications and media outlets and from 15 countries and all continents. Best in Biz Awards’ uniqueness stems, in part, from the composition of its judging panels. Each year, only editors, writers, and contributors to business, consumer, financial, trade and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, are invited to serve as judges. Structured this way, Best in Biz Awards can best leverage the expertise, experience, and objectivity of its influential judges to determine award winners.

“I thought the caliber of entries in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International was even higher than in previous years – the entrants intrinsically were more impressive companies,” said Martina Devlin, Irish Independent.

This year’s judging panel included writers and contributors to such publications as ARD (Germany), Business Breakfast (United Arab Emirates), Computer Hoy (Spain), Data Breach Today (United Kingdom), HT Mobile (Israel), IAA Magazine (United Arab Emirates), InBusiness (Cyprus and Greece), Irish Independent (Ireland), Radio Ngati Porou (New Zealand), TechHim (India), TechnoFILE.com(Canada), Tune Media (Singapore), Ventures Africa (Nigeria), and Wirausaha & Keuangan (Indonesia).

For a full list of gold, silver and bronze winners in Best in Biz Awards 2017 International, visit: http://intl.bestinbizawards.com/intl-2017-winners.

 

About Ormsby Street

Ormsby Street, through their products CreditHQ and CreditFocus, are addressing one of the main challenges faced by small businesses – late payment and non-payment of invoices. When customers and partners do not pay on time, this leads to cash-flow issues, which can affect business growth.

Tens of thousands of small businesses all over Europe are using CreditHQ to credit-check their customers, and some of the world’s biggest banks are also using it to better understand and provide a valuable and innovative service to their SME customers.

 

About Best in Biz Awards

Since 2011, Best in Biz Awards, Inc. has made its mark as the only independent business awards program judged each year by a who’s who of prominent reporters and editors from top-tier publications from North America and around the world. Best in Biz Awards honors are conferred in two separate programs: North America and International, and in 65 categories, including company, team, executive, product, and PR and media. For more information about the International program, see: http://intl.bestinbizawards.com.

Our favourite small businesses

As part of Small Business Saturday the team have taken the time to tell us about their favourite small businesses.

Auto Repair Medway

autorepairRob is our Head of Product (and possessor of hair that will stand up in the wind as shown in this photo!).

It’s always great when you can find a local car mechanic you can trust and Auto Repair in Medway are just that.

Rob says “my car’s  windscreen wipers stopped working and needing replacing.  The guys at Auto Repair called Ford for the part but were quoted an extortionate price, so told Ford to keep the part.  They phoned me and advised a quick search online for the part and it saved me hundreds of pounds.”

 

Nin Com Soup, Old Street, London

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Matt’s the youngest of our team and he loves a nice warming lunch (his Mum would be pleased with him!), so he heads to the amusingly named Nin Com Soup within Old Street underground station.

“Great flavours in their ever changing range of soups, and a name that makes me smile every day” says Matt about his favourite lunchtime haunt.

“And they take Bitcoin, which fits with our FinTech business.”

 

Stephen Jones Millinery, Great Queen street, London

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Resident fashion expert Lorelei puts us all to shame with her daily fashionable outfits, and here she is outside Soho milliners Stephen Jones.

Here am I outside of this beautiful shop of hats and fascinators thinking of my next big event.”

And her enthusiasm doesn’t end there. “This shop makes me want to be part of some royal parties where I can look fabulous.”

Deliciously French, Cookham, Berkshire

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Despite growing up to the west of London, Head of Engineering Stuart fancies a bit of the French life, with his local French delicatessen Deliciously French.

“Honestly, it’s not just the wine I like” says Stuart.  “I do also love a bit of cheese to go with it.”

Deliciously French’s ethos is sourcing produce from family run establishments, which keeps small businesses going on both sides of the channel.

 

Hello Gorgeous Hairdressing, Battersea,

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“Who doesn’t love phoning to make an appointment and being met with the welcome ‘Hello Gorgeous'” says Carolyn, Product Delivery Manager for Ormsby Street.

“I’ve been going here for years and it still makes me smile when they answer the phone.”

Their motto is ‘luxury is a necessity’ which shows a small business who know their customers and know how to make them feel special.

 

 

Ormsby Street, Old Street, London

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New boy Parsh tries to earn some brownie points by telling us that we’re his favourite small business.

“I’ve enjoyed my first two weeks here” he says.  “Coming from a larger business with a larger team to a focused small business like Ormsby Street has been a great experience so far.”

Parsh is responsible for developing our understanding of the credit scoring, late payment and company performance data that we use to make our services like CreditHQ support small businesses in getting control of their money.

 

The making of new entrepreneurs

We’re always happy when a new person joins the Ormsby Street team.  We get an injection of new experience, a new outlook, a new voice that can question why we do things the way we do.  It’s an opportunity to sanity check how we’re going about things.

Today we’re joined by Matt, who’s coming in to support our commercial activities with channel partners, and he’s also a young entrepreneur keen to make a difference.

Matt’s our first recruit who is taking part in the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, a programme designed to take the best young entrepreneurs and give them the tools to make a difference in the business world.

He’s with us full time as any other team member, but he gets some time away from the business to attend events as part of the programme, learning about strategy, negotiating, intellectual property and much more.

Hundreds of young business people have graduated from the programme, going on to start businesses of their own, employing hundreds of people and raising millions in funding, and we’re pleased to play our part.

mattMatt’s going to get exposure to all aspects of our business, from how we build our small business software tools, to understanding our customers challenges, and how to sell into the enterprise market.  In return, he’ll bring his learnings from the programme into our processes and approach.  It’s a win win!

Great to have you on board Matt!

 

 

Late payment threatens to derail the freelance industry

UK freelancers are increasingly struggling with late invoice payments, with around half admitting they have considered quitting life as a freelancer because of worries over continued late payment, and 46% stressing about having enough cash to live on.

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Our latest research here at Ormsby Street, also reveals that one in ten freelancers have faced difficulties paying their mortgage or rent because of late invoice payment, and many have turned to family (37%) or even payday loans companies (36%) to cover a shortfall brought about by late payment.

While a fortunate 19% of respondents say most of their invoices are always paid on time, a freelancer’s invoices are paid on average 18 and a half days after their due date. At any one time, a freelancer in the UK is owed on average £5,431.03 in late payments and 79% of freelancers say that cash-flow is the number one concern for their business.

“Every freelancer knows that late invoice payment is one of the biggest frustrations, impacting cash-flow and causing much stress, from paying the mortgage to having enough money to live on,” said Martin Campbell, Managing Director, Ormsby Street. “For a freelancer to be owed more than £5,000 is clearly unacceptable and threatens the emerging freelance economy in the UK, which brings flexibility and work / life balance to so many.” 

The Office for National Statistics revealed in 2015 that 4.55 million Britons are now their own boss and research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) found three in five businesses agree that it would be difficult to operate without hiring freelancers. The Ormsby Street survey of 1,002 freelancers and sole-traders, revealed that 40% of respondents have taken out a County Court Judgement (CCJ) in the last year to chase a bad debt, and more than half say that late invoice payment is getting worse not better.

It remains a problem for many freelancers when it comes to chasing clients over late payment, partly because they do not have the time to spare, but also because of fears this might impact future work with that company.  57% of respondents say they worry that if they chase for payment that client might not use their services again, while two-thirds say they feel uncomfortable and awkward chasing clients for late payment.

“Why should a freelancer waste their own billable hours chasing payment for work that has been successfully completed and is already due for payment,” continued Martin Campbell. “If customers are not willing to pay within the agreed terms then it’s time for freelancers to become more informed over whom they work with, and either ask for payment upfront or even choose to not work with company.”

Special Freelancer rate!

With 49% of freelancers having had to turn down a contract because of concerns over a client’s ability / willingness to pay on time, we’re offering access to CreditHQ for the special freelancer rate of £12.50 for the standard subscription; allowing freelancers to obtain financial insight into every company they trade with. Sign up here to take advantage of this offer

“Freelancing has grown in popularity because of the choice and flexibility it gives people over their career, but its success relies on the prompt payment of invoices, which is not happening enough,” concluded Martin Campbell. “Credit-checking potential customers and partners is straightforward to do and should be done by a freelancer every time they work with someone, to protect themselves against late payment.”

About the research

An online survey of 1,003 freelancers and sole-traders was undertaken by TLF Research in March and April 2016.

CreditHQ, the credit-checking tool built by Ormsby Street, collates credit and trade information from Companies House, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet and presents that information in simple-to-understand credit and payment indicators, so a freelancer can assess which businesses are likely to pay them on time, or after 30 or more days.

Formed in 2014 to take over the operation of the financial data proposition of BCSG, Ormsby Street is developing the next generation of financial data services for small businesses. Its team of high-performing product innovators and software engineers are quietly taking sophisticated financial information and turning it into a next-generation digital tool to help businesses make good decisions about customers, suppliers and themselves.