Name:

William Gorol.

Age:

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47.

What is your business called?

Procure Wizard.

Where is it based?

Headquarters in Edinburgh with an office in Liverpool.

When was it formed?

2009.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

Back of house software for the hospitality sector, aimed at increasing productivity and improving gross margins.

Traditional telephone ordering and paper invoicing are still the norm in the hospitality industry. This makes controlling live costs both challenging and time-consuming when keeping tabs on what has been ordered and spent should be straightforward. When we started up we were sure that technology could improve profitability whilst simultaneously relieving labour intensive and manual processes.

Just 0.05 per cent of the 1.5 million hospitality businesses in the UK used online technology in 2009, so we knew the potential for Procure Wizard was huge.

Whom does it sell to?

Hotels and restaurants.

The client list includes QHotels, Macdonald Hotels, The Hotel Collection, Village Hotels and Principal Hayley.

Customers in other sectors include Patisserie Valerie, Muffin Break, Aspers casinos, Silverstone Circuit and Queen Mary University of London.

Across all sectors, Procure Wizard clients make up almost 10,000 active users who between them send over £12 million a week in purchase orders and invoices via the portal.

What is its turnover?

£2 million.

How many employees?

30.

Why did you take the plunge?

I went to America and was inspired by the business opportunities - I could see that they could potentially cross the Atlantic.

Having worked in the sector as a hotelier for most of my adult life it was inevitable that at some point I would have to seek a new direction (there’s not very many old hotel managers – it’s a young man’s game). With 40 looming it was an ambition of mine to break away and to become self-reliant and champion of my own destiny.

Procure Wizard was born out of necessity as it was frustrating that as a manager you were responsible for everything but had very little control and visibility of anything. Processes that were frequently being operated in the hospitality businesses had not changed in 50 years.

I felt a joined up approach using the power of the internet would transform supplier purchase relationships and provide real time management information rather than month end historical reporting. it seemed sensible that I should make the most of that experience in my next venture.

Not being a technical “geek” myself I had two challenges: To find the right person to develop the software I had in mind and to find the funds to make it all happen.

From the software being handed over to myself to going live with our first QHotel customer, was very quick. We worked without customers to provide a live testing environment and quickly identified what did and did not work. To say it was hands on would be an understatement – it was all hands on deck for that first couple of weeks to iron out the bumps!

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

General manager at Ayr Racecourse.

The racecourse was like the world’s biggest roller coaster - the adrenaline rush was incredible and the build up to the major milestones in the year was exciting. The biggest events are a logistical challenge with a few hundred horses to look after, thousands of owners and trainers and stable staff to cater for, not to mention the welfare and coordination of support staff of over 2,000 that look after the betting and feeding and drinking of up to 30,000 guests over the Scottish National Festival. The thrill on the day of seeing the litter pickers in action, or the disappointment the calculation for the porta loos was not correct and the determination to get it right next time was hugely motivational.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Scottish Enterprise, the bank, and re-mortgaged house.

What was your biggest break?

Winning the Q Hotels account in 2010.

In April we won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

What was your worst moment?

Not had one yet – I’ve been very lucky! But lows included taking a big risk and re-mortgaging our house to help fund the business, it was tight times at the very beginning.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

Not having to write board reports and being able to follow my instinct.

What do you least enjoy?

Answering emails.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

To double the number of customers within two years and to generate 50 per cent of our income from new and innovative products.

What are your top priorities?

New offices – we have bought new premises for both Liverpool and Edinburgh, work is currently being done before we move in.

Growing the sales team - up until now Procure Wizard has relied on referrals and organic business growth with the real focus on system development and building a team of highly skilled individuals to manage our client base. Having achieved that we are now ready to push ourselves forward using an experienced sales team.

Multi-currency – Procure Wizard has multinational capability. We have, in the past, received enquiries from organisations throughout the world, however the timing was not right. Over the next two to five years we aim to develop our international reach.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

We have found Scottish Enterprise to be very helpful.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Saying no sometimes is not so easy.

How do you relax?

Cycling with the kids and spending time with the family.