Usman Butt is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at RepairDesk Inc., a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. Over the course of 8 years, he has built the enterprise from a fledgling startup to a dominant force in his industry. He has achieved this by applying his skills in sales, customer service, and business development.
After establishing himself in the repair software industry, Usman set out to expand his company and branch out into other avenues like payment processing and hardware sales.
He’s also been investing heavily in creating partnerships with repair part suppliers in the US and has also partnered up to help fund the creation of Torque360, another software company serving the automotive market.
Usman had a conversation with us about the journey he has taken and what he has learned.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Usman Butt. I am the co-founder and CEO of RepairDesk Inc. and I’m also serving as the co-founder and angel investor of Torque360.
I started off with my business a couple of years ago through a unique opportunity. My brother who lived in Australia was running a cell phone repair business and he always complained about how difficult it was.
He’d constantly have to follow up on repairs, track everything down manually, and the process was extremely time-taking.
I saw the opportunity to use my IT skills and help him run his business better. So I gathered up a team of developers that were already working with me and we set out to create the right software for the job.
It took a while but we worked hard and got into some accelerator plans which helped immensely. Eventually, we partnered up with another company in the United States and launched our software called RepairDesk, and the rest, as they say, is history.
What sets you apart from other professionals in your field?
Honestly, I think everyone in this field does a great job. It’s not easy and I certainly appreciate it. I’d say the difference is that I operate primarily out of Pakistan, which makes me put twice as much effort into making things work for the US market.
Along with that, I’d like to think I’ve made a solid effort in training myself and my team to put the customer first and to always give them value. That’s been our core motto since the beginning and still carries to this day.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
Ideally, I’d like to have as much as I can get away with. The repair software industry isn’t as broad as other markets, so the field is wide open for us. Our major challenge will be to convince people to go for a specialized software solution for their needs and not for a more generic alternative that isn’t as feature-packed but more popular.
If I were to put a number on it, I’d say increasing our market share by 20% would be incredible over the next 3 years. It’s a very lofty goal and we’re keeping it that way so that we have something big to shoot for. It’s all about stretching yourself to do your best, and in due time, you find that your best keeps getting better.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
That would have to be when we all went into lockdown. The situation was dire for everyone the world over and we had just started to find our footing when the first waves hit. On top of that, our investor wanted to make an exit, so we scrambled to arrange for that while trying to conduct business in a rapidly-evolving market. It certainly was tough.
Coming out of that entire scenario, I’d say it was the most important part for my company and for me personally. We were faced with customers closing their businesses and the economy slowly drying up. I also had to contemplate how to retain my staff, since most companies were also letting their employees go.
The decisions I made with my team were instrumental in shaping us and helping me grow and looking back, I believe it’s the best decision we could have made.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
I think some of the best purchases I’ve made were investing in my team by providing them with great resources. We started off with one office and soon purchased and renovated 3 more spaces for our people.
One of them is currently our private gym where employees can take care of their health while on-premises. I’ve expanded my team to more than 140 people and we’re continuing to hire great talent. There’s also my house for my family; it’s really a dream home for me where my children can grow up safe and have their future secured.
The worst purchases are probably the phones and subscriptions I’ve paid for. I do love my job, but constantly being on the phone with clients and business partners does wear you down.
I’d really like to spend more time with my family and not have to be worried about phone calls coming in.
What takes up too much of your time?
Personally, I’m always a busybody and you’ll find me working even when it’s a day off. It’s a habit that came about when I was young, but I’m certainly not getting any younger and business does require attention.
A great part of our culture here also is dining out and engaging in local cuisine. I love our traditional food in Pakistan and I definitely like to hang out with people at an eatery every once in a while.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs or leaders in the field?
- Always be ambitious. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re capable of a lot more than you think.
- Take care of the people around you. The success of your company is the result of your employees, your customers, and your partners. Never forget to give them what you would like for yourself.
- Spend time enjoying life’s important things. The present is the only time you have.
Who has most impressed you with their accomplishments?
I personally look up to a lot of people that have made it with their philosophy. Simon Sinek is definitely one of them. I admire the way he places a lot of emphasis on human value and leadership.
Not only is he running a successful business, but he’s also a talented author and speaker that really knows how to deliver the message across.
I read a couple of his books and it’s an eye-opener. The way he explains how team dynamics ought to work and how being a good human being is more important than being a good company man really struck a chord with me.
I’ve worked my way up through environments where leaders didn’t care much about who worked for them and I never wanted to be like that. I’m really glad I was able to learn from Simon’s work and satisfy that feeling inside of me with it.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
I’ve got a lovely family with a wife and two daughters. It’s a real blessing for me and I can’t be more thankful for them. They really are my light and my life. Every time the going gets tough, I find that they breathe new life into me and strengthen my resolve like no other.
I’d also like to mention my team, the people that I work with, some of whom I’ve come to consider good friends. It really helps when you have someone who can understand your burden and help ease it, and again, I couldn’t be more blessed to work with such wonderful people.
How should people connect with you?
I’m mostly busy on phone calls and video calls with people, so it might be tough to get a hold of me. I do frequent Facebook where I connect with customers and other people. If you’d like to talk about business, you can book a meeting with me on my Calendly, which is the best way to reach out.
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