An account of how Wave attained success


By Angelo Casanas

Sarah Stockdale, manager of business development and buzz at Wave, is demoing a robust tool that does your company’s accounting and offers an invaluable service to small businesses. As she talks about the free online tool’s features, advantages and benefits—which include tracking credit card expenses, generating reports and even invoicing—the JOLTees start to envision how Wave might help optimize their own companies’ operations.

Later on, Wave’s co-founder and chief technology officer, James Lochrie, presents a visual on how Wave differentiates itself from its competitors. He takes on the whiteboard and accurately illustrates how, while other products in the market have often been fragmented and insular, Wave’s accounting tool creates a collaborative ecosystem. Wave’s product is integrated and simple; no longer do accounting and payroll have to be done with different tools. As James explains how Wave is a cut above the competition one gets the sense that he has a firm grasp of the market and a profound understanding of its consumers. In fact, having been in the industry for years, James has a solid understanding of the accounting industry and has pushed Wave from its humble beginnings to helping small businesses around the world via its online platform.

The team from Wave was not invited simply to demo their product to six prospective clients, however. The team was also asked to share some words of wisdom and some insights on what it takes to succeed with JOLT’s aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Wave team told the JOLTees to start small, to validate their market first and to scale later. Wave caters to a niche market and, while it is tempting to be an accounting company that can be everything to everyone, the company has stuck to its guns and remained firmly rooted to that niche market.

The team shared both their triumphs and their struggles. Unable to cope with the growing demand for Wave’s services, the team at one point found it difficult to pay the bills. Yet with some perseverance and a little bit of good luck, the company was able to weather the storm and sail safely to profitability.

James shared that working in an entrepreneurial environment enabled him to learn new things and to have the opportunity to work with different people. Having been inculcated with the corporate culture for years, he found working with people like Sarah—a new generation with a fresh way of doing business that might seem unconventional in corporate culture, yet was effective in developing the company to what it is today—to be a refreshing change

As final words were being shared, James said that starting a venture is the biggest roller-coaster ride of your life. Emotions will get in the way, but you have to mitigate the lows and enjoy the highs. He also wanted to impart to the JOLTees the lesson of keeping your eye on the prize. Being a hockey fan, James likened success in business to winning the Stanley Cup. It’s not just about winning a game—it’s about winning the cup!

It has only been a few days since the JOLTees began their journey, but they all seem eager in taking the first steps toward winning the game and taking the cup.