After 14 years in the car industry, John Fountain has taken a simple spreadsheet and turned it into an innovative cloud based platform that is revolutionising the car industry on a global scale.
Since its launch in 2014, SalesLogs has enjoyed rapid growth and is preparing to launch into Asia, Europe and the United States.
SalesLogs is pioneering the way car dealerships manage their day-to-day business by enabling managers to track their analytics, finances, trends and staff performances in a transparent real time manner.
“SalesLogs looks and feels like a spreadsheet which has been superimposed with an intuitive interface and collaboration functionality,” John said.
“Research shows that the motor vehicle industry is continuing to suffer from shrinking margins. It is more important than ever that dealerships have systems in place that enable them to run as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
John started selling cars in 2000 and used Excel spreadsheets to help keep track of his sales figures. Over time, other managers began noticing what he was doing and started paying him to manage their sales logs as well.
“By the time I had worked through every department in the industry, my spreadsheets had evolved quite a bit and had become pretty complicated and large. I pretty much reached the limit of my Excel capabilities and decided to put together a team of programmers to create a cloud version, which could run a dealership. As a result, SalesLogs was born.”
However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. SalesLogs has faced its fair share of challenges, in particular, developing trust in a cloud-based program.
“Back in 2014, “Cloud” was still a buzz-word and many of my clients were worried about the stability and security of a product delivered over the internet,” John said.
“We knew this would be a concern, so we looked at using the most stable and reliable platform we could find. We approached Microsoft to partner with us, and we were accepted into their BizSpark program. This meant that we had over three years of access to all their software and developing tools for freeas well as credits to their Azure Hosting platform.
“Without this, it would have been extremely difficult for a small start-up like us to be able to afford all the resources required to get our product to market. It also enabled us to future-proof our product as I can now confidently say that Azure is class leading in its product offering.”
The name SalesLogs was derived from the industry term ‘Sales Log’, which is used to describe a spreadsheet created to track sales results.
“SalesLogs allows you to replace all of your existing dealership spreadsheets with a single solution that is designed to handle all the complexities of reporting and multi-user access with ease,” John said.
“We are living in an age where we need to use technology to solve business problems. Business is becoming more and more complicated and there are more moving parts to manage. This requires a more collaborative, transparent and accountable approach which is what SalesLogs provides to dealerships.”
Since its launch, SalesLogs has accumulated a large group of dealership clients including AHG, Brian Hilton Motor Group, AutoSports, McCarroll’s Automotive Group, and many more.
John’s advice to other startups is to test your concept with prototypes as much as possible.
“Build a proof of concept and get people using it. Stay lean in your overheads until you can increase your revenue and look at partnerships such as the Microsoft BizSpark program that will help you get off the ground.”