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Robert Donat: The Road to Success for a Growing Technology Business

GPS Insight is a leading technology supplier of GPS tracking software for commercial and government fleets. We utilize high quality GPS hardware and add the technology, customization and enhancements which fleet-based companies demand. Using the GPS Insight Fleet Tracking Solution, companies realize a significant increase in efficiency, and gain insight into all aspects of their fleet operations. GPS Insight provides a highly flexible solution, which includes a wide range of customized reports, alerts, and other features that can be tailored to meet specific customer requirements and ensure maximum return on investment.

Rake Narang: Which multiple hats does a today’s CEO have to wear? What best practices can you share with tech CEO’s who are early in their career?

Robert Donat: Listen to your customers, your employees, and your prospective customers. They are the ones closest to the business requirements which are most important, and if you pay attention and implement their requirements into your product offering, you will beat the competition every time. It’s like free research! Also, make sure to roll up your sleeves and do many of the jobs in your organization -- if you live your company, you will know best how to lead those who work in it and keep it on track every day. Be the expert on your product and able to demonstrate, explain, and train your customers and employees on it -- then make sure your trainers know it almost as well as you, or create training videos to impart your deep knowledge of the product to others.

About Robert Donat

Rake Narang: What are three tips for building a great team?

Robert Donat: Cultural fit, aptitude, and drive are all that matter. Don’t worry about hiring experts who come from the industry or competition -- there is a good chance they can’t un-learn their prior products, culture, or attitude. But if you hire based on personality, motivation, and intelligence, make sure that those employees have continued training and access to subject matter experts so they can become experts as soon as possible. Ensure any negativity you encounter in your team goes away immediately - whether that is by coaching or resolving whatever issue is at the root, or by removing that person from the team. When everyone is excited about your company, product, and customers, you can’t beat that team, but if a slight amount of negativity is allowed to fester, you can find yourself with toxic members who do far more harm than good.

Rake Narang: GPS Insight has continued to grow over the last 8 years, how were you able to do that with little to no outside help, and how does that play a role in the GPS fleet tracking industry?

Robert Donat: GPS Insight has a recurring revenue model, as do most in our industry. We concentrated on spending as much growth capital to maximize PRESENT VALUE PROFIT rather than worry about cash flow. That kind of approach can certainly get companies in trouble, but we did it so that every month during the first few years we were closer to profitability, then eventually debt free and ultimately very profitable, with each month by definition more profitable than the next. GPS Insight always had an “out” if bills became overwhelming, sales fell through, or customers quit. Scaling back would cut expenses but we would continue to receive monthly revenue. However we never needed to do that, and since we didn’t, growth continued to accelerate. We knew that with such a valuable offering that our customer churn would be negligible, and that signing up early customers at a loss would have a snowball effect in many ways, eventually getting us to profitability and success much sooner than if we worried about short term profitability from the beginning. Once we had bottom line profit and were debt free, we were able to use that cash to accelerate growth by hiring more employees, spending more on advertising, and by subsidizing hardware sales to customers (e.g. renting vs. selling).

Rake Narang: What is the importance to ROI for your business as it pertains to your customers?

Robert Donat: We stress that customers should focus on ABSOLUTE ROI, not percentage ROI, or worse yet, the expense of the product. I use the analogy that if someone can buy a bar of silver for $19.95, that’s a great deal. However, if they are offered a bar of gold for $29.95 instead, they would be much better off with that option, as their absolute ROI would be maximized. In our industry, the cheapest products are very bare-bones, and yield very little ROI. Additionally, the best PERCENTAGE ROI is yielded by purchasing just the GPS Tracking antennas and putting them conspicuously in the vehicle, as drivers who think they are being tracked may drive safer, pad fewer hours, and idle less frequently, yielding an ROI which is greatly in excess of the cost of the antenna. However, to save real money by purchasing a high end, highly configurable, scalable, and powerful GPS Tracking system, you need to spend a little more, but yield more like a 300-1000% ROI. Those dollars are more meaningful since the system can be used to enhance overall company efficiency and adapt to and fix costly business challenges. Since our product costs more than the typical offering, we make more money than if we had a commodity offering. Since our product saves our customers more in absolute dollars, they are happy to pay the premium which a premium product requires.

Company: GPS Insight
21803 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 220 Scottsdale, AZ 85255 U.S.A.

Founded in: 2004
CEO: Robert Donat
Public or Private: Private
Head Office in Country: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Products and Services: The GPS Insight Fleet Tracking Solution

Company’s Goals: To provide the very best fleet tracking technology to commercial and government fleets.
Key Words: GPS fleet tracking, GPS tracking, fleet tracking, vehicle tracking, AVL, Automatic Vehicle Location, telematics
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