Digital collaboration helping businesses grow by creating consistent jobs
Not everyone would have the courage to sell everything to bring an entrepreneurial dream to life. However, that’s exactly what this month’s feature founder did. Tim Walmsley created BenchOn which provides an innovative way to access hidden talent across Australia.
Tim Walmsley had an incredible idea for a business so he backed it 100% with hard work, the power of positive thinking, and a dream to generate job stability. Now he and his wife Kate manage BenchOn, which successfully solves staff underutilisation with digital collaboration.
Inspiration hit in 2015 when Tim was working with for a US aerospace consulting company. There was a situation where the company had grown a specific team of engineers for a Commonwealth job. The company won that, however the Commonwealth experienced budget problems and requested a delay of two months before starting the job. The US company didn’t have the cash flow to keep expensive engineers on the bench during that delay without any money coming in. Tim tried to find a short-term contract for the engineers. “I looked everywhere but I was limited to the people and businesses I knew,” says Tim. “We had to put them on unpaid leave. I knew the team. They had families and mortgages. They rightly said; ‘We can’t survive two months without pay so we’re off.’ So they found new jobs.”
Tim says it didn’t make sense to lose valuable employees over a short time frame. “We lost an ongoing contract with the government.” Then the government project was delayed by 18 months because they had to wait for the next company to catch up. When speaking to someone about it Tim asked: ‘How is it possible we find ourselves in this situation?’ He was told, ‘That’s the way it is. We hope to survive through the troughs long enough to get back to the peaks and earn some money’.
Later that week Tim witnessed a manager’s frustration after a phone call, “he smashed his hands on the desk,” says Tim. The problem was the government required a systems engineer that day. The manager complained he didn’t have a bench of high quality people sitting around waiting for a call. It was then Tim had the lightbulb moment. “I went home and sketched it all out and that’s how BenchOn was born.”
Bringing a powerful idea to life
Tim worked tirelessly during his spare time until his idea became validated and he knew it was going to work. “I kept thinking I’ve got to be missing something. It all kept lining up. I was expecting roadblocks—issues and it just didn’t come.” As the idea started to build maturity, with companies coming onboard, Tim used BlueChilli to help design the BenchOn platform.
At first Tim balanced BenchOn with his full time job until the decision was made to “jump into it full time. It was too powerful of an idea for me not to take it up.”
Tim and his wife Katie sold everything and tested the business. “It was all or nothing. I was very nervous.” Katie is now a co-founder of the business and COO. “She was there right from the time when I ran around outside, jumping around excited because I had this idea. She’s been there every step of the way.” Katie runs all the operations and designed the processes. “It’s been an amazing journey with my wife along the way,” admits Tim.
BenchOn had a workable platform out in the market trading on September 2016. “It was very quick. It’s not until you put out a media release about raising $650K and seeing reactions from people that it feels bigger.”
BenchOn is about saving businesses from shutting down and saving people from losing their jobs because of underutilisation.
Contracting talent from BenchOn
Case study example: One of BenchOn’s first clients had four staff, the manager jumped on the platform and said: ‘I’m in trouble, I’ve got two engineers who are sitting on the bench, they are soaking up all my cashflow. I don’t want to lose them because I know I’ve got things coming up. If I don’t find something for them soon my company is going to collapse… So help!’ Within one day Tim and his team had both of those staff on contract. Consistent contracts creating something unexpected.
The manager came back to BenchOn and said; ‘When I met you I was in danger of losing not only half of my work force but my company. Now one month later I’ve doubled in size because I’ve had to hire new people to go for the contracts you’ve been sending through, so thank you.’ Tim says, “that was our proudest moment. We were like ‘wow’ this is actually having a true affect.” By using his employees more productively he was in a situation where he could hire more full time staff and win more contracts and therefore increase business. That’s a powerful economic theory.
It sounds counter intuitive. Once you use your employees more productively your overheads go down which means your cashflow goes up and therefore you’ve got consistent work and more cashflow to be able to hire those people. That’s the basis of the theory the pledge works off.
BenchOn mobilise talent wherever it’s needed inside Australia regardless of the company or the industry they work for. “In that way we can solve a lot of the talent shortage issues across the country. We can move engineers from mining companies into defence depending on where the peaks and troughs are within each industry. That’s quite a powerful idea.”
Pledging 1,000 jobs and empowering business
Tim created the 1,000 job pledge, providing a strong industry base to support small business growth. The job creation model empowers businesses to create stable jobs by increasing their consistency in work and increasing their cash flow The 1,000 job pledge is a free service which requires a company to source short-term contract requirements through BenchOn. The benefits are huge and include job matching within 24 hours, recognition of social impact with free PR and awards for the biggest job creator.
Our job pledge is about changing the economic conditions for businesses so they can hire new people and create jobs rather than attributing the jobs they’re already hiring for.
At the moment BenchOn have “clocked up 28 jobs that we’ve created and we’re going to ramp that up in the next 12 months,” adds Tim.
The economy needs to be tailored towards “fixing problems and making things better rather than earning a buck,” says Tim. “That’s an exciting concept. I encourage all entrepreneurs to make sure their business has a social impact… You can still make a profit and focus on social impact. This is what we’re doing with the 1,000 job pledge.”