How My Career in Technology Influenced My Fly Fishing Business

9/14/09

I spent nine years working for a Customer Relationship Management software provider called Onyx Software. Our CRM systems were (at the time) largely implemented and run on-site at our customers’ locations. I ran the Professional Services team for the Americas—we were responsible for aligning business strategy with our software implementations, conducting business modeling, installing and customizing our software, performing training, and supporting our product.

Today I run Deneki Outdoors, a company that owns and operates fly fishing lodges in Alaska, British Columbia, the Bahamas, and Chile. We’ve got six year-round employees spread across those locations, and 40 folks who work for us seasonally.

What in the world could you learn at an enterprise software company that also applies to a fly fishing lodge business? Here are three big lessons.

—As a small business in 2009, you probably don’t need to own a single server.

Just a few years ago, running sophisticated business systems like CRM, financials, document management, and heck, even e-mail and calendaring, meant buying enterprise software packages, installing them on servers that you own and maintain, and paying a person or a team of people to keep things running smoothly. In 2009, the vast majority of small business functions can be supported by hosted applications that are simple, cheap, and close to zero maintenance.

Our business runs on Google Apps, Salesforce.com, and hosted Quickbooks. Other modern productivity tools like Skype help too, but our ability to run our core business functions on hosted platforms leads to a huge savings for us in terms of time and money. We don’t own a single server. We’ve never had to perform an upgrade. Customization is a piece of cake. Our “core systems” have been down for all of about three hours in the past five years combined.

If you run a small business, let the SaaS [software as a service] folks do the dirty work … Next Page »

Andrew Bennett is the founder and president of Deneki Outdoors, a company that owns and operates fly fishing lodges in Alaska, British Columbia, the Bahamas, and Chile. Andrew spent nine years at Bellevue, WA-based Onyx Software, culminating in three years as VP of Professional Services for the Americas. Follow @

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  • http://www.marchonpartners.com Eric Marcheski

    This is a great and very truthful article. I worked for a 6 billion dollar organization where we handled everything internally. When we started our firm we decided to focus on our clients not on internal systems and have found very sound SaaS folks who do a very good job for very little cost. Keep on fishing. Thanks for the article.

  • January

     Andrew: I work for Orion Entertainment in
    Denver.  We are the #1 producer of outdoor television programming. 
    Currently, we are working on a new series that I would like to talk with you further about.  Please contact me at 720-891-4839. I believe that you would be a person of interest
    for us!  Thnx.