Gill Walker solves complex problems within Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE and ClickDimensions, challenges which often lead to user adoption issues. At heart she is an educator, so brings mentoring, training, speaking and coaching to your CRM challenges. She is a trainer (MCT), speaker (Professional Member of Professional Speakers Australia (PSA)), consultant (Sales Functional Consultant for Dynamics 365), project manager & vendor manager.
Gill has been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (previously Microsoft CRM) since 2002 – before it officially arrived in Australia! During these 17 years she has worked with a wide variety of organisations including small businesses, corporates, not for profits and government departments. These organisations have been in technology, finance, marketing & construction–and more.
Her business Opsis provides expert consulting to ensure that your CRM project is successful. Their philosophy about CRM failures – and there are many – is that they always point to a lack of education.
Here’s our chat with Gill.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I was working for an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) who really had no clue about how to approach CRM projects. I realised that there had to be better way. From that day, I have been building skills and marketing my approach and myself to change how people approach this type of project.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
Not really. Many years ago, I was made redundant, and started doing some temping assignments. During one of these, I was advised to become a freelance trainer. The rest as they say, is history. I morphed from trainer, to consultant, to success catalyst, and more recently to speaker. But I have worked independently for three decades. While there are some aspects that I’d like to change, I never really considered returning to the ranks of employee.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Understand the value of what you provide and have the skills and confidence to stand up for your uniqueness and value.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Problem solving – since there is far fewer support services ready to come running
Tenacity – since it is highly unlikely to be easy sailing
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
Matt Church, Neryl East, Julie Garland McLellan and a range of other experts who share their expertise via speaking
People who put the client and employees before other targets
People who put quality before revenue
What do you think your key to success has been?
Continuous learning and hard work.
How have you personally measured your success?
The extent of my reputation and the people who know of me
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
That depends! It depends on what the skill is, and how much time it will take to learn it. However, although it often is not possible for an entrepreneur to learn a skill in enough detail to do everything, it is essential that an entrepreneur understands enough to protect themselves from charlatans. It also depends on the cost of doing it yourself compared to outsourcing it. It we can outsource a task for say $20 per hour, and use that time to bring in $100 per hour, that is a good deal. However, if we then have to spend another few thousand dollars sorting out a mess created by a ‘cheap’ resource, maybe it was not so good.
How do you generate new ideas?
Reading (including watching videos) and then thinking how what I am consuming could be twisted to my market and world
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Variety and independence
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
Financially free, working a few days per month for a few clients who are keen to learn from me. This work will include speaking and will enable me (and my husband to return to the UK to visit my parents a couple of times a year.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
Catherine Palin-Brinkworth, my mother, my nieces and some other female entrepreneurs.