Q&A: Mike Burns, Pursuit

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The MD of the ePos software company on keeping one step ahead.

Mike Burns is the managing director of Pursuit, a software company that specialises in retail ePos solutions for jewellery retailers. This past year has been focused on the launch of the company’s Lifestyle product and creating something wholly future-proof. He was named a Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers.

Professional Jeweller: Looking at back over 2012, what has been your highlight of the year?
Mike Burns: Business-wise, the way our new Lifestyle product has been accepted in the marketplace has been a highlight. As with every new product, it is a gamble but we did believe in it. On a personal level, seeing my two girls become young ladies and exceed in school, both winning awards.

PJ: When it comes to launching new products, there will always be testing and trial stages, especially for software. What kind of challenges has Pursuit come up against?
MB: Yes there has been a few but it’s the way you deal with them professionally, and quickly, which people will remember and accept.

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PJ: In the world of software and technology, how is Pursuit staying revolutionary?
MB: Our Lifestyle [software] has been designed to work on any platform for the next 10 years, so if you compare where our competitor is we are told by their customers they are struggling to work on Windows 7, which is now being replaced with Windows 8.

PJ: You performed a nice marketing trick this year, but inviting industry members and retailers to a clandestine meeting at an airfield to announce your new Lifestyle product. Who’s idea was it?
MB: It was actually a family and business effort. I consider Pursuit a family, and everyone has ideas, it came from getting everyone involved. We will continue to produce game changing technology that is relevant to the trade, as there have been some great flops in this business.

PJ: With Pursuit run like more of a family-style company, how would you describe your approach to work?
MB: I’m open with everyone, whether they are a customer, staff member or supplier. I think a working relationship starts on trust, openness, and anything can be fixed as long as its start correctly. When it comes to keeping a work/life balance, when I’m in the office I try to get in early as the family morning is getting ready for school and with three women in the house it’s not a good place to be. I try and get home for 6.30pm to sit down with the family hear about their day and have that family unit. Once the children have gone to bed I’ll check emails and a bit more work.

PJ: So, when then weekend rolls around, how do you get away from it all?
MB: I have a great group of friends who keep me grounded but mainly I have a motor bike which takes all the cares away. I had a trip this year to the Czech Republic for the Moto GP race – 2,000 miles in total, no sat nav, no work phones, just going entirely back to basics with three mates.

PJ: And can you give us any hint of what we can expect from Pursuit in 2013?
MB: Business wise, we hope to continue the growth of the business, whether that’s via acquisition other routes, which I cannot say at the moment. I want the Pursuit brand to be one of the major building blocks to help our current and future customer out of the recession, if can I say the ‘R’ word.
 

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