“I would want to show all the up and coming business owners that you can do business in a better, more honest way while still building a profitable business. Helcim is proof that you don’t need to lose you soul along the way and you can actually be rewarded and build something that is very successful because of your commitment to doing things better. If more businesses took this approach, then it would have a huge impact.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicolas Beique, CEO and Founder of Helcim. Helcim is a payments+ company that lets small business owners accept credit cards and run their entire business from a cloud-based, all-in-one merchant platform.
I was born in Odessa, Texas in 1985. My family moved to Montreal, Canada on my first birthday. From my earliest days, I loved to build things from Legos to treehouses. At four, my parents bought me my first computer, an IBM PS/2. I immediately became captivated with designing computer graphics, followed by a passion for programming at age 12. When my family moved to Calgary when I was a teenager, my first job was at a local computer store in the afternoons, building the company’s first e-commerce website.
I was still a student when I founded Helcim — the company was and remains a bootstrapped company. We never raised venture capital and never took on debt. The road was slow and hard, but today we have revenues of $35 million per year, process over $2.5 billion in payments and service over 6,000 locations in Canada and the US.
Our first office is one of the most memorable part of the early days of Helcim. It was 500 square feet, next to a cab dispatch office that would smoke indoors, and smoke would pour in through the vents. Our other neighbor was a special massage place called Carrie’s VIP that would only open at 6 PM and each evening in the parking lot there would be a big guy in an old Cadillac sitting in the parking lot and idling until two am.
1.) Software providers will become the largest payment processors in the industry, the days of having a separate payment provider has passed. Businesses are expecting more from their payment providers and now that everything is moving online, and more businesses are adding in e-commerce to their brick and mortar stores. It’s all about vertical integration and payments being added alongside the software requirements that businesses require.
2.) Blockchain will play a bigger role in B2B transactions. I believe that it won’t be the P2P or B2C transactions that will be seeing the first major implementation of blockchains. It will be B2B transactions between trading partners and bank networks that will implement it.
3.) Instant everything People expect things to be done quickly and they do not have the time or patience for lengthy approval processes or multi-step processes. The providers who are able to provide their services with the fewest barriers will be the ones who succeeds. Some examples of this include instant onboarding, instant credit approval, instant transaction approvals, and instant fund deposits. The future is everything immediately and businesses will need to build up their software offerings to accommodate this demand.
For years I spoke with small business owners who were struggling to try and use technology to grow their business. Just everyday people trying to integrate software, build websites and install plugins.
I wanted to build a tool that allowed them to do more than they thought they could, without the need for programmers and web developers. A platform that allowed their small business to compete with the biggest firms — on even ground.
Helcim Commerce is that platform, and we launched it on November 2nd, 2017. It is the encapsulation of my business philosophy of helping small businesses and my drive to out-innovate and outwork my competitors.
We built an all-in-one business platform that does more than any other small business software currently available. On each front, Helcim Commerce directly competes with industry software giants like QuickBooks, Shopify, FreshBooks, Micros, Squirrel, Square, Recurly, and countless others. We differentiate ourselves by taking them on all at once, offering a better experience to our merchants as an all-in-one solution.
It is 1.2 million lines of code, lives in the cloud, is accompanied with mobile apps, and can be accessed from any device. We built a world-class platform, and we did it as a Calgary-based bootstrapped company, with a team of just six developers.
The launch of Helcim Commerce was just the beginning, with more industry-specific solutions currently in development, including a restaurant point-of-sale system, property management tools, and an accounting suite. Our vision is to become a full business platform that empowers any industry.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
As CEO, I believe that I am responsible for establishing the company’s culture, if you want your staff to be friendly, you must be friendly yourself. If you want your staff to be hardworking, you must work hard yourself. Every day we seek to bring out the best in people by providing a positive, supportive and inclusive atmosphere where employees can be themselves. Employee voices matter at Helcim and we seek their ideas, opinions, and thoughts. We prize innovation because the collective efforts of our team are what’s driving our growth.
My wife, Lesley, has been a great support system and has acted as a sounding board for ideas and as a voice of clarity in times of crisis. She has done a great job getting me out of my head and helping me look at things objectively when I am to close to the problem and am not able to see the way forward.
Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler.
Helcim has always strived to find a better way to do business, we are honest and transparent in an industry that hasn’t traditionally always had the best practices. I would want to show all the up and coming business owners that you can do business in a better, more honest way while still building a profitable business. Helcim is proof that you don’t need to lose your soul along the way and you can actually be rewarded and build something that is very successful because of your commitment to doing things better. If more businesses took this approach, then it would have a huge impact.
Originally published at medium.com