5 Lessons I Learned From Building a Profitable Software Services Business

There's one thing that matters most . . . sales

James Williams
8 min readJan 30, 2021


Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

I started my first business over twenty years ago to prove a point. I grew tired of MBA’s telling me what to do when they knew nothing about technology.

They simplified the engineering process, and it made me sick. So, I decided to take my own risks. If I was going to be a victim of bad decisions, they would be my own horrible decisions.

Back then, I survived on the people I knew. I’d called friends to let them know I had time, and I’d land projects. It’s a typical way to start a business, but early success can be deceiving.

My initial focus was maximizing revenue so that I could pay myself. I began to accept deals that weren’t an exact fit, but I could do the work. I reasoned that I needed to take whatever now and think about the business mechanics later.

One awkward deal at a time, I made money. Projects got larger, so I hired a team. Because I had moderate success, I repeated the process continuing to pile on new work.

My journey would prove to be lucky happenstance. Too much TV and quick fix videos convinced me to make money, rather than build a business.

I bet you can guess by now, that I made it harder because I didn’t build a business. I found a way to make money using a skill, but this was far from a Henry Ford story.

When you make a little money, it’s easy to look past business fundamentals. It can take years to find that your luck has run out. You need to go back to the drawing board and do the hard work of making a business.

I’ve built two successful businesses, and I’ve shared some of my personal pain. If you take the time to hone your idea into a real business, there’s no doubt it will work out for you.

Engineer The Sales Process

If I could pick one word that’s a must for a business, it's sales. You can consume oodles of internet stories about content marketing and digital transformations. But the bottom line is, someone has to buy your services or product.



James Williams

Founder of COFEBE, Inc. We build tools that make engineer’s jobs easier. https://www.cofebe.com