After completing an MBO (Management Buyout) of Myhrtoolkit, Jon Curtis has left his legal career behind – and is looking forward to focusing on just one company.
Jon is interviewed by our new marketing Manager, Andrew Moffett.
Hi Jon, so … you’re not a solicitor anymore; what’s the story?
I spent the nineties mostly living in Germany and Moscow where I studied law by correspondence after my business degree.
I came to Sheffield to complete my law society finals and complete a training contract with Irwin Mitchell. My professional career began in September 2000 when I started working with Trevor Ironmonger at a local law firm.
In February 2005 we set up Ironmonger Curtis together. At the same time, I set up Myhrtoolkit (then known as H2R) which we also owned jointly.
Over the years the two companies have grown to the size where it just makes sense for us to focus more. So, helped by Kit and Bob, I bought out Trevor’s shares and left the law firm – and legal services.
Why make the move now?
Well, twenty years is a decent legal career and I’d been wanting to make the change for some time. I have a strong entrepreneurial streak and I’m really looking forward to taking the company to the next level.
How are you feeling about it!?
I’m trying to get my head around it still. For the first time in 20 years, I’m not a lawyer, and not working in legal services. I can be a little less careful with what I say, I can wear jeans to work and my phone is ringing a LOT less!
It does feel odd though. I’ve been giving advice to companies in the UK and the States and it will be a little different to sit the other side of the table. So far, I quite like it!
What’s the big picture for you and Myhrtoolkit moving forward?
Dead simple – we want to produce the best HR software for small business (primarily up to 250 employees), bar none.
We are already a major player in the UK and the market is consolidating but we plan to be top of the pile. Unlike many of our competitors we focus on a human relationship with our clients and we rely on feedback to improve the product all the time.
For my first month as a full time MD, I’m going to be getting to know the team better and formulating some key ideas about the metrics we use in the business to measure success. We are going to be drafting some strategic plans and some other key processes.
Tell us about a specific project/development you’re excited about in the future of Myhrtoolkit?
One thing that’s really close to my heart is integration with other online products.
When I started Toolkit I wanted it to be a one-stop shop for small business – accounts, warehousing, payroll – you name it. I think other parties had the same idea; however, the industry hasn’t really gone into that direction. There’s still a lot of small companies specializing in different areas. HR happens to be our area, but big things are coming!
What makes Myhrtoolkit.com different from other HR software?
We major on simplicity. There is no point having bells and whistles where people have not got the time to operate the system. Toolkit has been built from the bottom up, working more or less entirely on feedback from customers.
Toolkit has always been built specifically for SMEs: it’s not a corporate product that been simplified and there is a big difference.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Well I have two children, so I don’t have a huge amount of spare time, but when I do have time I like to run and I go to a great Boxing Gym in Banner Cross fairly regularly. I’m also a trustee at a new Church on Ecclesall Road called The Well which is great fun.