Who would have thought that 26 years ago Impact Systems was just a granny-flat, a “shitty” desk and one man.
Impact Systems founder, Peter Agamalis says the early years were hard as back in the midst of the nineties recession, funding from the banks was hard to come by.
"And being a young kid with no equity, I struggled,” Agamalis says. “No suppliers would give accounts back then, everything was cash on delivery, banks wouldn't give any loans or overdraft.”
It was actually his girlfriend, Melba (now his wife), that convinced him to go out and do his own thing after an eight-month period of unemployment.
"Technology was the last thing I had done, that I knew and my gut feeling was that this was a pretty cool industry to get into,” Agamalis says. “I stopped to think about it. I was pretty good as a sales person - but I needed money, I didn't have any money."
To get his dream off the ground, he pillaged Melba’s piggy bank and with her father’s help he raised $10,000. This was enough for a ‘shitty’ desk, a copier, a little fax machine, an ancient electric typewriter (which he still has in his office to this day to remind him of where he came from) and a phone with a hold button, all based out of the granny flat that he shared with Melba. After all, there was no Internet in those days, just the handy Yellow Pages.
Despite having ‘no idea’ about computers, Agamalis used his gift of the gab and the power of perception to grow his business. While some clients that came to visit were initially shocked by his ‘office’, Agamalis says the impression they put out in terms of their service was positive, and from there the business just kept growing - in no time at all having to hire staff and turning over more than $3m a year from the granny flat.
After moving to a warehouse in Sydney’s Kings Park, Impact Systems outgrew that (and the one next to it as well) and so in 1999 relocated to a larger warehouse in Sydney's western suburbs where Agamalis currently runs the business to this day, turning over up to $40m a year. Fun fact - Agamalis has kept the ancient typewriter from his granny flat days in his current office to remind him of where he came from.
“Impact Systems has always predominately been more of a boutique style distributor with unique product sets that are either niche in the market place or via exclusive vendor arrangements that we have with suppliers both local and international,” Agamalis says.
“We have certainly seen the downward trend for your traditional white-box PCs, which is where our strengths typically lie, but the different designs of our finished product allows us to continue capturing clients who still value good old fashioned service with a personal touch and that’s what we provide today”
Agamalis says the success behind Impact Systems ultimately comes down to two factors.
Firstly, their unique product sets enables their partners to distinguish themselves from the masses and provide more profit. Their range of products is quite broad from your typical desktop PC to high-level servers to a massive range of accessories.
Secondly, the company operates on a basic philosophy – keep it simple, don’t over complicate things and provide a service that people love and will come back to.
“We never profess to be the cheapest, but we certainly give our competitors a run for their money,” Agamalis says. “Our 26 years in business has proven that our traditional approach seems to be the best.”
And when asked whether he had any advice for start-ups or people chasing their dreams, Agamalis was assured.
“Success will only favour the bold – oh, and don’t listen to everybody on what they tell you,” Agamalis says. “Sometimes too many people in your ear is not a healthy approach as they can muddle your vision and fashion of your idea, as you are likely to hear more challenges than outcomes.”
“Last but not least, don’t overcomplicate things. Sure enough, people will tell you that you need a business plan, that you need this or the other. My advice is, understand the basics yourself. Understand the fundamentals and then run with it. The rest will fall into place in its natural progression.”