Gary Sheriff, MD of ITPS shares his journey during these challenging times in business
Synopsis of your area of expertise:
I have spent twenty-three years in the IT industry, and 11 of those have been spent as the head of my own IT company.
My main area of expertise is in networking and communications. As a business we help organisations to implement business solutions that will make them more efficient and more profitable.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
The recession stopped any growth plans in their tracks. Our focus changed, we had to concentrate on new business that was not derived from capital expenditure projects.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
We took a long hard look at the sales pipeline when it became clear that the Government was planning to close the Regional Development Agencies, as we knew that would have a huge impact on our client base. The last year has seen us totally replace the lost recurring revenue that resulted from this decision. We achieved it in four months and we are still on target for the current year’s growth targets.
We also revamped and streamlined the middle management tier by implementing a ‘heads of teams’ structure. This allowed the directors to concentrate on strategy, while the heads of teams managed operational issues. It was a sign of faith in our middle managers and it has been interesting to watch the people involved grow into their new roles.
What is your biggest focus for the coming year?
We intend to maintain our relationships with our existing client base, to minimise attrition while also investing time and effort to grow the business. Over the last year we’ve seen our specialisms in managed services, wide area network communications, cloud based services and unified communications help us to take the lion’s share of the market, and we intend to continue with that model.
If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or who is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?
It’s been said many times but it’s nonetheless true - people buy from people. There is no substitute for face to face meetings, where everyone is talking everyone else’s language, whether it’s a meeting with a technical manager or a finance director.
Getting together socially is also important. Banning everyone from talking shop means they can relax and enjoy themselves, and that in itself will help to cement the relationships.
Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in this region or generally and where your organisation sits within it?
The current climate for all business is tough, and it will remain so. Every organisation must think carefully about any spend, particularly as this will in most cases require capital expenditure and decisions will take longer.
We have approached this changing market by building financial options based around operational expenditure, to remove the need for our clients to make up front capital purchases. It’s given us an edge in that they see us as an enabler for business – it’s less about selling them something, and more about helping them to find a way to put their desired solution in place.
Our business has actually continued to grow through the recession. We are seen as a safe pair of hands for all things to do with IT, and we are very happy with that perception.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Garry Sheriff .
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