Beside the seaside

Beside the seaside

Focus 4U team on the beach
Focus 4U team on the beach

The day-to-day challenges are varied. In all areas of the business it is a balance of retention and growth.

Commercially and in terms of sales in particular, we endeavour to keep

our customer churn levels as low as possible through competitive pricing and ongoing account management. As our customer numbers grow this area of the business takes up more resource and leaves less time for generating new business. However, with such a wide product portfolio we also aim to increase the ARPU through cross-selling.

In terms of staffing the challenge is to maintain a happy thriving working environment. This is achieved through a number of teambuilding exercises, six-monthly bonuses and a relaxed family atmosphere. We endeavour to ensure that all our staff understand the commercials of our business and by paying the bonuses based on company growth we are all working towards a common goal.

 

Suppliers

Our main suppliers are BT Wholesale, Gamma, Infinity, YES Telecom and Fone Logistics. Our relationships with our vendors are strong. We regularly carry out progress reviews where we discuss pricing, support and how we can further develop the relationship to enable greater volumes of sales.

We are particularly pleased to work with Gamma as they were voted Network Operator of the Year in 2008. They have also released some new products over the past year. These have added further dimensions to our offerings.

 

Convergence

Convergence represents many things to me, better applications, a more mobile workforce and a more streamlined feature-driven marketplace. But the word also represents the industry’s tendency to run before it can walk. In the late 1990s, WAP was advertised as Internet on a mobile, but it was some years before it lived up to its potential and suitable devices were introduced.

We have yet to see any mass migration of end-users onto converged platforms. It is our belief that the roll out of BT’s 21CN will facilitate the progress of VoIP but it will be a number of years before the consumer considers the benefits sufficient to warrant moving away from the traditional TDM model.

 

Business Outlook & Plans

The business has developed over the past five years through organic growth. With money in the bank we are on the look-out for acquisitions and are streamlining many areas of the office to aid in the development of our partner programme.

We have laid down a goal of achieving a turnover in excess of £10 million by the 2012 Olympics in London. The incentive is an all paid for holiday to our villa in Kefalonia for all the staff.

Since its launch in 2007 we have developed a really successful mobile department. We will look to grow this department from the current three staff and adapt to cater for the new ongoing commission model.

 

Market Observations

The market is healthy, particularly when considering the overall financial position that the country finds itself in. Businesses may be making fewer calls and more businesses are going bust, but there is no sign that businesses are unwilling to invest.

Businesses whose customer base is founded purely on being the cheapest may struggle. It is those with strong customer relationships that will retain their base and cross sell other products and services.

Margins will tighten for the next year or so, not helped by the weakness of the pound. This may prove to highlight companies who have overstretched themselves. Tiscali for example showed to have fallen foul of bad economics and had to accept a far lower offer from Talk Talk to save their UK operations.

I believe the number of providers will shrink as acquisitions happen. This may lead to tighter regulations from OFCOM to protect both the consumer and the smaller providers.

The gap between BT and the alternative providers will appear to lessen as BT continues to muddy the water with their questionable pricing models.

 

Key Facts:

Date Formed: May 2003
Staff Employed: 22
Turnover: £5.8 million
Significant Milestones; Jan 2007 – We launched the Focus Mobile department. Oct 2007 – We partnered with EOS Communications to provide specialist knowledge on VoIP solutions. Nov 2008 – Winners at Sussex Business Awards 2008/09 Feb 2009 – Winners of the Q Factor Award with Yes Telecom