“I needed someone to give me a kick up the backside.” And with that thought in mind David Jaggard, the managing director of IT consultancy Fluid, decided to apply to the GrowthAccelerator scheme. “We’d reached a satisfactory and manageable level within the company, but we aspire to do more than that,” he added.
Fluid was formed six years ago, and as Jaggard recounts, he had reached the same point then. “We were running our own company, Gemini Computers, but we had reached a point where we needed to take the next step.”
The next step involved partnering with John Baines, an IT expert and successful company owner in his own right, and so Jaggard, business partner and wife Jo, and Baines, came together to offer a more comprehensive service to organisations seeking to develop their IT infrastructures.
Making the decision to apply to join GrowthAccelerator took a while for Jaggard. He admits that he finds it hard to work with anyone until he feels he trusts them implicitly. So, for a while he watched and observed how the service worked with other companies. “I had been in contact with GrowthAccelerator and I thought we might be able to work with them at some stage, but what really swung it for me was a case study I read about.”
GrowthAccelerator had been working with Chella Heyes, the managing director of telephone answering service Zoom, and Jaggard had been using Heyes’ company for a number of years. “I called Chella who said that it was really worth doing,” she added, ‘it’s key to make sure you have a good understanding and connection with the coach you are assigned”.
Jaggard contacted GrowthAccelerator coach, Tina Delieu, directly and they had an initial meeting. “I liked the way Tina worked, I particularly liked her directness and obvious experience, and both parties agreed to pursue things.”
The first part of the process will be for Delieu to spend some time with Fluid, observing how the company works and assessing the management team. This is something that Jaggard is particularly keen to experience. “We are good at running our business, but there might be areas where we overlap within our roles. It will be interesting to see how someone from outside views us. And I am really interested in how we all see ourselves. The three of us have very different personal characteristics and skills and that is why it works, but I have no idea how we view each other.”
Part of GrowthAccelerator involves setting targets and, again, this is all part of the boost to performance that Jaggard is seeking. “We currently have an annual turnover of circa £500,000. Our target now is to double that. It is a big target but it is achievable. We need to look at all angles for growth, not just increased sales but through strategic alliances with other IT companies.”
Fluid’s strategy for growth is not world domination. Jaggard returns to the theme of trust and control, “It is key to me that I build a trusting relationship with who I am working with, rather than providing ‘stack ‘em high’ solutions, we work with a smaller number of firms in a bigger way. We are all about consultation and projects, so we are looking for a depth of relationship with each of our customers.”
It is this trust that is behind every step that Jaggard has taken in his professional life, and one that he is hoping continues through the GrowthAccelerator service. “Having ownership and control of your own destiny is the best way for me to work, but it can sometimes get lonely. Talking to someone else about an idea or using their experience can be a vital part of growing the business in the right way. I am looking for someone who can say ‘I have seen this before, have you considered a different angle? Anything we are doing now we are doing well, but to move up a level we need some good advice and that little bit of a kick.”