Founded in 2004 by Ralph Gilbert and Chris Goodman, Focus Group stepped out into what was already a saturated market, selling a solution that many claimed was already on its way out. A year later, the business began trading from a tiny office in Hove Technology Centre, with just enough room for three desks, a whiteboard, and a kettle.
15 years on, Focus Group has over 350 staff and a business with annual revenues exceeding £60m.
Their products centred on the re-sale of voice minutes, commonly referred to as 'calls and lines'. This was complimented by sales of telephone systems and broadband via strategic partners. Many in the industry would have argued that the business model was flawed. Articles in industry magazines already had headlines of: 'No margin in minutes' and 'Is this the end of the PBX?'.
With this in mind, Focus Group chose a commercial strategy that gave them the greatest opportunity to deliver consistent growth. Their route to market was both via direct sales and a reseller community. They took opportunities to diversify the portfolio with complementary products and services.
Their staffing policy was simple. Finding good staff is one of the biggest challenges - when you find them, keep them!
“We are immensely proud to have achieved a 2 star accreditation with Best Companies. Through a particularly challenging year we have worked hard to maintain communication, monitor wellbeing, and ensure all our colleagues feel engaged with the business and most importantly, supported” - Chris Goodman, MD
Chris Goodman provided email communication on a regular basis to all employees through the lockdown period, which received positive feedback. All employees were sent a Covid care package to ensure they received essentials during lockdown.
The canteen chef at Focus Group provided 60 meals per day to NHS workers that were distributed by a local charity and provided meals to local vulnerable people. During lockdown, Focus Group arranged a virtual charity quiz where all proceeds went to their local charity partner.
The leadership and directors have continually been supportive and empathetic towards employees and recognising their personal situations. Working parents were advised to focus on their children where home schooling was required, furloughed employees were told not to worry about their pay – as Focus Group would be topping it up to the full amount – and there has been a significant focus on the wellbeing of all employees.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
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