Telling the truth about SME life today

By putting customers first, clients will want to work with you

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Tom Higgins

Role and company:

CEO and founder of Gold-i Ltd

Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):?

Our year end is 30th?September. Last year, turnover was £1.3m, with 450,000?EBITDA. This year, turnover is forecast to be £2.1m – ?780,000 EBITDA.

Employee numbers:

There are 18 permanent staff members.

Growth forecast for the next three years:

We have seen revenue growth of around 80 per cent year on year since launching in 2008. We see this continuing for the next three years.

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:

We have built a fantastic reputation by providing hugely innovative products and services with unbeatable customer service. We always put customers first and having this ethos in our DNA, clients want to work with us. In four years we have only lost one customer out of nearly one hundred.

What’s the big vision for your business?

To be recognised as the world leader in trading systems integration in retail and institutional markets.

Current level of international business, and future aspirations:?

Currently around 50 per cent of our revenue is non-UK generated, but I expect to see this level rise.

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:?

Not being able to find a job at the heat of the recession in 2008 and putting a ?Plan B in place to set up my own business. I learned to believe in myself but to delegate to others who are better than me in their specialist skills.

What makes you mad in business today?

Poor customer service as it is the customers who pay the bills. They deserve to be treated with utmost respect.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

Domination of mobile trading on smart phones as opposed to PCs or MACs

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow” If not, what can be done to improve things?

As our sector is so specialist, it is not understood by bankers and financiers. There is no quick buck to be made as it takes years to get established and financial backers rarely have the time it takes to get to real value. In order to improve the situation financial backers need a longer-term view and to take advice and views for the market players who know the drivers.

How would others describe your leadership style

Open, friendly, empowering, and non-confrontational.

Your biggest personal extravagance

Flying business class as I hate being cramped at the back of the plane.

You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:

When you start a businesses for the first time there are so many questions that could be easily answered, but it is really hard to find someone to speak to. “Start Your Own Business” classes should be run in every city, at no charge, to encourage new businesses to flourish. The costs would be minimal and the benefit to existing service suppliers, such as service offices, accountants, PR and marketing agencies and web designers, would be great.



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