It’s hardly rocket science: paying a fixed subscription fee for all your IT needs beats forking out for a full time IT department, hands down. But Syed claims that he does more than curb his clients’ overheads: he brings them more business too.
"SMEs have realised that they can’t keep a competitive edge without technology," he says. "When you have many firms going after the same customer, you need to stand out from the crowd. Clever IT networks and communications are part of this slicker, more productive business model."
360, as the name suggests, is a one-stop-shop for everything IT. Be it cabling, servers, phone lines or CMS systems, the firm helps its customers – SMEs and big corporates alike – to diversify into new cash-rich channels with a solid, dependable back end.
John Lewis, AT&T and the Church of England all subscribe to the 360 service, and huge players like Microsoft and Cisco have added their gold seal of approval by partnering with the firm. Cisco even offers 0 per cent finance on products built through Syed’s London-based firm – including non-Cisco packages.
Syed practices what he preaches within his business too. "I run a tight ship," he says. "And I haven’t put all my eggs in one basket. The firm has multiple revenues streams: the B2B consultancy, training arm, outsourced IT department for both B2B and consumer customers. All established with zero borrowing.
"There’s strength in diversification," he continues.
360 turned over £450,000 last year and expects to up that by 25 per cent in 2009. "We get lots of repeat business," says Syed. "Referrals are our strength."
It’s no surprise that the contracts are rolling in: "In London, a desk space costs over 14,000 per year," says Syed. "Give your employees remote working – that’s just a broadband fee and laptop – and you save on travel, you save money on the desk space, and they are more productive.
"Recession or no recession, having future-proof IT system can only reduce cost."