Growing a Local IT Business
What’s the story behind our local businesses?
To find out, I’m talking to local professionals who help other businesses. You’ll get to read their stories. And learn how they use marketing to grow their business.
For this article, I met with James Wood from Arcus Technology.
They’re a Yorkshire-based supplier of ICT solutions and managed services. Dale Heath and Grant Doyle started the company 10 years ago after they saw how virtualisation technology could change the face of IT in the business arena.
And now they’ve got ambitious plans to grow the business further.
How Arcus Technology Helps Businesses
To start I asked James what makes Arcus Technology different from other IT companies.
“What you tend to find with IT companies is that they market themselves in a particular way, as a managed services provider to SMEs, mid-market companies or a provider to larger enterprises."
“We're not unique but we're probably in the minority as we have both those different strands to our business.”
“As a managed service provider we’re like a completely outsourced IT department for our clients' businesses,” said James. “Because our clients don't have any internal IT personnel or resources.”
“We also deal with national companies."
"So we supply their hardware and software, as well as managing software renewals for things like antivirus and firewalls. Also, we act in a consultative capacity and as an extra pair of hands for their own IT resource.”
James added Arcus Technology is independent of specific vendors meaning advice is unbiased. But they still have an excellent network of contacts to find the best deal for clients.
“And we make it our business to listen to what the customer wants and the problems they need to overcome.”
Putting Cybersecurity at the Heart of IT
Cybercrime continues to grow. And Google Trends shows how awareness of cybersecurity has grown too over the last 5 years.
So it was no surprise that James stressed the critical role of cybersecurity.
“When we build or design a solution for a client, there are lots of different aspects of IT that form the solution.”
“However, cybersecurity is always a key component.”
“Also we supply new hardware, renew critical software licenses and fix things when they go wrong. But most importantly we are proactive, we put measures in place to identify potential issues early on before they escalate into something serious.”
James gave an example of the extra protection for clients who log on remotely.
“No more will it be just a username and password. We also send a one-time password to an app on your smartphone that you need to input.”
How Traditional and Digital Marketing is Key to Business Growth
James told me about their ambitious growth plans for this year. And their ongoing marketing to support this.
“We've been steadily growing the business over the last nine and a half years.”
“But the last 18-24 months have been the most significant change for us. However, this is where we start to kick into the next phase of growth.”
“We updated our website 12-18 months ago. And we're just in another phase of reworking the website with SEO in mind to improve keyword searches.”
“We also send an eMarketing campaign out every month or so.”
But, James is a firm believer in “multiple touch points” with potential clients. So he’s keen to raise awareness of their brand through traditional marketing too.
“I'm trying to push PR with press releases to the local Chambers of Commerce, the economic development arm of the council and the printed press.”
A Portfolio of Clients - from Local to National
Source: Wikimedia Commons
As a Barnsley-based firm, Arcus Technology has relationships with many major local organisations.
From the college to the council. As well as the football club.
Most of their clients are within 40 miles of Barnsley. They cover West Yorkshire as well as Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire, also into the northern part of the East Midlands region; Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in particular.
Their clients tend to be “anything upwards of micro business. So 10 computer users upwards is the minimum sized business where our services start to make sense.”
But, James also talked me through specific businesses they’d like to help in the future.
“One of those is a national retailer with over 300 outlets.”
“While another is a fairly local company, 100 people, but they work across the globe. So they need to make sure that the connection back to their head office in Chesterfield is very, very secure.”
Arcus Technology helps businesses with IT support, solutions and security. They listen to their clients' needs.
And they plan to grow further using both digital and traditional marketing.
As a result, they can help clients who range from the local football club to national retailers.