Lookout – Small Business Spotlight
This #SmallBusinessSpotlight is with Stan Ferguson-Smith from Lookout. Stan tells me the story behind the creation of Lookout and how they help their customers.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I’m Stan Ferguson-Smith and I run Lookout. We provide a suite of fully-managed IT services for our customers.
We’re always on the lookout for any issues or problems which we can fix for them.
For each customer, we monitor for any software, antivirus or browser updates required by their desktops and laptops. We also provide a help desk – either as ourselves or white-labelled for the customer.
How did you start your business?
After I left college I worked in bars and nightclubs for a couple of years. When I hadn’t seen daylight for what felt like 3 weeks I realised it was time to hand in my notice!
I decided to retrain and taught myself about IT. Initially, I joined Fujitsu’s Help Desk to put my knowledge into practice. Whilst I was there I learnt the importance of a formal approach to managing IT.
In 2015, I decided to go solo and set up my own company IT Aid – firstly as a Sole Trader and then as a limited company.
This year we’ve rebranded as Lookout to highlight the ongoing support service we provide.
How does your business stand out from the competition?
We aim to stand out through our focus on customers.
To provide them with the best possible service, we identify trends which highlight underlying problems. That way we can suggest how the customer can avoid future issues.
For each customer, we also carry out quarterly reviews to ensure we’re responding to their business needs.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
For me, the most enjoyable part is meeting people and seeing how we’ve been able to help them.
It was great to get feedback the other day from one of our customers. They told me how much they love our Help Desk as it’s so helpful and easy to use!
How do you promote your business online and how effective is it?
Following the rebrand, we’ll also move to a new Lookout website.
Away from the online world, word of mouth referrals and recommendations have been the most effective ways to promote our service.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your business right now?
Many companies are scared of change, especially with their IT. So a big challenge for us is to overcome their fears about moving suppliers.
We reassure them about the switch from their current provider to us. And we demonstrate how our experience will make it a seamless transition.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
Our aim is to keep doing what we’re doing.
I’m keen that we grow our client base and staff numbers – but without compromising our service to customers.
How do you spend your relaxation or downtime?
I like to meet up with friends for a drink – which is always good for people watching!
I’m also a big fan of films and books. Science fiction and action films are my favourites. I’m often found watching a police drama such as NCIS.