Duo get off to a flying Start

Just four years since inception and with a string of awards already under its belt Start Communications is poised to accelerate even further ahead this year, according to MD John Davis and Sales Director Richard Scott.

Davis (pictured left) and Scott set up West Sussex-based Start Communications in January 2020 with a mission to deliver UCaaS, cloud contact centre, connectivity and mobile services to SME businesses. Even though a start-up, the company boasted a strong pedigree from the outset based on the prior experiences of its founders. Davis kicked off his career in 1994 with a privately owned telecoms dealer in East Sussex and after a year set up his own dealership which he ran for 22 years prior to selling in 2018. “I was able apply the valuable business lessons and experiences gained over the previous years and apply them to our new business,” he stated.

Scott’s (pictured left) entrance into the comms sector was less planned. While at Brighton University he worked part-time at Ted Baker where he secured a record sale for the Brighton store. The customer gave Scott his business card and said if he ever wanted a career change to call him. “I did just that and ended up working for a major comms reseller for 10 years,” stated Scott. “Having both spent a lot of time working in the industry we felt there was a gap in the market for a more agile and dynamic reseller that had more time and resource to spend directly on SME customers and helping them make the transition to the cloud.”

The joint experiences of Davis and Scott quickly paid off with Start Communications picking up Gamma’s Best Newcomer of the Year award in its first year. The company went on to win the CNA SME UC Solution award three years in a row. That’s not all, in January this year Start Communications became a Gamma Gold Partner and hopes to secure Platinum Partner status within four years.

Meticulous approach
Davis attributes much of the company’s success to a strong customer service ethos and a meticulous approach to expanding its portfolio. “Many telecoms companies rush to add value added services to their offerings, either because it seems that everyone else is doing the same or they think they could generate additional profits for little effort,” he said. “Sadly, and all too often, this results in an ill-thought out launch with poor support. We only consider adding a product or service to our portfolio if it provides a valuable benefit to our customers and we can fully support it.”

AI technology is going to radically reform the way we all work within the industry

Right now Davis and Scott are considering an EPOS and energy service but they will only be launched if they pass stringent service level standards and can be supported to the highest level. “We also have ambitions to expand into cybersecurity and IT services,” added Scott.

He noted that another immediate priority is to expand the support and sales teams. “The sales strategy will evolve considerably over the next couple of years as a result of the switch-off,” added Scott. “IP products are generally more consumable and transferable than legacy services and this will drive more online based transactions. Self-service, AI and automation will also be key to taking advantage of this market opportunity.

"We are investing heavily in automation across all areas of the business from sales processes to billing and support. This will free up more time to focus on helping customers. Concurrently, AI technology is going to radically reform the way we all work within the industry and I see this playing a significant role in sales prospecting and order processing in the near future.”

Within the last 12 months Start Communications has boosted turnover by 86 per cent and net profit by 193 per cent. “We are still seeing a high uptake of UCaaS solutions while the UK makes the transition to all-IP,” added Davis. “And there is rapid growth for cloud contact centre solutions within the SME market which has traditionally been out of reach for customers of this size. With customer experience being more important that ever, we see this as a strong area for future growth.”

According to Scott, the customer experience is the biggest factor driving the evolution of Start Communications’ market approach and customer engagement. “All businesses want to become the best they can be, and SME UCaaS and CCaaS solutions unlock many fundamentals for communication that used to only be within reach of enterprise businesses,” he added.

Davis pointed out that Start Communications is pursuing a strategy of organic growth rather than customer base acquisition. “We expect that in three to five years time we would have grown by between 150 per cent and 200 per cent in terms of financial considerations and company structure,” he added.

“This will only be achieved by ongoing reinvestment in our technological expertise and our team. Our primary investment is in our people, upskilling and developing existing personnel as well as selecting ideally suited additional people. It’s key to provide an environment that encourages people to add value irrespective of their specific roles and responsibilities. Some of the best and most valuable ideas and suggestions are tabled by these people.”

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